The difference between Volume and Gain, and ”loudness” overall (Audio Engineering)

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The difference between Volume and Gain, and ”loudness” overall (Audio Engineering)

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Anonymous 0 Comments

Difference Between Gain vs. Volume. Gain is the input level within the amps; volume is the output level that goes to the speaker. Gain allows adjusting the tone of an audio track, whereas volume affects its loudness only.

so think of it like this…you have a speaker connected to your computer. The speaker has a volume control…your computer also has a volume control which in this case will be your GAIN…if your gain is low and you turn up the volume on the speakers they wont get loud unless the gain is turned up.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Difference Between Gain vs. Volume. Gain is the input level within the amps; volume is the output level that goes to the speaker. Gain allows adjusting the tone of an audio track, whereas volume affects its loudness only.

so think of it like this…you have a speaker connected to your computer. The speaker has a volume control…your computer also has a volume control which in this case will be your GAIN…if your gain is low and you turn up the volume on the speakers they wont get loud unless the gain is turned up.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You can imagine most audio amplification as occurring not in one leap but in a series of stair steps.

Microphones and turntables produce a very low voltage signal. They require boosting to a medium voltage signal called “line level” that is still too low to drive a speaker but is equivalent to what electronic sources like CD players, synthesizers, audio players, etc. produce. That initial step from a very low input to line level is often called “gain.” On recording gear it is typically variable and has its own knob, since different signals require different amounts of boost to get to line level. Confusingly, this “gain” stage is also sometimes called “mic preamp” or “phono preamp” which can be confusing since there is another preamp stage we will hear about next.

Line level signal is not enough to make any sound come out of a speaker. To get there you need to further amplify it to a much more powerful “speaker level.” This second stair step typically has two parts that happen in sequence. First, it goes through something called a preamp (not to be confused with the mic or phono preamps described above), which applies volume control to the line level signal. Second it goes through something called a power amplifier stage, which typically takes whatever line level signal it is given and boosts it by a fixed amount. To be clear the amount varies per power amplifier but for a given power amplifier that amount always remains the same. When you see a knob labeled “volume” it is adjusting the amount that the preamp is attenuating or boosting the line level signal before it is fed to the power amp.

Then, the power amp sends this now-much-higher speaker level signal to the speakers, which makes them move and produce sound waves that travel through the air to your ears. How loud this sounds is measured in decibels and will vary based on a combination. of all of these things:

1. The initial low level signal (if the sound is coming from a low level source like a mic or turntable)
2. The amount of gain applied to that by the mic or phono preamp (ditto)
3. The position of the volume control on the preamp
4. The fixed amount of boost provided by the power amp
5. The sensitivity of the speakers (they can produce more or less sound with the same signal depending on their design)
6. The distance of your ears from the speaker
7. How much reverberance happens in the room (more reverberance will mean more sound hits your ears)

Now the terms “gain” and “volume” are sometimes used in other contexts but in general the overall rule holds that in a given system the chain is input -> gain control -> volume control -> output. Not all systems have a gain control because not all systems are designed to handle low level or highly variable input, so some just have input -> volume control -> output.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You can imagine most audio amplification as occurring not in one leap but in a series of stair steps.

Microphones and turntables produce a very low voltage signal. They require boosting to a medium voltage signal called “line level” that is still too low to drive a speaker but is equivalent to what electronic sources like CD players, synthesizers, audio players, etc. produce. That initial step from a very low input to line level is often called “gain.” On recording gear it is typically variable and has its own knob, since different signals require different amounts of boost to get to line level. Confusingly, this “gain” stage is also sometimes called “mic preamp” or “phono preamp” which can be confusing since there is another preamp stage we will hear about next.

Line level signal is not enough to make any sound come out of a speaker. To get there you need to further amplify it to a much more powerful “speaker level.” This second stair step typically has two parts that happen in sequence. First, it goes through something called a preamp (not to be confused with the mic or phono preamps described above), which applies volume control to the line level signal. Second it goes through something called a power amplifier stage, which typically takes whatever line level signal it is given and boosts it by a fixed amount. To be clear the amount varies per power amplifier but for a given power amplifier that amount always remains the same. When you see a knob labeled “volume” it is adjusting the amount that the preamp is attenuating or boosting the line level signal before it is fed to the power amp.

Then, the power amp sends this now-much-higher speaker level signal to the speakers, which makes them move and produce sound waves that travel through the air to your ears. How loud this sounds is measured in decibels and will vary based on a combination. of all of these things:

1. The initial low level signal (if the sound is coming from a low level source like a mic or turntable)
2. The amount of gain applied to that by the mic or phono preamp (ditto)
3. The position of the volume control on the preamp
4. The fixed amount of boost provided by the power amp
5. The sensitivity of the speakers (they can produce more or less sound with the same signal depending on their design)
6. The distance of your ears from the speaker
7. How much reverberance happens in the room (more reverberance will mean more sound hits your ears)

Now the terms “gain” and “volume” are sometimes used in other contexts but in general the overall rule holds that in a given system the chain is input -> gain control -> volume control -> output. Not all systems have a gain control because not all systems are designed to handle low level or highly variable input, so some just have input -> volume control -> output.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Edit- Wrote this whole damn post then noticed the subreddit I’m in! Ignore this post if you like. Might leave it here just in case someone is curious.

Good posts already but just wanna point out they can mean different things in different contexts.

If you’re an electrical engineer designing some kind of audio hardware, gain is a description of what the particular circuit/circuit fragment you’re talking about does to the signal it is passing, amplitude-wise.

Does the input buffer lose a little bit of high end but otherwise the amplitude is untouched? The gain of the imput buffer is probably 0.95 or something

Is there a fixed gain stage to bring the signal back up a bit after a the losses in a filtering section? It might be designed to have gain of 1.2

Anonymous 0 Comments

Edit- Wrote this whole damn post then noticed the subreddit I’m in! Ignore this post if you like. Might leave it here just in case someone is curious.

Good posts already but just wanna point out they can mean different things in different contexts.

If you’re an electrical engineer designing some kind of audio hardware, gain is a description of what the particular circuit/circuit fragment you’re talking about does to the signal it is passing, amplitude-wise.

Does the input buffer lose a little bit of high end but otherwise the amplitude is untouched? The gain of the imput buffer is probably 0.95 or something

Is there a fixed gain stage to bring the signal back up a bit after a the losses in a filtering section? It might be designed to have gain of 1.2

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gain is how much amplification is done to the incoming signal.

Volume control usually is actually how much attenuation is done to the outgoing signal, where max volume (if unity) is simply no reduction.

Most home speaker amplifiers have a gain of around 29dB (standard set by THX). 2Vrms is a standard output for unbalance (RCA), which is 0.5W (into 8ohm), so a standard +29dB amp should turn that into ~56Vrms which is ~390W, but now that obviously isn’t what most amps are capable of due to limitations of internal components, but that’s around the max possible wattage unless the gain is higher (for balanced audio the standard is 4Vrms, which after 29dB of a gain is ~113Vrms or ~1.6kW). Some amps choose to have a lower gain in order to have lower levels of distortion & noise, but then the max wattage is lower per input voltage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Gain is how much amplification is done to the incoming signal.

Volume control usually is actually how much attenuation is done to the outgoing signal, where max volume (if unity) is simply no reduction.

Most home speaker amplifiers have a gain of around 29dB (standard set by THX). 2Vrms is a standard output for unbalance (RCA), which is 0.5W (into 8ohm), so a standard +29dB amp should turn that into ~56Vrms which is ~390W, but now that obviously isn’t what most amps are capable of due to limitations of internal components, but that’s around the max possible wattage unless the gain is higher (for balanced audio the standard is 4Vrms, which after 29dB of a gain is ~113Vrms or ~1.6kW). Some amps choose to have a lower gain in order to have lower levels of distortion & noise, but then the max wattage is lower per input voltage.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I only know this in the context of running wireless microphones, not normal audio engineering, and this is going to be very ELI5. Turning up the gain on a microphone will make it “capture more sound” while turning up the volume will make that sound louder. Turning up the gain is sometimes necessary for quiet talkers but too much and it gives you feedback and picks up excess sounds.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I only know this in the context of running wireless microphones, not normal audio engineering, and this is going to be very ELI5. Turning up the gain on a microphone will make it “capture more sound” while turning up the volume will make that sound louder. Turning up the gain is sometimes necessary for quiet talkers but too much and it gives you feedback and picks up excess sounds.