I'm primarily a guitar player and play through some fancy digital equipment to make me sound less awful. One of the nice things about this kind of gear is you can have many different patches, each one a wonderful different sound. The down side to this approach to making music is you have to spend time normalizing the levels of the patches. So switching between patches doesn't result in any giant jumps up or down in volume.
In the past I'd do patch normalization the old fashioned way: I'd set up my rig, turn it up to near-gig level, fire up my SPL meter, throw in my ear plugs, and play through my patches. Trying to match SPL levels from patch to patch and using my ears to fine tune the levels.
Those days are over for me. I rarely have an occasion to turn my rig up to gig volume if I'm not at a gig or a rehearsal. So I'm trying to come up with a workflow for normalizing my patch volumes that doesn't require me running my rig amplified at gig volumes. It's an all-digital rig, so I can run it silent and straight in to my Mac.
My question is: can I properly assess the amplified volume of my patches without actually amplifying them? Is there a metering or visualization solution that can help me figure out the right volume levels for each patch?
Standard peak meters or VU metering seems overly simplistic here. Peak power and perceived volume don't always correlate which is why I've always done level setting the way I have. Low-volume monitoring for level setting doesn't work well because of Fletcher-Munson effects -- I'll be compensating for the low-end frequency loss.
- I can use headphones for monitoring but I'm pretty careful about my hearing so my headphone use is generally low-volume use.
- I can use near field monitors but same deal: low volume monitoring only. Low enough that talking over the monitor level can be done quite easily.
- Any metering or visualization solution has to run on an Intel Mac running Lion.
- I have Logic 9 at my disposal if that helps.