1 (edited by RexRed 2021-11-05 12:30:43)

Topic: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

I am plugged in with a good working cable into channel 3 on the front of the Fireface UCX II interface.
In TotalMix I have channel 3 set to mono and the pan button set to center.

I have the instr button selected and +13 dbu

The gain is set to +12

In my DAW, i have channel 3 mono selected.

The problem is, when i play/record lead the record volume rarely goes above -30db.

Do i need a preamp? My bass guitar has the same problem.

Is there some sort of trim gain that I am not seeing?

EQ+D for record is unchecked.


Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

Your settings represent a guitar/bass with only -37 dBu output level. Usually we are bothered by guitarrists that manage to overload our Babyface Pro at +13 dBu - that's a whopping 50 dB of level difference.

Try channel 4 if it does the same. If so check your guitar and bass volume pot and cables.

Matthias Carstens

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

Thank you MC for your response, I checked my bass/guitar and cables and it does the same thing in channel 4 sad

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

I have had some progress. The guitars I have are all brand new but cheap 100 to 200 dollar guitars.
The Les Paul humbucker style pickups get very loud and blows the roof off the vu meter in the TotalMix but the Fender Strat style is about half the loudness.

You are right MC, 50% lower.
So i did a little research and found that there is a possibility the ground is wired incorrectly in the guitars OR, Fender pickups are just much quieter than Humbuckers... The P90s are about halfway between the Humbuckers and Fender pickups.

If there are any guitar players here? Does this jive with your understanding? And, do you use preamps to bring your lead guitar parts up before they go into the Fireface?

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough


You could have a look at this thread: https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=29572

RME Gear: Digiface USB, HDSP 9632

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

MetalHeadKeys wrote:


You could have a look at this thread: https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=29572

This thread you posted is very helpful!

I wish there was a better boost within the unit itself.

My Strat recorded a straight line in my DAW I had to resample the audio db to the wave file to see that something actually recorded.

I am going to buy the Amazon Basics Boost Guitar Effect Pedal - True Bypass, Full Metal Shell
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07 … &psc=1

I'll give this boost unit a try. Thanks for the info, this forum is very helpful!

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

Does anyone know if a firmware update could in the future supply more boost to the 3 and 4 instrument inputs?

8 (edited by waedi 2021-11-06 19:46:05)

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

Have you tried to connect the guitar direct into the Mic preamp ?

of course : NO Phantompower !

M1-Sonoma, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver and blue

9 (edited by CrispyChips 2021-11-07 00:23:33)

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

Quote: “If there are any guitar players here? Does this jive with your understanding?”

Although there are low impedance exceptions, (Les Paul Recording Model comes to mind) quite overwhelmingly, guitar pickups are high impedance.

However, their actual output varies dependant upon the quality and size of their magnets the number of windings in the coils, the number of coils, and also the precise materials utilised throughout their fabrication.

Vintage instruments of identical models manufactured during an era dominated by human aggregation, can vary greatly in their actual output as the actual number of windings could be dependant on the production volume required and the operator time available.

Thus, one instrument could feature an amazingly high output, but another, have far less “poke”; regardless of whether the instrument model featured humbuckers or single coils. Such is the element of human operator variability, and one reason why, like human beings, musical instruments are very individual.

Today, although that universal axiom still holds true, because of improved standardisation and computer numerically controlled manufacturing processes, it tends to be the case that such operator variabilities are lessened to a great degree. That machine manufactured instruments are more consistent, the biggest problem today being the lack of creative ingenuity in design and increasing scarcity of high-quality raw materials with which to manufacture.

You will appreciate, that an expensive instrument fabricated from high-quality materials is likely to resonate and project greater clarity and volume of tone. Whereas a cheap instrument fabricated from cheap materials is likely to resonate and project poorly, sounding tinny and thin, possessing lamentable volume of tone.

In an instrument such as you describe but of high-quality, the single coils give a bright, bell like clarity of tone and a good output level ideal for the amplifiers they were designed to be utilised with. Again, in such an instrument, the sheer quality of the magnets and copper wire utilised in the coils, plus the amount of the windings, accrue to deliver the instruments desirable quality of output.

Yet in an instrument such as you describe but of low-quality, manufactured and sold at low cost, the converse is likely to be true. Single coils with lower output than humbuckers manufactured utilising poor quality magnets and raw materials in the coils, and rather less of them than would be ideal to make them as cost effective for the manufacturer as possible, are likely to deliver a tinny sound at less than desirable, low output, by comparison.

You mention P-90 pickups.

Although they are single coil’s they have good size magnets, plus rather more high-quality coils covering a wider area, than most standard single coil pickups.

Although a different product, the rear pickup of a Telecaster shares certain similarities in such qualities, plus a huge copper plate on its bottom. All this copper is expensive raw material but adds sonic quality and output level.

You are using instrument copies that cost 100 - 200 dollars whereas the genuine instruments they are copies of will cost 15 – 30 times that amount to purchase, and unsurprisingly, you  have found something altogether lacking. Probably the amount of copper involved, has a lot to do with it.

What you could do quite easily, is to install a replacement pickup with a higher output to your single coil instrument.

There are a wide range of such pickups available, and Stratocaster type guitars are readily customisable. One reason those particular guitars are very popular.

Leo Fender was a radio repair man and designed his guitars and amplifiers so that they could be very easily repaired. This is why they are so readily customisable and this might be the best solution for your problem.

You can even purchase humbucking pickups that fit in the available space. These are stacked humbuckers coil on top of coil, and they give a close approximation of a single coil pickup but with a commensurately higher output and without the hum of single coils. As you need to check your wiring anyway, you could simply buy one pickup as see what improvement it gives.

This won’t address all the main problems commonly associated with cheap instruments, but may help improve the quality of sound and the low output level considerably for small money. The main problems remaining, being poor stability of insufficiently seasoned raw wood materials, lack of stability in tuning and dependability of vibrato/tailpiece in performance etc. et al.

https://www.seymourduncan.com/products/ … tric/strat

Quote: “do you use preamps to bring your lead guitar parts up before they go into the Fireface?”


Although I am sure this can be done very successfully given good-quality instruments featuring nominally sufficient output.

I always use an amplifier, or two, if utilising stereo effects and place a high-quality microphone/s in front of the amplifier’s speaker or speakers.

This is because electric guitars were by design, intended to be used with amplifiers. Their sound, intended to be heard through speakers. The amplifier is one half of the guitars actual sound. Together they form a perfect marriage.

Anyone who knows anything about guitars (or bass guitars) will tell you that the single biggest contributory factor to their actual sound, is the players fingers and sensitivity of touch.

And of course, they are plenty of alternative methods of recording guitars, some of them exceptionally good and even cloning devices that synthesise and emulate desirable amplifiers, specific tonalities in compact packages.

However, in the final analysis, my observation has been that there is a deeply profound, symbiotic relationship between a guitarist’s sensitivity of touch and the sound that is emitted directly from an amplifier. A kind of direct feedback that informs and shapes the varying qualities of their playing style in a manner that in my humble opinion, is wholly superior to those exceptionally good, alternative methods.

10 (edited by ramses 2021-11-07 09:46:02)

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

With none of my guitars I have any level issues (Les Paul, 335, Tele, ..) with the UFX+.

It might be the case that the Instrument inputs of the flagship interfaces UFX+ (and UFX II) allow for more options:
- higher gain range
- higher max input levels.

From the manual there are differences:

Line In 3-4, front
- as AD, but:
- Additional digital Gain stage: 0 up to +12 dB
- Maximum input level, +19 dBu, Gain 0 dB: Line +19 dBu, Inst +13 dBu
- Maximum input level, +13 dBu, Gain 12 dB: Line +1 dBu, Inst -5 dBu
- Input impedance: Instrument 1 MOhm. Line 13 kOhm balanced, 9 kOhm unbalanced
- Input Gain Inst: +6 dB
- Input mode: Line balanced (TRS), Inst unbalanced (TS)

Instrument In 9-12, front
As AD, but:
- Input: 6.3 mm TS jack, unbalanced
- Input impedance: 1 MOhm
- Signal to Noise ratio (SNR): 114 dB RMS unweighted, 118 dBA
- Gain range: 42 dB
- Maximum input level, Gain 8 dB: +21 dBu
- Maximum input level, Gain 50 dB: -21 dBu

I personally plug the guitars permanently to the UFX+ to be able to reamp and use the UFX+ as parallel effect loop, see here:
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … arren-Rig/
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … -DURec-DE/
I wouldn't do it this way if it wouldn't run nicely. Also latency wise absolutely no issue when building the parallel effect loop with the UFX+.

Signal flow:
Guitar -- UFX+ -- G.Amp Input -- Effect Send -- UFX+ --+- Lexicon Multieff--+
                                                                                     +- TC Multieffect   --+-- UFX+ - Effect Return -- G.Amp
Example: L-5 recorded straight into the instrument input of an UFX+.
No preamp or virtual instrument in use, very good sound nicely captured by the INSTR input of UFX+.
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/index.ph … -320b-mp3/

I only had to use a compressor (Fabfilter Pro C2) to beef of the signal.
Reason while testing the UAD Octo solution I had fix optimized settings for the virtual Fender Amp which didn't strangely allow for a higher input signal. Normally I would have raised the instr gain and lowered the output of the Fender Amp but my friend said, that this is the setting with which the amp sounds best, well and we wanted to have the settings compareable. Only therefore I had this low recording level for the guitar and needed now to beef it up with a compressor.
See also the UAD Octo review: https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … CIe-EN-DE/

BR Ramses - UFX III, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1680v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub13


Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

So what is the typical gain setting that you use for your various guitars? Tech specs say the UFX+ can have 16 dB more gain than the UCX 2 on Instrument input. Do you use/need that?

Matthias Carstens

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

UFX+, gain range is 8..50.
I am using two different gain settings
- 25 for Humbucker (Gibson 57 Classic pickups, these are balanced and not too hot)
   https://www.thomann.de/de/gibson_p57_cl … ns_35138_1
- 28 for Single Coil (Fender Custom Texas Special, a little bit hotter than normal pickups for Fender Telecaster)
   https://www.thomann.de/de/fender_texas_ … ele_pu.htm

BR Ramses - UFX III, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1680v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub13


Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

25 dB UFX+ equals +4 dBu = +13 dBu (+ Inst 6 dB) = +7 dBu, so the digital gain knob must be set to +3 dB on the BF Pro.
28 dB UFX+ equals +1 dBu = +13 dBu (+ Inst 6 dB) = +7 dBu, so the digital gain knob must be set to +6 dB on the BF Pro.

Means you would have no problem with the BF Pro with both guitars. Good to know.

Matthias Carstens

14 (edited by Hexspa 2023-05-31 16:07:40)

Re: Lead Guitar Not Loud Enough

When did this Boost feature show up in Totalmix FX? I didn't see details in the firmware update. It's great for single coils.

here are other related threads


V 1.227 (02/06/2023)

- Babyface Pro: supports Boost mode for inputs 3/4. Requires firmware 203 and TM FX 1.80.