Correct gain staging of patches


I am curious to know if I am doing something wrong here. When creating my own patches on the UDO Super 6, this is how I generally approach the gain staging:

  • Set Master volume to: 0dB
  • Set VCF drive
  • Set VCA dynamics
  • Set VCA envelope
  • Set VCA ENV level to achieve desired amplitude (usually between 0-4dB)

Using this approach I am able to create patches that are loud enough, with the noise floor being around -88dB, and more importantly the consistent enough between my various patches (rarely do I need to adjust the master volume if I have set the right VCA ENV level).

However it seems the factory patches take a different approach (they are much quieter than my own), even those in the recently released UDO Patch Pack. In order to achieve decent volumes, I find I have to raise the Master volume to full (6dB), or adjust the VCA ENV level per patch, but not both obviously as this would lead to clipping. Raising the Master volume lifts the noise floor to -70dB, still within the acceptable range, but this seems sub-optimal.

Am I doing something wrong here? I don’t think so according to my own logic and hearing. My patches sound great. Are the factory patches intentionally saved in this way? This seems weird to me, when compared to most other synths I am using.

(Note: I am using unbalanced cables, into the unbalanced inputs on my RME Babyface Pro FS, -10dbV, no extra gain added to the input - This seems to be right).

Hoping someone can reassure me, or give some advice.


Same here in my setup. I prefer to raise the VCA. As you mention the master volume raises the noise floor. Or you could add gain on your inputs for the audio interface (added 3dB on mine).
As a comparison my Nord Piano, which also has unbalanced outputs, actually needs more gain adjustment on my audio interface.

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I do it the same way too. Not sure about the old and new factory patches, but over the last year, two of the new firmware releases have upped the gain by 6dB, so the synth now has the possibility to be 12dB louder than a year ago, that’s a huge increase. Quite how they managed this, or how it might affect the gain staging, or older patches loaded into the newer OS, I don’t know, but it could be a factor in why some patches sound too loud (distorting) or too quiet. I know some of the fave patches I created a year ago now sound totally different from how they used to, distortion where there was none before, etc.


Thanks @trond.olsen @HermetechMastering. My confidence is restored :sunglasses:

The changes in the firmware seem to have left the factory presets sounding rather quiet. I assume they are left this way so that users with older firmware don’t get any nasty surprises. In my case, it provides somewhat of an underwhelming experience, at least out of the box without tweaking the VCA/Master volume. Anyway, I guess this serves as a good incentive to continue creating my own patches, as to be honest, it is quite easy to make this synth sound gorgeous :yum: