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Why monitor controllers use 2dB increments not 3dB
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Why monitor controllers use 2dB increments not 3dB

I noticed that most monitor controllers have volume control in 2dB increments. If people can't really hear a 2dB difference, is there a reason why companies are not using larger increments, say 3dB?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Addict
 

What monitor controllers work in 2dB steps? My Mytek Stereo192 is in 1dB steps. I don't miss having any in-between options but I'm pretty sure 2dB would annoy me somewhat. As soon as you're at a reasonable listening volume, 3dB jumps are substanicial. Consider that the dB scale is not linear, it is logarithmic. 6dB is a doubling or halving of volume.

People can hear a 2dB difference. People can hear a 1dB difference. When I starting out I had these same ideas of "people can't hear xdB difference." These were fairly quickly blown out of my head. Through my experience I am now open to people hearing, sensing and/or feeling a 0.1dB difference.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Your monitors or ears must not be very good is you cant hear a 2dB change. With good monitors I can hear a 1dB difference quite easily, once my ears are acclimated.

Of course I wouldn't be able to trust them on any given day till I knew I was listening at a nominal level of 83dB.
Ears can change on a daily basis due to the level of rest or fatigue, Barometer changes in air pressure or any number of ear/throat conditions.
I did some mixing yesterday I know I'll have to go back and double check. My meters were telling me one thing and my ears another. I had an ear ache in one ear and the guitar track seemed to irritate it. It could be the frequency response was too piercing or that ear was irritated by what it was hearing.

The point is, you need to be at a point where you can trust your ears to hear normally then a 1dB change can make a huge difference depending on the frequency. Usually a midrange tones is quite noticeable whereas an extremely low or high frequency may not be noticeable at all. You can often boost some frequencies by several decibels and the ears can miss it entirely. They must be "musical notes" within the frequency bands being boosted for you to hear a change, otherwise you may be boosting nothing but noise.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Thanks for the reality check guys!

The volume knob I had in mind is the Audiolinear Axis monitor controller. It uses a stepped attentuator in 2dB steps.

So it sounds like 2dB steps may be borderline acceptable (or inconvenient) in the context of monitoring mixes.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Quetz's Avatar
You should be able to hear a 0.3dB difference clearly or something is wrong with your ears!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
You should be able to hear a 0.3dB difference clearly or something is wrong with your ears!
I’d say about 99% of people can’t in my experience. So I wouldn’t go shaming people with statements like that. If you can hear less than a 1dB change, you have excellent perception.

If you can’t hear a 2db change, then you should start to worry.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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2dB steps isn’t necessarily a big issue in a monitor controller. Some people only use one or two calibrated volume levels (eg people mixing for movies, people using the K-system etc.) Stepped volume controllers often have better better quality (superior stereo tracking, more reliable recall, cleaner signal path etc.).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I’d say about 99% of people can’t in my experience. So I wouldn’t go shaming people with statements like that. If you can hear less than a 1dB change, you have excellent perception.

If you can’t hear a 2db change, then you should start to worry.
I didn't mean to put anyone down, apologies.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 

I don't know what the increments of the steps were, but I had an old custom-made console that the builder put in a stepped attenuator for the monitor level.

I think 1 was "off"
2 was "quiet"
3 was "medium"
4 was "loud"
5 was "whoa!"

and 6-10 were "fuggedaboutit" - just unusable.

Having so few volume choices was, in retrospect, good for me. I think in a way, it kept me "honest". I was going to be either at "3" or "4" most of the time - and that gave me a very consistent reference for how loud I was setting my monitors.

I think having fewer in-between choices, there was less of a temptation to gradually sneak things up.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Quetz's Avatar
When I was talking about thirds of dB I was really referring to clip gain.
I have buttons on my mcu device dedicated to clip gain set to half dB increments.
I think it's far easier to hear that kind of increment when it's only applied to a lead vocal or snare when everything else stays the same.
I have no idea to be honest if I could identify such a small shift over a whole mix.
I think that would be a lot more difficult.

I would never even consider changing my overall monitoring by that amount to be honest.
It's either quiet because it's late, 'working volume' (says the amateur) so I've got all the bass, or 'emotional volume' (not a technical term) :D
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llamallama View Post
The volume knob I had in mind is the Audiolinear Axis monitor controller. It uses a stepped attentuator in 2dB steps
Have you actually found one? I discovered this unit online a few days ago and I can't find anywhere to buy it.
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