One question...so what do you mean, when you speak of leaving a certain amount of dB's? You mean not to push the volume in the final mixing of things to the maximum?
To put it really simple: I have synth 1 in the first channel of the Korg DS Mixer. I don't set his volume to the max? In this way I am "leaving headroom" ?
I ask because I think I'm understanding the problem, but not the basic "leaving headroom" thing (I'm italian, maybe is that I've never heard the expression before
Sorry, my apologies for not being clearer and being a bit too technical. I can make a quick reply now - I spent most of the last two days hitting mud with a stick (I'm a nerd that has to do farm work on weekends) and feel like crap. Actually there may already be posts on this forum that cover this stuff better, so have a look around.
The levels that I was talking about were levels in the recording software that you use to record your DS-10 tracks. I think you said you are using Logic. I use Cockos Reaper, because it was cheap to register.
The loudness of the sound that ends up in your mp3 that you upload to Soundcloud is a combination of a few things:
- the levels you set in the DS-10 mixer. These are not calibrated in decibels, you just have to use your ears. Part of what you have to listen for is if you push all the levels up in the DS-10 mixer, it will not clip from going over 0dB full scale, instead it "saturates" a bit like an old tape deck. If each instrument in your song is loud, and then you set the levels high in the mixer, you will hear this effect. When it is extreme, everything starts to sound kind of squashed and distorted/fuzzy, but not actually clipped like real digital clipping. I try to be a bit restrained with the DS-10 mixer because I like my tracks to have more dynamics in them.
- the input gain you set when you record the DS-10 track into your computer - that may be a real knob on your audio interface (mine is, it's a Lexicon Lambda), or a software control. You probably set this to be as high as you can get without clipping - that's a pretty standard thing to do.
- the output level that you set when you turn the track into an MP3 for uploading to Soundcloud. When I do this in Reaper, it shows me the levels as it zooms through encoding the track with LAME, and holds the highest peak level so that I can see it when the process finishes. This is where you need to make sure that you have at least 3dB of headroom, by making sure that the peak level in your output track is lower than -3dB.
Because you say that it sounds fine in Logic, I am guessing that if you can get the levels in the uploaded mp3 to work better with how Soundcloud transcode it, you might be happier with how it sounds when you stream it from Soundcloud. Try encoding a few copies at different levels, and upload them so you can hear what Soundcloud does with them - you can always delete them if they aren't better than your original upload...