Balancing levels to FoH

The tip is to use a synth plugin to send out white/pink noise at 0dB to all audio outputs.
When FoH is ready, just turn that on, tell FoH to adjust input attenuation and faders appropriately and you’re done with sound check.

What synth plugins can you use for this purpose? Examples are the Legend:

or Melda’s MNoiseGenerator. Many other synth plugins (free and paid) have white/colored noise generators in them.

The only thing you need to be careful about is ramping up to 0dB slowly, warning the FoH. If they have turned on stage monitors and then you blast out white noise at 0dB, it could be really loud.



For those who prefer austerity or simplicity, W-Noize is a one-button plugin that only knows how to make one thing: a smooth white noise :wink:
Of course, it is free



Perhaps too austere :slight_smile: You generally want to use pink noise, not white noise for this task

Here’s one that produces pink noise, also free.

Unfortunately it is not quite as austere — it has two knobs :slight_smile:



David wrote some backround on this on Facebook, so I’ll copy it.

The background to this one is kinda interesting. I normally use four controllers but the actual number of sounds can of course be far more due to splits, layering, changes while playing etc., and of course the sounds aren’t coming from those controllers. However, whenever I would show up at a venue where they insisted on using their own house engineer (sigh), the first thing they’d tell me was to “play each keyboard”. I would then have to waste time explaining (often unsuccessfully) that there was no correlation between the keyboards and the actual sounds.

Eventually, I came up with this pink noise generation and I just tell FOH that I’m sending pink noise on all channels at 0dB and he/she should just adjust input attenuation so that the mixer shows the right levels. This way, the sound engineer is able to do a line check, set all the input attenuation values and even EQ you in a few minutes without your having to even play any notes, never mind trying to explain how your system works.

Shortest sound check of the band…every time!

Note for The Legend users: the first post in the thread is updated with a new screenshot to see how it should be configured.

The Legend is also mentioned in this blog article and in this blog article.


I found this “shortcut” for doing a sound check to be perfect.

I installed Pink in the global rackspace but as the noise level value displayed in the widget is not in dB (a common problem with plugins) I adjusted the curve of the widget so that it is at 0dB when set to maximum. The master level being at 0dB.

I guess this is a correct setting to do a sound check?

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I love this idea and I’m going to use it!

A few questions. If you’re sending out noise at 0dB, does that mean the peak level is 0dB (meaning that you’re giving the sound tech your loudest possible peaks) or is that the RMS level (meaning that you are giving them your maximum possible average loudness level)?

And if they’ve set the levels based on your loudest possible sound, does that mean that if you ever want to play at that loudness level you’ll have to crank your output up to 0dB? If that’s the RMS level then would your peaks be clipping?

What is your usual output level when you’re playing loud (e.g. a keyboard solo), and what’s your usual output when you’re playing quietly (e.g. background pads)?

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I believe that @dhj can give you the most precise answer :slight_smile:

I don’t really do “precise” on this stuff — I’m not into the “get it exact in terms of dB numbers”

Basically, I send out pink noise with no added or reduced gain (hence 0dB at my end) — front of house measures it (it’s their choice whether to measure as peak or RMS, but I would think they are measuring RMS)

I then make sure that none of my actual sounds get louder than that maximum and that’s it!

I don’t measure output levels when I’m playing loud vs soft - that’s too dependent on the sound. Basically, I LISTEN to what I’m playing and just make it fit with the rest of the band.