Author Topic: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?  (Read 1409 times)

Offline Syntho

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Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« on: November 22, 2018, 02:07:21 PM »
The Monitors & Sound control panel has a volume control inside of it. Fair enough. But there is also another little application in HD - Extras called Sound. It's here that I can select if I'm using an additional audio card, as well as adjust the output volume. I'm not sure what the difference is between the two.
 
The one in Monitors & Sound stays the same after rebooting, but the volume in the Sound app in the Extras folder is pegged all the way up every time I restart. I also find that the control strip's Sound panel is linked not to Monitors & Sound, but to the extra Sound app's volume. I have to turn it down every time I boot up or else I'll get clipping.

What is the difference between the two, and how can I get the one in the older Sound app to keep its volume setting?

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2018, 03:32:18 PM »
I'm running an audio interface and I'm required to use the Sound control panel located in the Extras folder. It's the only way to select it and get system audio running through it. I just checked on another machine with only built in sound and the Sound (extras) control panel, and the Monitors & Sound control panel both change the volume. However, on my system running an audio interface, Monitors & Sound's volume slider does not affect volume at all, and only the Sound (extras) control panel changes the volume of my audio interface.

I would be satisfied with that, but the old Sound control panel saves the volume setting for the built-in output, but it does NOT save it for my audio interface. It resets every time. I actually found a near 20-year-old forum post a few minutes ago that has the same complaint. If I could find a workaround for getting the volume to save, or somehow change automatically when I boot up, that would be killer.

Offline devils_advisor

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2018, 03:36:39 PM »
apple script could help

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2018, 04:14:48 PM »
I'm unfamiliar with it. Guess I have something new to learn.

Offline GaryN

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 04:19:37 PM »
The reason is that the Sound app is only useful if your interface allows it. It resets to "full" on boot because that sets the Mac nominal output level for any system audio NOT being routed to the interface. Normally you use an ASIO driver with your DAW or whatever to route signal to the interface without using the Mac system at all.

If, for some reason you're needing to route the Mac System audio - which would include beeps and whistles etc. - to your interface and it's clipping, there should be a "nominal input level" setting in the interface Control Panel or app to set it higher to prevent clipping. If you're lacking any way to do that (what kind of interface is it anyway?), you may have to live with it.

More details are needed for a better answer.

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2018, 04:36:39 PM »
It's a Pro Tools Mix rig.

I also don't think there's a way to route system audio, like alerts, to the built-in audio, and have everything else coming through the interface. I wish there were.

The only reason I'm using my interface for system audio is because I need to get SoundJam MP to play back music through it, for everyday use. SoundJam MP doesn't have an output selector in its preferences, as far as I know. If it did, I could uninstall the digidesign output driver for system audio and let solely SoundJam make use of the interface, and have everything else routed through the built in audio.

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2018, 05:08:50 PM »
Now I'm wondering if an AudioMedia III card would do the same thing... probably not as it uses the same drivers/control panels.

I would be willing to use Applescript, but I'm not advanced enough to write one. When I record the actions on screen, it doesn't record the change in volume. There's gotta be a solution to this...
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 05:28:09 PM by Syntho »

Offline GaryN

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2018, 09:09:39 PM »
It's a Pro Tools Mix rig.

I also don't think there's a way to route system audio, like alerts, to the built-in audio, and have everything else coming through the interface. I wish there were.

The only reason I'm using my interface for system audio is because I need to get SoundJam MP to play back music through it, for everyday use. SoundJam MP doesn't have an output selector in its preferences, as far as I know. If it did, I could uninstall the digidesign output driver for system audio and let solely SoundJam make use of the interface, and have everything else routed through the built in audio.

One thing I notice: You shouldn't have BOTH a "sound" panel and a "Monitors & Sound". the M & S panel is actually an app that replaced "Sound & Displays" as of OS 7.6 BUT…

AFAIK It was later RE-replaced by separate "Sound" and "Monitors" panels in either OS8 or 9.

This may be an uncertainty best answered by MacTron or equivalent. All I know for certain is that I have separate Sound and Monitors panels and I'm not about to do a "new" OS9 install from scratch to see what happens. It is likely however, that your M&S and S panels are butting heads.

Do you have DAE and a DAE control app with a Mix system? That what I was talking about re: "nominal input level" setting in the interface Control Panel . Maybe a resetting of the PT operating levels is called for. OR maybe the M&S panel is causing the S panel to go high as well…

Damn, ain't this fun?

You're right you: 1) Can't get SoundJam audio to go anywhere but to the Mac system and… 2) Need the Sound panel to then route it through the PT interface so… 3) You get ALL the system audio through the interface.

Try disabling the M&S panel and replace it with a separate Monitors panel. Maybe you'll get lucky and the volume will stay put.

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2018, 12:21:06 AM »
I'm running OS8.6 so I don't have the newer Sound control panel. For whatever reason, Digidesign requires the use of the old Sound panel. Let me do some investigation and I'll get back to you...

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2018, 12:54:31 AM »
The OS9 Sound control panel won't work on OS8.6. If I switched to OS9 I could probably get this to work, but I refuse to.

Someone on another forum commented "If it's a problem with the driver not writing out the volume of the device to a preferences file, that might only be something that can be resolved by finding an updated version that (hopefully) solves your troubles."

I wonder if there's a way to hack the preferences file.

Offline GaryN

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2018, 04:55:02 PM »
I'm running OS8.6 so I don't have the newer Sound control panel. For whatever reason, Digidesign requires the use of the old Sound panel. Let me do some investigation and I'll get back to you...
Whatever reason? They don't say why? You still haven't said if you have DAE and a DAE panel.
You really should try removing the combination Monitors and Sound panel.

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2018, 05:29:42 PM »
I thought you were aware that DAE is a requirement for all Digidesign hardware :) No, they don’t say why. They only say that the old one is a requirement for selecting the interface as the output device.

I highly doubt that removing the Monitors and Sound control panel will do anything since the newer one from OS9 won’t work on an 8.6 machine. I did try the new Sound panel from OS9 but its a no go as I said.

Offline GaryN

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2018, 03:08:25 PM »
I thought you were aware that DAE is a requirement for all Digidesign hardware :) No, they don’t say why. They only say that the old one is a requirement for selecting the interface as the output device.
I do not, have never and will never use PT. There are many reasons why and this is just one of the minor ones. I was pretty sure but not 100% certain DAE was required in a Mix system, so I asked. Let me explain my perspective.

I, as you know, use SVP. Instead of DAE, my audio engine is "Acadia". SVP uses the Steinberg ASIO driver. The ASIO driver routes all DAW-controlled, Acadia-generated audio to my interface which happens to be a Delta 1010.

I also have a separate M-Audio control app where I set the preferences and parameters of the 1010. It is there where I set nominal operating levels to match the interface to the computer.

If I had Digi hardware I would send to DAE instead of Acadia and I would expect to see a Digidesign interface control panel instead.  That's why I keep asking about your DAE implementation. Is there not one of those control panels available to you where you can match the system audio level to the interface so that the system audio can run into your interface "wide open" without overloading the interface input? That's how mine works. My sound panel boots the same way - wide open. BUT… I don't get the overload you suffer from.

My point is that "wide open" does not mean "boosted". As with analog volume controls, it simply means there is no attenuation. Just like any fader, the Sound Panel control doesn't turn anything up, it can only turn things down. Wide open is simply normal Macintosh operating level. By that logic, you should not have to turn the system audio down at boot at all - it should feed the interface without distortion and you should be able to adjust the volume in SoundJam as needed. Since this is NOT happening, I'm suspecting there is a very basic level mismatch in your setup between the Mac level and the PT level and the cure is to correct it - not to try to write some Automator routine to repeatedly compensate for what should NOT be there to begin with.

Maybe I'm totally wrong and I shouldn't expect to see that kind of basic co-operative ability from PT. (Insert snarky Digidesign insult here)

If so, I won't be surprised…

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2018, 06:54:25 PM »
The thing about Digidesign and Mix rigs is that it's all made with pros in mind, as in usually running into a mixing board with analog monitor controllers, instead of using a their rig for measly system audio. I think this contributes to my problem. I'm also using an 882/20 interface and maybe that has something to do with it. I think I'll try an 888 interface and see if that has any effect.

If the interface is wide open in the Sound control panel, all I've got to do is turn down Sound Jam and I'm fine. But the problem with that is that other applications will be playing at full blast (system alert noises, etc) and there will be a bit of distortion along with it. The newer Monitors and Sound control panel has no effect on the entire rig at all, it's solely that older Sound control panel that adjusts the master level going to the interface. If the fader in there is at the top, which is its default, I have to be careful and adjust every other program that sends audio to it since when they are at nominal/unity level, it overloads the interface. Let me stress though, system alerts will always be at full blast no matter what, since the Monitors and Sound panel is what should usually control system alert volume, but again it has no effect at all on the alert volume since my interface is tied to the older Sound control panel.

I'm going to do some more investigation. The 882 has 14db of headroom which is locked and can't be changed, but the 888 has physical calibration screws, so maybe I can use one of those and fix things up...

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2018, 07:11:06 PM »
Wait. I just remembered. Switching to an 888 won't do anything I suspect because the issue isn't the physical I/O, it's the internal, digital part of it that's causing a problem. I also just realized that when the volume in the Sound control panel is just a tiny hair below full blast, there is no distortion. But one tiny, tiny smidgen up where it's at unity causes the distortion I speak of. I'm getting like less than a decibel over 0db and that's causing it. I guess these interfaces really mean that when 0 is the limit, 0 is the limit!

Hmm... let me poke around a bit and see what I can come up with.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 07:21:45 PM by Syntho »

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2018, 07:46:16 PM »
My suspicion was right: the 888 still does it. I'm guessing that these things will distort on 0db, no exceptions. This only happens with music that was mastered to reach 0db.

My best bet is to somehow get the Mac to adjust the volume down a tad every time I boot. I'm currently using the Control Strip volume adjuster, which is tied to the old Sound control panel. Sure, i could just adjust the volume every time I boot, but come on... there's gotta be a way to get that damn slider down a notch automatically.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 08:03:32 PM by Syntho »

Offline DieHard

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2018, 08:18:01 PM »
Quote
You're right you: 1) Can't get SoundJam audio to go anywhere but to the Mac system and… 2) Need the Sound panel to then route it through the PT interface so… 3) You get ALL the system audio through the interface

I have been down similar roads with many different DAWs and G3s/G4s and I usually opt to hardware the logic board's audio out with an 1/8" stereo jack to dual 1/4" and connect it into the studio's mixing board via an extra stereo input or aux in.  I then obviously turn off routing system sound to the DAW interface (via whatever software comes with it) and I label the fader on the mixer "mac system sound". 

In your situation, SoundJam is for sure the main problem and it appears you cannot get the system sound levels and Soundjam to be close enough to be workable. 

Would it be ok to abandon system sounds all together (turn off all system audio warnings) and use the Logic board's audio out just for Soundjam ?

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2018, 08:44:52 PM »
It's actually everything in the system that clips, if it's nearing 0db. Quicktime player does it too. The system sounds could also potentially do it, but I don't think they're mastered near 0db.

I can of course just turn down the volume of whichever application is turned all the way up and it would be fine, but since I'm unsure if there will be any other software in the future that I may want to use that has sound, I don't want any surprises if I launch an unknown piece of software just to hear distortion  -afro-

The Sound panel/control strip volume slider is like the master control, and it would just be so much easier to turn that one down a notch automatically so none of the other apps can ever clip. If I can't do that, then I'll just have to tick it down every time I boot up for right now, until someone comes up with a genius solution. Like, oh I dunno, switching to a modern recording setup on OSX...

...pfft like I would do that :-*

PS: why didn't Digidesign just code something in their Sound Output driver that writes and remembered the damn setting in the Sound control panel? The built-in audio slider which appears right next to it remembers it fine after rebooting.

Offline GaryN

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2018, 11:06:09 PM »
The OS9 Sound control panel won't work on OS8.6. If I switched to OS9 I could probably get this to work, but I refuse to.

Someone on another forum commented "If it's a problem with the driver not writing out the volume of the device to a preferences file, that might only be something that can be resolved by finding an updated version that (hopefully) solves your troubles."
So, you won't go to OS9… AND you're getting similar responses elsewhere as well… meanwhile, I found this mentioned in a ProTools Mac FAQ:

Digidesign Sound (control panel) (if applicable/needed - v5.01/OS9 and higher)

That would be the Panel I keep asking about that would fix your "problem" that evidently doesn't exist in 8.6 systems
You're getting clipping at "a hair over 0db because that's what happens with digital signals at 0.1db…they clip…HARD

Go with the Applescript route. If THAT doesn't work, find a copy of Quickeys 4, install it to launch at boot and write an Applescript macro you can trigger IT with… OR JUST

Screw up your eyes real tight, grimace, swear three times, remind yourself "This is the price I pay for being the only guy on Earth using this old shit and insisting on running SoundJam system audio through ProTools" then hold your breath for the entire two seconds it takes to click the Control Strip and nudge the slider down the ONE time at boot.

Because believe it or not, that qualifies as a real and valid solution to your "problem".

Offline Syntho

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Re: Sound control panel Vs. monitors & sound?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2018, 01:59:23 AM »
Just have to learn how to script it with Applescript then.