Question / Help Control overall audio volume in stream

WCE

New Member
I've seen several threads related to stream volume, but most of them are with respect to a single audio device and don't seem to directly answer my question. In my case, overall audio in the output stream (regardless of source) seems to be too low for some of my viewers. iPads seem to suffer the most. They don't tend to have very loud sound. Even with volume sliders turned all the way up, compression on and desktop audio at 100%, I still get some complaints. I've worked around the problem by adding between 4 and 8dB to all input sources in the Advance Audio Settings, but if I touch the volume sliders, they get removed. I've also had some success with adding gain filters to all inputs, but this seems wrong; when the signal is constantly in the yellow or red, I should not need to add gain. Is there a master control that I've missed to increase the overall audio volume in the stream?
 

AndySaywell

New Member
I have the same issue with the advanced property gains returning to 0db if the sliders are touched. Ive submitted a bug report today. I didn't know about the gain filters....and can use these I think to solve the issue temporarily.

I also find that people complain about streaming (youtube) volume being too low on ipads and TV's but when I play back a youtube saved video of the stream after it seems plenty loud enough...perhaps this is something that Youtube fixes after the stream before the saved file is made available.
 
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WCE

New Member
I didn't know about the gain filters....and can use these I think to solve the issue temporarily.

The big issue with the gain filter is that it'll push you closer to the clipping point. So, yeah, it solves the problem of a weak input source, but doesn't give nearly the control you want in what's output to the stream. It'll fill the gap, though. Gain should be applied first in your chain of filters. And I recommend adding a Limiter filter as the last one. It works like compression, but it only squashes down the sounds whose volume exceeds the threshold. Maybe set the threshold at -1 dB. This weekend, I'm going to experiment with Gain + Compression + Limiter.

But my opinion is that none of this should be necessary. I should be able to take input audio signals that are in the green and have them output to the stream at a comfortable level. Right before the volume control lights up to indicate you're over the limit, the stream volume ought to be near overpowering. If I don't understand how this is supposed to work, I'm hoping someone educates me.
 

carlmmii

Active Member

There is no "master volume control" after the mixer. If something is showing peak volume on the mixer, OBS will be outputting peak volume.

As far as gain/compression/limiter, yes, it is absolutely something that works, and highly recommended for the microphone chain. Set gain so that your highest possible volume doesn't clip. From there, it's rather subjective, but my advice is to set the compression threshold a few db below your normal speaking volume with a compression ratio that doesn't completely destroy dynamics (2:1 or 2.5:1 is usually safe), and apply a post-compression gain level to place your normal speaking volume comfortably into the yellow. Then add a limiter at -3db and you should be good.
 
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WCE

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There is no "master volume control" after the mixer. If something is showing peak volume on the mixer, OBS will be outputting peak volume.

As far as gain/compression/limiter, yes, it is absolutely something that works, and highly recommended for the microphone chain. Set gain so that your highest possible volume doesn't clip. From there, it's rather subjective, but my advice is to set the compression threshold a few db below your normal speaking volume with a compression ratio that doesn't completely destroy dynamics (2:1 or 2.5:1 is usually safe), and apply a post-compression gain level to place your normal speaking volume comfortably into the yellow. Then add a limiter at -3db and you should be good.

Thank you! Your explanation and linked material are consistent with what I had observed. My frustration is that, even with most of the audio between -15dB and -5dB, I have people complaining that they can't hear. Most of those are iPad and TV users (streaming to Facebook). At the very least, the recommendations you provided look like they'll keep the dynamics in a tight enough range that listeners are less likely to lose the softer speech. From there, I think I'll just have to tell them to either toss the iPad or get a set of good headphones.
 

MikeMynis

New Member
I agree. Of course all inputs should be levelled correctly in the first place.

But still at the end, a master volume slider (plus master compression) would be very good to have.
That's how all mixers work. And the mixer in OBS should also have this.

And I also have the bug that when you touch the volume slider in the mixer, the volume setting in Advanced Audio Properties flips back to 0dB. That is not good!
 

joel_b

New Member
I'm no expert on this, but I understand that 'Loudness', LUFS etc, is the key thing. Different streaming platforms will normalise their audio to different standards. (Google, 'does youtube normalize loudness') This may explain why recorded videos seem louder and more acceptable.

It is possible to install apps on your computer to monitor the LUFS Loudness level for a given audio source or output. I've (lightly) used this one on Mac, https://www.orban.com/meter

It is frustrating that OBS doesn't have a master mix volume setting nor ability to apply filters to the final master mix, as you would when mastering an audio track, to get loudness levels correct in dedicated audio software (Logic, Ableton, etc).

I've also struggled with getting enough volume out of OBS into Zoom and am considering putting some software in the signal chain, after the OBS monitor output, before the zoom input, such as a gain plugin external to OBS. This appears to be a better approach than push the gain up on all the input sources, clipping them. Would be best if OBS master bus / mix was available.
 

jamienemeth

New Member
A master mix volume would be amazing.

Stream audio on Twitch (for loads of people's streams, not just mine) is consistently at about a quarter of the volume of any other videos (YouTube, Facebook), presumably because most streamers are following the same (very sensible) advice to keep audio levels in the yellow on the OBS audio meters.

(If I go to play a YouTube video, and forget I've had everything turned up for Twitch, or if one of Twitch's own adverts plays, I'm often lunging for the faders on my actual mixing desk connected to my speakers...)

Yes, I could add gain to all audio sources, but like many in this thread, I'm used to actual physical mixing desks, and making everything go into the red on OBS's meters just so it's louder on Twitch feels daft...I'll lose all the benefits of having the meters in the first place.

Maybe we don't even need a master mix volume as such, just a meter calibration? (Though obviously a master mix volume would be better)
 

sflowr

New Member
In my case I work with a Solid State Logic 2+ audio interface and I bought it to improve the sound in my facebook live broadcasts but now everyone complains that it is not heard.

At first I went crazy checking cables, mics, levels, profits, etc. I consulted with an audio professional and he warned me that it may be an OBS problem as we review part by part. It gave me some sadness to make this investment with the SSL 2+ so that instead of improving the sound it has gotten worse.

Previously I used a Blue Yeti that gave me a better volume, I cannot say that the quality was better because they are different devices, however, the volume is now much lower in the same conditions and the quality somewhat lower in some cases. I have sought the solution by raising profits (low loss) as some recommend.

I have reviewed a lot of material that advises to install plugins and the theme of 'Loudness', LUFS, etc. that has penalized in most platforms, even in ZOOM. I have updated ASIO drivers but none have solved this problem for me. I have reinstalled everything again without achieving anything new and fewer and fewer people are interested in watching my transmissions thanks to the very low volume that comes out of the OBS even when the levels in the SSL 2+ are optimal.

Now I have returned to the Blue Yeti but I would not advise installing or using too many filters in OBS since the processor saturates and can give some failures in the transmissions, but that is already at the discretion of each one. I would be very grateful if a solution is given to this and it will surely solve the lives of many of us.
 

AngelOfDeath

New Member
Personally, I'm incredibly appalled this feature doesn't already exist. The options for sound, while livestreaming in OBS, are very frustrating, if not concerning at the lack of development.
 

JVRaines

New Member
Programmers will spend hundreds of hours on video and then wave a dusty rag at the audio. That's the way it goes with a lot of producers as well. Lack of audio mastering, choppy transitions in monitoring, and poor handling of bitrate changes are among the most amateurish aspects of OBS at this time.
 

FerretBomb

Active Member
The standard 'voice in the yellow, game in the green' is advice meant to keep new streamers safely away from clipping.
It's AWFUL advice for everyone else.

If you are going for professional audio, your voice should absolutely be as deep in the red as possible, including touching the end of the meter. Set up compression to ensure lack of clipping.
Fun fact: The OBS mixer outright lies. Its "0dB" value is actually -2dB, which screws anyone over who is trying to properly normalize their audio feed. There is no way to remove this behavior. Pisses me the hell off.

As far as a 'master mix' is concerned, it's not necessary if you set up your audio inputs correctly the first time. Gain-stage as close to the mic as possible, as usual. Run everything at unity. Run Windows' inputs at unity. When it comes into OBS, apply a Gain filter to the source, to compensate for your interface levels and get the gain set correctly on the digital side. Set your levels in the digital mixer from there for your voice/game balance. Maybe toss in a little sidechain ducking to help your voice stand above. If it's overall too quiet, fix your key device level and start adjusting the mix again. Because you screwed up somewhere setting up your foundation.
 

FadedKamui

New Member
Hey FerretBomb! I've been struggling HARD because of the recommendation that's told by everyone of keeping game / music in green, voice in yellow, and NEVER touching red.

My stream volume is SO low and I'm barely audible and I hate it so much and the only way I could get it to sound like I felt it should would be if I went deep into the red.

I checked out and followed your Twitch because your audio is excellent and you seem awesome.

I'm gonna just say "screw it", set up the audio that sounds right to me, then listen to make sure it's not clipping or anything. I'm running a GoXLR Mini and a Shure SM7B mic and with the amount I spent, I'm really bummed out that my audio sucks.

If there's any way at all you can dumb down what you're talking about and explain more simply how to set levels properly, I'd REALLY appreciate it! In the meantime, I'm going to look up what Unity gain is and try to figure this out more.

Again, your stream sounds amazing!
 

FerretBomb

Active Member
I'm gonna just say "screw it", set up the audio that sounds right to me, then listen to make sure it's not clipping or anything. I'm running a GoXLR Mini and a Shure SM7B mic and with the amount I spent, I'm really bummed out that my audio sucks.

If there's any way at all you can dumb down what you're talking about and explain more simply how to set levels properly, I'd REALLY appreciate it! In the meantime, I'm going to look up what Unity gain is and try to figure this out more.
Thanks much!
First recommendation, and probably one of the things making it harder to understand, is regarding your mic. The SM7B needs a ton of gain. The GoXLR is right on the edge of being able to drive it properly, if memory serves, so you MAY have to turn your gain ALL the way up and still not be able to set it correctly. It's strongly advised to grab something like a Cloudlifter CL-1 or Triton FetHead to handle the initial boost. Then your mixer/interface will be able to dial in the gain more cleanly.

'Unity' just means 'the same level it came in at'. So no amplification, and no attenuation. Just kick the signal through at the same level without messing with it. Each time you bump it up or down, you lose a little bit of the range you could potentially have. On most mixers this is marked somehow, usually with a 0 or U on rotary knobs, or square brackets around linear slides. In the Windows Sound->Recording properties, Levels for the device, unity is 50.

'Gain staging' means setting your microphone's input gain to be as close to clipping as possible without clipping. Note that gain levels and fader levels are NOT the same thing. A lot of pro-audio newbies use gain as a 'second volume knob', which it isn't. Think of gain as your 'mic calibration', while the fader is for adjusting the volume in the mix.
Generally you want to set your gain as close to the mic as possible, and not mess with it after that until as late in the chain as is feasible. Only amp once, if possible.
On a normal mixing desk, you 'solo' the input you're staging (set the fader to unity, mute all other channels, or just watch the 'clip' light if so-equipped which should be pre-fader), then clap into the mic so it outputs the loudest it's going to hear/capture. You tweak the gain up until the input starts to clip, then back it off until it JUST BARELY doesn't. This will ensure that your input has the full range of the mic to work with. (There are other, more accurate ways to gain-stage a mic, but go beyond the scope of a home livestreamer setup; the clap-test is close enough.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a GoXLR so can't really get into specifics on how to set it up on that hardware.

After that, you set your Sound->Recording->Right-click device->Properties->Level to 50. You CAN amp here, using something like Audacity to get an accurate level reading if you so choose. Again clap-test with everything at unity, get as close to clipping without clipping.
If you leave it at 50, in OBS apply a Gain filter as the first filter on the source, and spitball it as close as you can (since OBS, again, lies on the volume meter). Remember that touching the end of the meter in OBS is NOT clipping. It's -2dB. Clipping in OBS is when the entire bar turns SOLID RED.

After this, use the sliders in OBS to set the volume level of your voice versus your desktop audio device.

I'd also recommend looking into the audio filters OBS provides. Strongly recommend a compressor (makes loud sounds quieter when they go past a certain loudness), and an expander (makes quiet sounds quieter, eliminating low-level background noise).
 

FadedKamui

New Member
Thank you so much, Ferret! I also want to say that your an awesome streamer too! I watched some of your VODS and you're very entertaining and seem like a really nice person, so I'm glad I found your stream anyway!

After reading your post last night, I messed with the settings and found exactly what you said in that I noticed OBS turned the meter completely red if I was actually clipping my audio but everything before that (as far as I could hear) sounded completely fine to me! I ran a short stream messing with my new settings and it was WAY better than it has ever been for me in terms of volume and the mix (in that voice now cuts through game audio, but game audio is completely audible and not hard to hear).

I will go through everything you said here and keep working on the levels and settings a lot more tomorrow after work, but again, thank you so much for helping out will all this as this information is so different from what everyone else just parrots without being able to explain why they say that info. whereas what you say actually both makes sense and is provable with a few simple tests.
 

konsolenritter

Active Member
Remember that touching the end of the meter in OBS is NOT clipping. It's -2dB.

Hi Ferret,

i tried second time to verify this. I couldn't. My setup was:

- Generated a sinusoidal 1kHz test tone with -5dBFS peak and -8dBFS rms by Audacity (as 48k WAV).
- Played in OBS. Metering shows peak at -5 and rms at -8, as awaited.
- Recorded and remuxed to mp4.
- Opened mp4 in Fairlight (Davinci Resolve's mixing desk). Metering there shows exactly -5dBFS peak.

How can i check/verify your observation for the difference by 2dB?

Best regards! :)
 

FerretBomb

Active Member
Hi Ferret,

i tried second time to verify this. I couldn't. My setup was:

- Generated a sinusoidal 1kHz test tone with -5dBFS peak and -8dBFS rms by Audacity (as 48k WAV).
- Played in OBS. Metering shows peak at -5 and rms at -8, as awaited.
- Recorded and remuxed to mp4.
- Opened mp4 in Fairlight (Davinci Resolve's mixing desk). Metering there shows exactly -5dBFS peak.

How can i check/verify your observation for the difference by 2dB?

Best regards! :)
It's possible this may have changed (and I'll be VERY glad if it finally has!); the last time I tested it was around v22. To memory, the -2dB offset was previously noted on the wiki, though I can't seem to find it now.
The easiest way to confirm is to feed in a tone at or above -2dB though. Per https://obsproject.com/wiki/Understanding-The-Mixer#input-level the input dot should give an actual reading; if you give greater than -0.5dBFS it should turn white. Clipping (0dB) causes the entire bar to turn solid red. Anywhere from -2 to 0 the meter historically has shown "0" the entire time on the bar, from my admittedly dated testing.
 

konsolenritter

Active Member
Okay, so i'll test again with -2, -1, 0dB peak tones and will report later on that.
(Very intresting. Should obs' behaviour really change within the upper 2 dB i would have been really pissed of. We will see.)
Any metering (even with dB, hence logarithmic scale) should behave linearly on its way bottom to up. Any non-linearity over non-linearity would be... *aaarghhhh* =D *shaking-the-head*
 
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