(Newbie) Delta 1010 Recording Levels

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zendrum
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Joined: 2009-07-14
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Hello Ardourians!

I am a relative newcomer to DAWS in general, but I have some experience with Linux, analog audio recording and live sound mixing. I have a lot of experience with music performance and PC building in general. I built the following system to demo the Ardour software, and create live music recordings for local bands:

Tyan S2866A2NRF
AMD FX-60
4 GB DDR 400
Fanless GeForce 8400 GS
M-Audio Delta 1010
Raptor 74GB for /
2 X Caviar Black 1TB on LSI RAID 0 for /home
SM Pro Audio 8 channel mic pre's

I got 64studio installed, no problems. Making sense so far. My main question at this time concerns controlling the level of the signals being recorded by Ardour. Please tell me if I am correct here, or if i am way off base.....

The Delta 1010 has a hardware mixer on board, that is intended for setting up a monitor mix. The signal routing inside the Delta 1010 and the various monitor mix levels are controlled by envy24control. Jack then controls all of the connections between the Delta 1010 and Ardour. So, is there a way from inside Envy24control to adjust the actual levels being recorded by Ardour? I see where Paul has said Ardour does not in any way change the levels being recorded to various tracks. If this is true, is adjusting the source level (at the keyboard, at the mic pre's, punching the singer, etc...) the only way to adjust the recorded level?

Next, while tracking, if you are using the hardware monitor option to get the lowest latency and system load, are the faders in Ardour on each channel used for anything?

Also in this scenario, the Ardour faders ARE used for leveling during mixdown, correct?

Last but not least, I am having trouble discerning what controls in these 3 programs (Ardour, envy24control, and jack) directly change a corresponding setting in one of the others. I played around for a long time moving various controls while watching the other programs guis to try to see what affects what - sometimes it seemed too make sense, other times not.

Thanks to all!

zendrum

thorgal
User offline. Last seen 1 year 21 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-08-03
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hey there, welcome to the (sometimes puzzling) world of linux audio :)

... envy24control puzzled me real at the time I owned a Delta1010, but I mostly forgot about it, that was 2+ years ago, only fiddled around with it for a couple of weeks. I remember I managed to understand how it worked thanks to some tips on the alsa-project.org website.

Anyway, the basic understanding of ardour, jack, etc is :

- jack : streams data to/from h/w from/to s/w apps. It has a backend that communicates with the audio device driver (.e.g ALSA driver), and manages ports and connections between them (be they h/w related via the driver or user apps like ardour, hydrogen, any other jack client).

- ardour: can manage the monitoring (aka software monitoring) but can let the h/w do it (if your h/w can do it)

- ardour track faders are used for the mix of course. If you use h/w monitoring, using faders has no effect on the audio being recorded. They only manage the audio that has been recorded.
In software monitoring mode, it just means that you will be able to hear sofwtare effects you have stuffed the track with while recording, but again, faders won't affect the level of the source being recorded.

The input level of the source being recorded is adjusted via a h/w mixer (envy24control in your case, called ADC I think). Each of your physical input channel has a corresponding ADC.

At the same time, each of your h/w output has a DAC level. These ADC and DAC faders affect the audio signal reaching the card, it's a h/w level control.

Ardour only controls the signal at the software level (once it is in jackd) and will not touch your ADC levels at all (thanks for that!). So it is up to you to set your h/w input levels the way you like.

Once you have recorded something, then you can use ardour's faders to mix (in h/w or s/w monitoring mode). In s/w monitoring mode, when ardour does provide monitoring, use the faders while recording. It will only affect the monitored signal, not the level of the audio data being recorded, i.e. the data being recorded will keep the h/w input levels you have set up.

I hope this will make sense :)

zendrum
User offline. Last seen 2 years 29 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2009-07-14
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Hello Thorgal-

Thanks for the response! That does make sense. I kept getting confused because so many web sites that discuss Ardour say to use the fader to "set the level". They really need to specify they are talking about the software monitor level, NOT the recorded track level. Looks like the "analog volume" tab in envy24control is what you use to adjust the level of the recorded track.

However, when I use envy24control for my Delta 1010, there is no analog level tab.... Does this mean that when using a Delta 1010 you can't adjust the levels of the recorded track except at the source?

zendrum

thorgal
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what comes into the soundcard can be level-controlled with the ADC faders (envy24). When the audio data is converted (A->D conversion), and used by an app or dumped to the hard disk, it's over for the h/w input level. Anything at that stage becomes s/w until it reaches the DAC (D->A conversion) where you use the DAC faders (envy24) to control the analog output volume.

So if you have a h/w channel that corresponds to say jack port system:capture_1. For jack, this is s/w. The A->D conversion has already been made. When you connect that port to an ardour track, ardour cannot affect the h/w input level. If you now record something coming into that port, the only way you can influence what is gonna be written to disk is by manipulating the ADC fader in envy24 while recording. This is not something I recommend ... set the input levels first, then record at constant level. You can always fine-tune or change things after at the s/w level in ardour.

adaw
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Joined: 2009-02-24
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There are two types of delta 1010 (1010 and 1010lt)

The 1010 has a breakout box with jack(hardware) connections. There is a switch for each channel on the breakout box where you can choose between two input levels. You cannot set the levels with envy24control for the 1010.
You need a mixer or a (mic-) preamp to adjust the levels.
I use the channel inserts of my mixer to route the signal to the 1010.

The 1010lt has two XLR inputs, the rest are rca connectors. You can set the levels for the 1010lt with envy24control.
The are jumpers on the card to choose between different mic/line levels for the XLR connectors.

The settings of the envy24control are the same for both cards except that there are no input/output level settings for the 1010.

I made a (simplified;-) diagram for the 1010lt.
You can also use it for the routing of the 1010.
http://www.pict.com/view/1969455/0/delta1010lt
http://img2.pict.com/7f/a5/44/1969455/0/delta1010lt.png

zendrum
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Joined: 2009-07-14
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Awesome answers! Many thanks! Great software and a great user community.

I wonder why you can't adjust the levels on the 1010? A rhetorical question for another time......

zendrum

thorgal
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I only had a 1010LT, so I definitely could adjust the h/w IO levels via the ADC and DAC faders in envy24control. I have no clue about the 1010. If this is true, it sucks. I switched to RME HDSP a long time ago and rarely thought about the M-Audio after that.

pablomme
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For what it's worth, I have a Delta 1010LT and I use software monitoring with very good results, with LADSPA and LV2 compressors, gates, equalizers and delays working in real time, in addition to Hydrogen generating the drum tracks from the live MIDI stream that comes from the electronic drumkit. I use this set-up to rehearse/record with my band.

My CPU is an Athlon 64 X2 4200+, which is not precisely top-of-the-range these days, and the rest of my hardware is fairly basic, so you should be able to do this type of thing too.

The only thing that I think can't be done regarding real-time processing is to insert Jamin at Ardour's output, because it adds a very noticeable delay of several tens of milliseconds (for lookahead purposes, I suppose).

jrigg
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The only correct way to set the level of an input signal is BEFORE IT REACHES THE CONVERTERS. Once it's in the digital domain it's too late to reduce it, as the converters have already clipped. After that the level isn't so important, at least on a floating point DAW like Ardour, until it gets sent out to the DAC. Level is most important at the converters themselves, where it needs to be low enough to avoid clipping.

The Delta 1010 has no analog level control (apart from the +4/-10dBu switches on the analog ins and outs), so you need to set the input level in whatever external gear is plugged into the 1010's input.

thorgal
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where is the misinformation here ? that's exactly what we said. The only diff is that the 1010LT can use envy24control to set up the h/w levels via the "DAC" and "ADC" faders (if these are how they are called, my memory is not that clear since I only had played with the 1010LT for a couple of weeks a long time ago), whereas the 1010 cannot.

jrigg
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> where is the misinformation here ?

Post edited.