1 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 00:02:15)

Topic: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Hi,

I've been using TotalMix for a while now and am basically happy with it. However, every once in a while, I come across a major issue that is, from my point of view, a completely unnecessary risk to equipment and users' ears:

The default settings are suboptimal: for the master outputs, all(!) faders at 0dB in the mixing section, plus all outputs set to the pro reference level of +4dBu! I acknowledge that this is maybe due to new users wanting to get some output as soon as possible without clicking around. But it consistently wreaks havoc with my setup and here is why:

I have set everything to be safe with my monitors (they have very very sensitive inputs and very very high power, as many active nearfields do): -10dBV Output Level, all mixers down by approx 16dB etc. Now I have safe volume levels.

However, occasionally it happens that somehow the default configuration becomes active again: today I accidentally clicked onto an empty snapshot and - you guess it - FULL LEVELS (all faders unity gain plus +4dBu) that have almost destroyed my - expensive - nearfields (not mentioning my ears). Imagine that happens to someone using the device in a live context with a big PA system...

Another time somehow after a Windows update TotalMix "forgot" all of my snapshots and set everything back to +4dBu output and the mixers to 0dB. The first time I clicked play - Wham! (No, it was not the DAW - it happens also with standard music players).

And another time TotalMixFX defaulted everything to maximum again when I had the often-occuring settings mismatch between device and software, and I naively followed the "you can press undo to get back" hint, but after this did not work, pressing undo again reverted all my settings into a - you guess it - all-unity-gain +4dBu factory default configuration!

I payed *a lot* of attention in getting everything set up right, e.g. deactivating the DEFAULT double click fader actions (you can guess how I learned that it's a bad idea that accidental double-clicks can not only set the mixer faders but also the MASTER VOLUME to 0dB too), and deactivating the loading of Main volume/balance through snapshots etc. However, this did not prevent the issue from happening again.

Last but not least, I'm sure there are numerous other ways I have not yet thought of/experienced that will trigger a too-high or full output default configuration. My monitors have today somewhat entered their "fourth life" and I don't want to find out through TotalMix if they have as many as a cat.

Is it really a good idea and necessary to have these very aggressive default settings? Especially on the OUTPUT channels? Wouldn't it be safer to set them to -10dBV, and empty mixing snapshots to faders at -infinity? This would be a compromise for beginners, but also much safer in terms of the seldomly occuring software malfunctions, and of course, user error (a system that does not take user error into account is not well-defined per definition). Does any Hi-Fi manufacturer ship an amp that is turned all the way up when you power it on or switch sources?

Concluding, there are just too many ways to accidentally create potentially harmful output levels.

This will not only sooner or later kill very expensive gear, my ears aren't too happy about that either. And as said, consider the interface being hooked up to a big live PA: I'm sure there are some smaller gigs that use the interface - as intended - as a mixer/routing matrix directly before their amps, also relying upon the interface's DSP limiters... (on a side note, I also have an 1.5kW high-sensitivity active subwoofer connected to audio output 8 for separate control; linked to the master faders - fortunately, output channel 8's default config only sets the fader of mix channel 8 to unity gain, and I don't use that mix channel. Imagine the sub was connected to the main output, a configuration reset it would literally tear my studio apart with approx. 120dB SPL!)

Please, for health's sake, reconsider the default settings of the software! After my experience, the defaults are almost safety-negligent and in case there is no fix for this issue and one day my € 2k nearfields are blown, I will check with my legal counsel if this is not some kind of product liability issue. But I'm hoping this won't be necessary. As said, apart from that, happy user.

Thanks for considering a solution to this!

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Sorry to hear this, but ... isn't it also your objective to adjust the level on the monitors, that 0dB do not "hurt" that much ?

I also ran into this and consequently did my homework and adjusted levels on the monitors.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

3 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 11:21:39)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

ramses wrote:

Sorry to hear this, but ... isn't it also your objective to adjust the level on the monitors, that 0dB do not "hurt" that much ?

I also ran into this and consequently did my homework and adjusted levels on the monitors.

I already did this - I turned the volume setting of my monitors to the minimum, and can't reduce it any further. As said, even then I can only use them at TotalMixFX's -10dBV setting with the mixing matrix dimming another -15dB or so.

(Monitors: http://studio.ksdigital.de/de/produkte/ … d-606.html ). But my monitors are not special in this regard, I have stumbled about other active ones which have very high sensitivity and can't be dimmed further. Manufacturers probably want to ensure that you can also use them with -10dBV interfaces.

Particularly bad in this regard is, that my monitors, apart from the peak limiter, don't have a particular LFE protection for the bass driver - the manufacturer states that this is not necessary as apart from the EXTREME sound pressure level, typically distortion will be heard before they are clipping, so naturally you won't overdrive them - which is true for a normal mixing desk, where you typcially fade up the master volume - but not for a software solution where you can accidentally and instantly clear all safety nets (pads/reference level) and thereby push the levels by 30dB(!) or more, sending connected gear to instant clipping. And I'm not even speaking of the possibility that someone uses outboard equipment with -10dBV reference level which will be overloaded in any case! (e.g. on the Speaker B output, I connected a typical home user's 2.1 active speaker system instead of an Auratone).

My only solution would be to buy a pre-amp; apart from the unnecessary costs, this will degrade the signal. It should be possible to hook up the Fireface 802 directly to all kinds of gear without constantly worrying about overloads?

Another - probably not that elegant - solution would be for TotalMixFX to provide some output -x dB pad configuration setting for the master and speaker B outputs that is never ever touched or reset through presets, hotkeys, the main GUI, software update procedures, or something else. Of course, that would render that basic output reference level setting redundant. But the latter is not safe and reliable at the moment.

4

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

We have this topic from time to time in the forum. The solution against too sensitive monitors is a) complain at the manufacturer so they get aware of what they do wrong, and b) use passive resistor attenuators in front of those monitors, attenuating the signal by 10 to 20 dB. These can be low impedance and will not change the sound.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

5 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 09:52:33)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Thanks for getting back to me. Both are not a good solution for a customer buying a € 1.300 audio interface, because

a) the nearfields manufacturer won't be able to fix my problem and can argue that the high sensitivity has it's applications (which is correct). Most probably, they will react like you, tell me it's not their problem and suggest to complain to the audio interface manufacturer or get some pad resistors. And as you say, that this topic arises from time to time in the forum, underlines this is not an "exotic" error from part of manufacturers, many of them do this. No solution for me here. And there could also be studio monitors without any volume control (maybe just a -10dB pad setting) at all.

b) while technically feasible I'm not sure if it is a good idea to buy pad resistors for every output - what attenuation should I choose? My preferred reference level plus some headroom? Will I find something suitable without soldering around myself?

I consider it as big as a wrongdoing not to build usable volume controls into active monitors. But sensitive monitors are only one part of the problem. Your software is wrong in this regard too. As described, it is some kind of "minefield" that provides too many ways to - accidently or due to bugs - reset the output reference level to +4dBu. And regardless of the volume control of external gear, it should never happen to drive anything that is e.g. spec'd for -10dBV with +4dBu level! So why are you implying this default value is a good idea?

I don't know exactly why you do not just ship the software with defaults at -10dBV reference level. This would hot hurt anyone and would be compatible with all kinds of gear from the beginning. The pro can deliberately set it to the +4dBu level, which is fine. If the software loses it's settings, as it does on my system seldomly, the worst thing that would happen is that everything is about 12 dB lower, and not 12 dB too loud.

Additionally, you could consider e.g. setting all default snapshots or the snapshots numbered 2 to 8 to mix gains at -20dB as you do with the headphones output faders. I'm sure no-one would find this inconvenient in any case, because typically a user will set everything up (e.g. the reference level) and continue storing his snapshots from there. It's a very bad idea providing default maximum level snapshots that can be selected just by accidently clicking 5 pixels below something. If you think about potential solution for this case, one would be e.g. to provide a "snapshots do not change reference level" configuration option - a good option for people with a fixed installation setup; they wouldn't expect a snapshot to change the reference level anyway; as on many common audio interfaces, the reference level is a global setting.

On my system, the handling of workspaces and the storage of the configuration exhibited several bugs (e.g. the grouping of faders sometimes misbehaves and sets them to wrong levels, configuration is sometimes lost altogether etc.), which has caused 50% of the cases I've overdriven my nearfields. I know from a developers perspective it is not easy to fix such stability issues, but sensible default settings are a no-brainer and no problem to implement at all. So I sadly consider your reply completely unsatisfactory and negligent.

By the way, yesterday I updated TotalMixFX to the latest version and guess what happened: the "prevent double-click fader actions" configuration reset itself to ON despite the rest of my workspace settings seemed to be unchanged - fortunately I was already paranoid enough to check that. I feel like TotalMixFX is already "parenting" me to behave as it intends, not the other way round!

I also read in this forum that you often tell your users they should read the manual when such things happen: why are there no big red warning statements in the manual then that

  • such configuration losses happen within upgrades;

  • that if someone stores a snapshot with lower levels (and -10dBV reference level), he/she should also make sure to configure the other empty snapshots to prevent damaging level jumps?

  • the double-click actions of the output faders are on by default, and can cause severe volume jumps (especially for touchpad users)

(Every appliance has proper warnings in the manual if there are potential risks for health or equipment. Your manual seems not to care about that. It's cynical to refer to the manual when someone has just popped his ears with his midfields.)

I know why there are no warnings in your manual: because they would sound strange - they would point out that they are caused by an indeed somewhat strange and unnecessary design decision from your part that is by no means any better than nearfields manufacturers who do not provide a proper gain control.

As said, I bet it's easy to fix for you in a logical and easy way - no programming, just preset settings. And can solve the problem for a lot of users.

If this is not solved sooner or later, I will do the only thing a customer can do - updating my positive reviews for the interface and software at the online music retailers, mentioning these issues and your problem-solving approach.

Sorry for venting but I'm frustrated.

6

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

We will not change the default settings as they fit most users perfectly.

The main problem is and stays the fact that a pro audio interface delivers standard pro reference levels, and the monitors that you use have a sensitivity to drive them from any smartphone. That obviously doesn't match, and doing what you suggest does NOT solve the problem as overloads at full blast still can happen. The ONLY way to fix this in a safe way is to apply said attenuators that reduce the interface's output level to values that are safe with your monitors even if the interface is set to full volume at highest output level (Hi Gain = +19 dBu).

I would recommend attenuators of 20 dB, that should work perfectly for you.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

7 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 11:18:33)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

MC wrote:

We will not change the default settings as they fit most users perfectly.

Apart from the instances of the few (tip of the iceberg?) users complaining about this problem here. And apart from this problem not being a minor nuisance, but hazardous and harmful. And apart from a -10dBV default config that would also fit most users perfectly without anyone complaining. Whatever, point taken.


MC wrote:

The main problem is and stays the fact that a pro audio interface delivers standard pro reference levels, [...]

I can't believe I have to explain/argue that this statement is false. Yes, your interface is a pro audio interface, and pro equipment delivers standard pro reference levels. BUT your interface is advertised to provide numerous output reference levels, particularly -10dBV. I think I don't have to quote your specs/website "Aanaloge(sic!) Ein- und Ausgänge lassen sich individuell auf die seit Jahren bewährten Pegelreferenzen -10 dBV, +4 dBu [...] umschalten." And the main problem is that this configuration can too easily be changed (default snapshots, undo function), and sometimes changes itself (software updates, configuration loss), which should never happen in an installed studio environment.

While your interface remains a pro audio interface, it is advertised and INTENDED to be safely connectable to equipment using the -10dBV reference level. That has nothing to do with "pro" applications - one can also connect consumer level equipment to it, which is typical even for professionals (see my comment about the -10dBV consumer active speakers I use on speaker output B for Auratone-style mix referencing.) If I - legitimately - connect equipment that uses -10dBV, such as my consumer desktop speakers, you suggest I should take the configuration resetting hazard/snapshot changing to +4dBu into account, not use the provided -10dBV software setting and buy some pad resistors here too? Why do you advertise and offer the -10dBV setting in the first place then, when you now say this interface is meant just for "standard pro reference levels"?

So I will look to buy some 20dB pads for my main monitors (as far as I've seen, a non-DIY solution is pretty expensive with around € 35 for a single symmetric connection, maybe you have some recommendations here) and for my -10dBV Speakers B - and potentially all future -10dBV equipment I might connect to the other outputs. Of course, considering this hassle, I will update my reviews of this otherwise excellent interface.

and the monitors that you use have a sensitivity to drive them from any smartphone. That obviously doesn't match, and doing what you suggest does NOT solve the problem as overloads at full blast still can happen. The ONLY way to fix this in a safe way is to apply said attenuators that reduce the interface's output level to values that are safe with your monitors even if the interface is set to full volume at highest output level (Hi Gain = +19 dBu).

See above, the interface should be safely connectable to -10dBV equipment, as advertised. Without soldering or buying expensive pads per channel. Without worrying that it resets itself to a reference voltage or full blast configuration that may potentially damage the connected equipment.

Anyway, thanks. Concluding this thread, you won't change anything. I will no longer considering upgrading to the UFX.

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

naudio wrote:

Thanks for getting back to me. Both are not a good solution for a customer buying a € 1.300 audio interface, because

a) the nearfields manufacturer won't be able to fix my problem and can argue that the high sensitivity has it's applications (which is correct). Most probably, they will react like you, tell me it's not their problem and suggest to complain to the audio interface manufacturer or get some pad resistors. And as you say, that this topic arises from time to time in the forum, underlines this is not an "exotic" error from part of manufacturers, many of them do this. No solution for me here. And there could also be studio monitors without any volume control (maybe just a -10dB pad setting) at all.

b) while technically feasible I'm not sure if it is a good idea to buy pad resistors for every output - what attenuation should I choose? My preferred reference level plus some headroom? Will I find something suitable without soldering around myself?

I consider it as big as a wrongdoing not to build usable volume controls into active monitors. But sensitive monitors are only one part of the problem. Your software is wrong in this regard too. As described, it is some kind of "minefield" that provides too many ways to - accidently or due to bugs - reset the output reference level to +4dBu. And regardless of the volume control of external gear, it should never happen to drive anything that is e.g. spec'd for -10dBV with +4dBu level! So why are you implying this default value is a good idea?

I don't know exactly why you do not just ship the software with defaults at -10dBV reference level. This would hot hurt anyone and would be compatible with all kinds of gear from the beginning. The pro can deliberately set it to the +4dBu level, which is fine. If the software loses it's settings, as it does on my system seldomly, the worst thing that would happen is that everything is about 12 dB lower, and not 12 dB too loud.

Additionally, you could consider e.g. setting all default snapshots or the snapshots numbered 2 to 8 to mix gains at -20dB as you do with the headphones output faders. I'm sure no-one would find this inconvenient in any case, because typically a user will set everything up (e.g. the reference level) and continue storing his snapshots from there. It's a very bad idea providing default maximum level snapshots that can be selected just by accidently clicking 5 pixels below something. If you think about potential solution for this case, one would be e.g. to provide a "snapshots do not change reference level" configuration option - a good option for people with a fixed installation setup; they wouldn't expect a snapshot to change the reference level anyway; as on many common audio interfaces, the reference level is a global setting.

On my system, the handling of workspaces and the storage of the configuration exhibited several bugs (e.g. the grouping of faders sometimes misbehaves and sets them to wrong levels, configuration is sometimes lost altogether etc.), which has caused 50% of the cases I've overdriven my nearfields. I know from a developers perspective it is not easy to fix such stability issues, but sensible default settings are a no-brainer and no problem to implement at all. So I sadly consider your reply completely unsatisfactory and negligent.

By the way, yesterday I updated TotalMixFX to the latest version and guess what happened: the "prevent double-click fader actions" configuration reset itself to ON despite the rest of my workspace settings seemed to be unchanged - fortunately I was already paranoid enough to check that. I feel like TotalMixFX is already "parenting" me to behave as it intends, not the other way round!

I also read in this forum that you often tell your users they should read the manual when such things happen: why are there no big red warning statements in the manual then that

  • such configuration losses happen within upgrades;

  • that if someone stores a snapshot with lower levels (and -10dBV reference level), he/she should also make sure to configure the other empty snapshots to prevent damaging level jumps?

  • the double-click actions of the output faders are on by default, and can cause severe volume jumps (especially for touchpad users)

(Every appliance has proper warnings in the manual if there are potential risks for health or equipment. Your manual seems not to care about that. It's cynical to refer to the manual when someone has just popped his ears with his midfields.)

I know why there are no warnings in your manual: because they would sound strange - they would point out that they are caused by an indeed somewhat strange and unnecessary design decision from your part that is by no means any better than nearfields manufacturers who do not provide a proper gain control.

As said, I bet it's easy to fix for you in a logical and easy way - no programming, just preset settings. And can solve the problem for a lot of users.

If this is not solved sooner or later, I will do the only thing a customer can do - updating my positive reviews for the interface and software at the online music retailers, mentioning these issues and your problem-solving approach.

Sorry for venting but I'm frustrated.

If you use that much attenuation, you are using your audio card sub optimal anyway (word length reduction). These speakers really have a problem. It would be acceptable that they would behave like this at max level (still not pro but hey) but never at minimal level. Why not fix it like MC suggest instead of being frustrated?
I have speakers that have a proper gain stage, my totalmix is at +4db and 0db fader level, but I still use a level pilot (TC electronic) with which I do gain adjustments or which I can turn down quickly when I make a mistake (like going from a quiet unmastered project to a full blown mp3).

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

9 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 11:30:42)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

If you use that much attenuation, you are using your audio card sub optimal anyway (word length reduction). These speakers really have a problem. It would be acceptable that they would behave like this at max level (still not pro but hey) but never at minimal level. Why not fix it like MC suggest instead of being frustrated?
I have speakers that have a proper gain stage, my totalmix is at +4db and 0db fader level, but I still use a level pilot (TC electronic) with which I do gain adjustments or which I can turn down quickly when I make a mistake (like going from a quiet unmastered project to a full blown mp3).

I will use the suggested "solution" for my main monitors, but this problem also applies to any consumer/-10dBV equipment in general, such as my speakers connected to the B outputs. The reference voltage should be a global setting on the "safe side", same as the 120/240V mains voltage selector on some equipment: it should NEVER EVER change by itself. Or be too easy to inadvertently be switched.

The output reference voltage should be of a "screwdriver"-type, that is, protectable setting in the software. If you reflect a bit about this, no further arguments are necessary.

I particularly chose the 802 since it provides all features necessary to be a fully-fledged monitoring controller. I am not happy needing to connect additional equipment such as a Level Pilot or other volume pot/monitor controller to it.

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Here the level difference between -10 and +4 is not dramatic. Yes it is louder, but that is it. I think that if the monitors where proper -10db, +4db would not be a terrible problem.
Don't let things like this spoil your good times with all this great gear (rme and monitors included)!

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

11 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 11:37:47)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

vinark wrote:

Here the level difference between -10 and +4 is not dramatic. Yes it is louder, but that is it. I think that if the monitors where proper -10db, +4db would not be a terrible problem.
Don't let things like this spoil your good times with all this great gear (rme and monitors included)!

It depends where your master fader is located at - the difference is not dramatic at comfortably low listening levels, but if you are already at an 80 dB SPL listening level, this is lots of gain power-wise. And if you are already driving your -10dBV gear near the -10dBV reference level, then a ~12dB jump can be harmful.

12

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

You said that yourself: errors can happen. But also bugs can happen, and as we all know shit happens. Your solution is no solution as it offers no perfect safety, and that is what you request. I could easily argue that you were just unlucky and usually the ref level does not change after an update, but that doesn't help either.

Also Vinark is right. +4 dBu is a bit louder (9 dB) but no problem. You must have a heavy level mismatch if that blows away your ears already. When typical working happens at around -10 dB on the main fader then you have some headroom for specific tasks and moments, and then the levels do match.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

13 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 12:00:44)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

MC wrote:

You said that yourself: errors can happen. But also bugs can happen, and as we all know shit happens. Your solution is no solution as it offers no perfect safety, and that is what you request. I could easily argue that you were just unlucky and usually the ref level does not change after an update, but that doesn't help either.

Also Vinark is right. +4 dBu is a bit louder (9 dB) but no problem. You must have a heavy level mismatch if that blows away your ears already. When typical working happens at around -10 dB on the main fader then you have some headroom for specific tasks and moments, and then the levels do match.

I agree with you on the errors and bugs thing. But I'm not asking for perfect safety, just an acceptable level of safety. At the moment, due to the combination of bugs/human error potential, particularly with the operation of the snapshots, hotkeys etc., the safety is far from being remotely acceptable, and could be improved greatly without a fundamental re-design. Even if I get my pad resistors into the main speakers chain, I expect I will overdrive my -10dBV speakers on output B at least twice again within this year. And this would be so easy to fix for you. Nobody is hurt by a more safe reference voltage default configuration, to account for bugs and glitches. Particularly, for snapshots 2 to 8. Here is a lot of potential for user error and I safely bet almost everyone using more than 30% of the software's features will sooner or later experience this. In most cases, it's harmless, but in those few cases, there is big and unnecessary damage potential. The right solution of course would be to create a "lock setting" that stays this way. But as you said, errors can happen and this won't be reliable too. So the default config is a fail-safe in this regard.

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Ok a simple solution. Set all! presets to a good working level for you so you can't occidentally activate a 0db one. Save this to a file. After an update or crash or whatever, check if everything is still set ok and if not load the preset file. This is not what you would like, I get that, but it saves you buying attenuators and only takes a little care. I need to check the level on my level pilot too before I start the day. 
I do understand your point, but this is just being practical with what you already have. If you later decide to part with RME, I am sure that is fine. I would never do that cause I really love the efficiency of their drivers, totalmix and their superb support, sound quality too, but most pro audio is very very good! If they would have agreed with you (which they often do with feature request and complaints) you could have been sure of a fast fix.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

15 (edited by naudio 2017-03-15 13:08:00)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

vinark wrote:

Ok a simple solution. Set all! presets to a good working level for you so you can't occidentally activate a 0db one. Save this to a file. After an update or crash or whatever, check if everything is still set ok and if not load the preset file. This is not what you would like, I get that, but it saves you buying attenuators and only takes a little care. I need to check the level on my level pilot too before I start the day. 
I do understand your point, but this is just being practical with what you already have. If you later decide to part with RME, I am sure that is fine. I would never do that cause I really love the efficiency of their drivers, totalmix and their superb support, sound quality too, but most pro audio is very very good! If they would have agreed with you (which they often do with feature request and complaints) you could have been sure of a fast fix.

Basically, that's a good suggestion - I already saved my entire workspace configuration (using Save/Load Workspace) for exactly that purpose. However there are some bugs here too, and my setup is not always restored properly, particularly fader grouping and the grouped faders' levels get messed up - don't know why. Particularly, after a totalmix/device settings mismatch. After yesterdays experience, loading my last backup resulted not in the configuration I remember saving it. Some of it is OK (layout, eqs/fx, channel names, snapshot names), but the most vital thing, grouped fader levels are not.

Additionally, some preferences do not seem to be saved (double-click fader actions...).

Of course, I will now pay more attention to configuring the other snapshots right.

No really, don't get me wrong, I would not even have thought about complaining if the workspace/snapshot configurations were reliable, but the config bugs in combination with the reference level setting and the mix default gains makes this a very annoying problem for me. But maybe it's just my system...

16

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

These are a few too many bugs from a system where everyone else here will tell you it works perfectly. What audio interface are you using? With which driver version, version of TM FX, and what is the firmware version of your interface?

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

MC wrote:

These are a few too many bugs from a system where everyone else here will tell you it works perfectly. What audio interface are you using? With which driver version, version of TM FX, and what is the firmware version of your interface?

I'm using Windows 10 Professional x64, Fireface 802, latest drivers (1.098) and firmware from December 2016.

I will try to re-create the workspace saving/restoring problems deliberately and file a separate bug report if I find out what configuration in particular triggers this.

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Maybe you should also enable this setting in TotalMix:

(x) Always init DSP devices with TotalMix FX settings

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

I know this situation super well. I also had this very unpleasant moments. I really recommend getting the dedicated analog monitor controller or something rather simple like this: http://www.tcelectronic.com/level-pilot/

I use the small mixer right at my fingertips, have my soundcard output maxed and don't touch / forgot about it.

20 (edited by naudio 2017-03-16 09:30:46)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

pianopictures wrote:

I know this situation super well. I also had this very unpleasant moments. I really recommend getting the dedicated analog monitor controller or something rather simple like this: http://www.tcelectronic.com/level-pilot/

I use the small mixer right at my fingertips, have my soundcard output maxed and don't touch / forgot about it.

That's of course the almost ideal solution - initially I wanted to buy the level pilot, but there are many reviews mentioning it's potentiometer being not very durable. Just thought, if the Fireface provides all means to be a fully-fledged monitor-controller (particularly with a mobile app), then why introduce additional components into the system.

Funnily, just stumbled over a review from the level pilot where the reviewer uses it in-between an audio interface from another manufacturer and some Genelecs, whose inputs are too sensitive too, so he had to switch the audio interface to -10dBV additionally to using the level pilot. I'm beginning to think that maybe speaker and amp manufacturers should begin to talk to audio interface manufacturers and create a new common definition of "pro reference levels". It just can' be +4dBu for almost all active speaker manufacturers. Or maybe we professionals live and thrive on these kinds of problems and need to introduce additional gear when the solution could be so simple. Maybe it's no coincidence that professional and problem share the first three letters smile

P.S.: Still no solution for my "consumer-level" B speakers. A second level pilot maybe? I looked for professional pad elements, non-transformer-based/non-DI ones are pretty expensive (some XLR pads costing € 60 per channel) and most of them are designed to be microphone pads, so I'm unsure if this will degrade the impedance matching of line level signals. Best solution I found was the Whirlwind IMP -20dB Pad (input impedance 1k, output 150 Ohms) which has a modest price. Otherwise I will have to solder some H-pads myself. For four channels, great.

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

My level pilot is fine, have it for quit some years now.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

vinark wrote:

My level pilot is fine, have it for quit some years now.

Maybe I'll give it a shot smile

23 (edited by zoran.stojkovic 2017-03-20 09:45:20)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

naudio wrote:

Apart from the instances of the few (tip of the iceberg?) users complaining about this problem here. And apart from this problem not being a minor nuisance, but hazardous and harmful. And apart from a -10dBV default config that would also fit most users perfectly without anyone complaining. Whatever, point taken.


+1. Now I see how much I miss master level knob on my 802

24 (edited by pianopictures 2017-03-21 02:25:27)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Maybe you should consider getting ARC USB?
https://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/arc_usb.php

25 (edited by pianopictures 2017-03-21 03:00:17)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Each key has to be pressed for one second to activate the programmed functionality. This safety function prevents unintentional changes.

I just read it on the ARC USB page. Do I understand it right, buttons don't operate immediately? It just can't be real, is it?

26

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

I am not sure what to make of that comment/question. Troll? Can't read? Or overly excited?

The function 'ARC 1s op' is a special, optional feature of the UFX+/II to prevent accidental operating errors during recording (DURec) and live shows (mixing), that has to be activated at the unit.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

27 (edited by pianopictures 2017-03-21 03:51:18)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Wow, thank you very much for your answer and especially for being so polite. I asked a normal question. It was definitely not clear to me what it means on that page. Yes, English is not my native and I may have a language barrier. I still don't see on that page the explanation of what is 'ARC 1 s op'. No need to call me a troll. Yes, I was overly excited about RME products...

28

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

> I asked a normal question
> It just can't be real, is it?

Is definitely not a normal question.

> I still don't see on that page the explanation of what is 'ARC 1 s op'.

I do:

---------
In the UFX+ / UFX II display’s menu the way of operating the ARC USB can be configured for stand-alone mode. Those options are found under SETUP/REV, Options, Hardware/Diagnosis:

Standalone ARC 1 s op
Each key has to be pressed for one second to activate the programmed functionality. This safety function prevents unintentional changes. It can be stored within the Setups, activating this mode automatically when such a Setup is loaded. When loading a Setup where this function had not been active this mode is automatically deactivated at the UFX+ / UFX II.
------------

It describes the function, explains that it is an option (not the normal operation mode) and what it is used for. Same on the German page, so I have no clue where the problem is here.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

29 (edited by pianopictures 2017-03-21 04:03:23)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Thank you.

> It just can't be real, is it?

Meaning: I understand that it just can't be that way that it appeared to me, but I ask for the confirmation. Explanation on the page is very clear for the person that already know this stuff in and out. For a stranger like me it is not. Yes, after reading it several times I was able to understand it more or less.

30

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Ok then, and please note that I did not call you a troll (there is a question mark). Apologies if you were hurt by that.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

MC wrote:

and please note that I did not call you a troll (there is a question mark)

- LOL, love it!

OK, thank you and I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Y'all need a volume control between TotalMix and the monitors such as a Mackie BigKnob or otherwise.

33

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Nano patch plus or Palmer Monicon or similar are more than enough.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

As a software developer this is poor design. I created an account just to +1 this

"[set] empty mixing snapshots to faders at -infinity"

Such a simple solution yet here we are

My monitors have a -10db setting which they're already on, and the interface was on +4 but I sit three feet from some 8" Dynaudio LYD-8s in a tiny room and GOOD LORD. My ears bro

I have bookoo headroom for quiet source material and for cranking the monitors and listening from across the house. I don't like that blasting my ears is a mis-click away

Part of the drive to get the Babyface was for monitor control. Why add a Pilot/Big Knob when I have a better looking encoder on the desk already

Should we add attenuators to sensitive headphones as well?

>After an update or crash or whatever, check if everything is still set ok and if not load the preset file.

No one is going to remember to do that unless the software crashes often

There's a reason y'all "have this topic from time to time in the forum"

35 (edited by Potscrubber 2021-02-08 06:54:46)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

I don't think it's reasonable to expect an interface that has some convenience monitoring functions, but is not marketed as a specialized monitor controller, to account for every loudspeaker scenario.  Get an attenuator, or buy some professional monitors with incremental level controls, like mine below.  Take responsibility for your own setup.

rip_my_hearing, your solution is a partial, faulty solution. i.e. no solution.  It doesn't account for every situation where users have been blasted due to their poor setup, and it introduces issues of it it's own.  "No sound bro!  what'd I click?!"

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9n9hxhw63p6gv66/Screenshot_Emes.png?raw=1

Madiface XT, Madiface, 3x Micstasy, ADI8QS
Sequoia 16, W10 x64
https://bsound.co.nz/tools-nix

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

How about when you initialize a mix it warns you (even just the first time!) that "starting a new mix will reset all faders to 0db and could cause dangerous levels". Is one extra click over the lifetime of the program too much to ask?

Get an attenuator, or buy some professional monitors with incremental level controls, like mine below

What about headphones? Are Focal Twins not professional monitors? My LYDs?

It doesn't account for every situation where users have been blasted due to their poor setup

All we can do is account for the things we can account for. We can't hook up users' MIDI cables for them but that doesn't mean we don't label the ins and outs. Sure they'll still plug them in wrong from time to time but that's beyond our control

and it introduces issues of it it's own.  "No sound bro!  what'd I click?!"

vs "ARHAGHAHGH MAKE IT STOP BRO! WHAT'D I CLICK?!"

You know you clicked "Mix 2" and clicking that mix initializes a new mix and you'd even get visual feedback... all of the faders would be down

As much as I feel applying console logic to computer mixing is generally flawed logic, I think OP has a great point here... in what world have we ever lived in where on a console, boombox, stereo, etc has a button that instantly goes to max?

Or how about fading the faders between snapshots? That'll give you a split second to go "ABORT! ABORT!" and click on the previous mix snapshot

There's a lot of ways you could address this issue

I don't think it's reasonable to expect an interface that has some convenience monitoring functions [...]

I don't think it's reasonable for something with a volume knob to go full send with no warning lol

37 (edited by MetalHeadKeys 2021-02-14 11:59:12)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Hello!

I'm, happily, using a Nanopatch+ , that I had purchased 5 years ago, but only recently started using it with my DF Usb via a Presonus Digimax FS for AD/DA.

This way, I don't have to worry about the Main Output Fader, anymore. +0dB, it is!!

But, I can relate to this situation. So, I thought of this:

How about adding a "Speaker Protection" checkbox(or radio button) underneath the "Mixes" section, with an "Assign" drop-down menu box next to it.

At the drop-down menu, a list of all the Stereo Outputs of each interface would be visible.
The user can "tick" every stereo Output, that needs to be "protected".
A fixed value of -30 dB(faders get set to -30dB) is applied to those Outputs, for every SubMix.

If no Output is selected, then the "Speaker Protection" Option is disabled.
If one or more Outputs are selected (at the "Assign" menu), then the Option becomes active(but not enabled)
Then, the user can enable it, if he wants to.
When the user disables it, faders return to last known position.

I don't know if this can be implemented and I don't know how it will work with the larger channel counts interfaces(UFX+, Hdsp-e MADI FX),
but this came to my mind, at the moment!!

RME Gear: Digiface USB, HDSP 9632

38 (edited by ramses 2021-02-14 23:09:10)

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

I have thought about it for a long time before answering to this thread again.  And I am really sorry to those who had such issues.
One thing to add: I am sensitive with my ears and am therefore perhaps more careful than others who might even play a 50 or 100W tube amp ..

But no matter how you twist or turn it. There will never be a 100% working solution in the area of interface / software that protects users from the consequences of a "careless" (sorry found no other word for it) approach and is at the end of the day not disturbing normal every da operation, A/B checks, etc.

Some solutions are ruled out from the start because they would have to be configured first, because what you don't know beforehand, you can't configure beforehand under "safe conditions".

Switch-on cracking has mainly to do with the "physics", whether a recording interface is prepared for it and has certain relays in the signal path (or however this is implemented in the individual case).

If you had perhaps the idea to implement the slow increase of the ADI-2 Pro's volume (when plugging in the headphones and also when changing channels), then the question is where and how. With a fairly solid studio cabling you don't plug in cables (so this you can't use as trigger).
Or which switching (mouse click in TM FX) should cause outputs to get a slow rampup ? This could only be done by changing a snapshot. But what if no snapshot is changed at the moment, then it's just loud again.

So purely in software I see no real satisfactory / working solution !

Maybe only implement it for the control room section of TM FX ? Brings also nothing, at the beginning nobody knows the "Assign" function to bring outputs into the Control Room and to map on Main Out, Phones. So all the nice ideas to turn down the volume to -20 or -30 dB for "Main Out" or "Main Out B" automatically is also no round solution, as all this needs configuration and a double click would again bring 0dB.

The only thing that really helps - and not to reduce / cripple the very good functionality of TM FX - is good planning and approaching things with the necessary caution and prudence.

The 20-30 dB attenuators at Thomann are dirt cheap compared to the rest of the equipment. And there is a good reason for passive monitoring controllers. And if you think about it a bit more, it might not be a good idea to connect monitors digitally if there is no volume pot in front of the pre or power amp.

I made sure that my monitors had a volume pot when I bought them (but they also only work when connecting analog, not through the AES port!) so I don't need such an attenuator.
Nevertheless, even if I turn the poti completely down, then 0dB is still too loud for me personally. That's why I have added more seat belts:
- turned volume down and adjusted volume in all 8 TM FX Snapshots to -20 or even -30dB on Main monitors and Phones
- reserved one snapshot to mute all outputs
- got me a recording interface, that dampens power-on crackling on all analog ports, not only phones
- saved this settings also as snapshot and workspace and also into quick workspace select slots.
- one snapshot where all outputs are muted

And since I got the ADI-2 Pro
- am using the ADI-2 Pro as kind of monitor controller with silent / stored power-on values
- using the ADI-2 Pro to switch channels (key remapping to the front) between Monitor and Phones with the slow volume ramp-up
- 4th key in the front remapped to mute all

So at the end it boils down to me that all is a matter of planning and being careful when handling with new stuff and to slowly / carefully become acquainted with new setup / gear.

Basically .. does this make sense to you as well ?!

Nevertheless, I just got some ideas that might solve a few (not all) issues and would be nice features to offer something that the rest of the recording interface industry most likely has not to offer....

The only thing that perhaps could make sense with the aim to catch at least most (not all) cases:
- ship interfaces with the typical/usual channels preassigned to TM FX Control room as "Main Out, Phones1 (and Phones2 where applicable)
- preset main out, phones1 and phones2 to -30dB in all TM FX Snapshots
- make this value configurable for all TM FX Control Room channels ("Main Out", "Main Out B", Phones1..Phones4)
- configurable option to restore these predefined levels either on "power-on", "power-on + SnapshotChange" or "off"
- configurable option for TM FX Control Room channels to enable/disable double click functionality (to prevent chanes to 0dB output level). Default: disabled
- maybe also save preinitialization of the up to 6 device config profiles from factory.

Activation by new firmware/software update.
For old stored values the user is responsible, as I see no easy way for the vendor to change such a setup while flashing or installing driver and software.

If this is all too much / too complicated to develop, at the end it would help already a lot to make it configurable
- to disable the double click in the control room to prevent such an accident and
- to enter something like a maximum volume for the control room, then also a double click to fader wouldn't hurt that much
Either a max value for all channels or per channel (Main Out, Main Out B, Phones 1..4)

Also very useful when using TM FX as "Life Mixer" as full range speaker are very powerful.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Hi:
I've been using my RME Fireface UFX for 5-6 years, the last two with the RME ARC Usb. I really love how it works, also totalmix for no latency issues has been really useful.
At the same time, I agree on most of which was said on the first post. I don't really understand what's the point in having so many shortcuts which can get all the faders up to 0dB. Would be great if Total Mix had some kind of reworking so that this wouldn't happen.
Also, sometimes I have to disconnect the ARC usb and connect it again because it suddenly doesn't respond, and this sometimes also leads to that it responds weirdly and turns the faders up

Re: Dangerous Default Settings for TotalMix - Gear and Ear Damage

Another one bites the dust.

Unboxed my new Babyface pro fs. Connected it to my laptop. Realized that the "big wheel" is not at potentiometer, but a controller. Finding the way to lower headphone volume on the device before starting playback. Haven't even started Totalmix fx yet. All well, works nicely.

Time for connecting to my main computer with powered nearfield monitors + subwoofer. Double-checking the volume setting from test on laptop. Not realizing that I had only lowered the headphone volume, not the AN1 & AN2 volume, to which my main monitors now are connected. KA-BOOM! Say hello to my old antagonist Mr. Tinnitus again :-(

Found Totalmix fx, and fixed the above error. Started to fool around in TM FX. Clicked on another snapshot. KA-BOOM! Here we go again :-(

I realize that these can all be considered my mistakes. I've learned my lesson and bought a Palmer Monicon.

Let's just say that me and Babyface had a bad start. But relations that start bad can grow into a loving partnership. I hope for that and will give Babyface a second chance.