Maximum/minimum dynamic levels

Since the topic is output levels, I’ll post this question here. I’ve been trying to get a more consistent (less) difference between P and F dynamics by changing the Dynamic curve and Minimum/Maximum dynamic level (in playback options). I’m having trouble figuring out the minimum/maximum dynamic level options. I’ve searched for that term in the online help and I get no results. The text description below that option leaves me a bit confused. I’ve set my curve to 1.0 and the min to -7 and max to 4 and am hearing less differences between p and f than the default (which is what I want) but based on the text I would think setting the min/max to -1, +1 would make more sense. It’s almost like the min dynamic level is having the opposite effect of what I think it should.

Please read the Dorico 5 Version History PDF, specifically page 42. Hopefully that will provide you with the information you need.

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If you only want fff>ppp ( which is plenty TBH) set it to 3 and -3. Then play with the dynamic curves. They tend to make changes more extreme at the ends ( very quite and very loud ) but make the middle far less . I’ve found with the new ability to have ppp and fff fixed I don’t need to play with the curve at all. Only some stubborn samples now need tweaking, but 90% are default 1;1



Besides the regular help I was looking at the 5.0 version history. That’s why I didn’t find anything. I’m afraid the 5.0.1 pdf still leaves me confused. If the numbers are set to -6 & 6 it ranges from pppppp to ffffff. When I set it to -2, 2 I expected it to be pp to ff but upon playback the soft passages (marked p) were barely audible. When I set it to -7 and 4 then the soft was more mp and the loud was forte. That’s the opposite of what I understand the documentation to say. (Using HSSE+HSE+GASE or HSSE+HSE playback with dynamic curve at 1).

It doesn’t quite work the way you’re expecting. What you are setting are the written dynamic values that are assigned to the extremes of the MIDI dynamic range. You aren’t saying “make the dynamics less extreme”, you’re saying “these are the dynamics I want to use for my extremes”. If you use the default of -6/+6, then pppppp will be MIDI velocity (or CC) 0 and ffffff will be MIDI value 127, while if you use -3/+3, then ppp will be 0 and fff will be 127.

(If you are going to reduce the values here - if you are going to use something like -3/+3 instead of -6/+6 - then you probably also want to reduce the power curve along with it, to give you a more linear curve.)

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Thank you Richard. I’m going to have to wrap my head around this before I completely figure it out. I’ve found that -7,4 with 1.0 for the dynamic curve gives me a P that is not too soft (where -3 makes it way too soft) and an F that is relatively loud. (The Baroque music I was experimenting with this has P for its softest volume and F for its loudest. I do want a difference, but not night and day).

I think the trick here is that the actual POSSIBLE dynamic range is not going to change. Dorico will always allow for an extreme extra quiet and an extreme extra loud dynamic.

The question is how quickly you want to reach those extremes. Truncating the range of written dynamic response (min and max) means that you’re going to achieve those extremes quicker.

It sounds to me like what you might actually want is to keep the default values of -6,6, and just adjust the power curve. Looking at the graphic, you can see how by default, it swoops up through the middle, while a “1” value goes through it with a straight line. You might want to consider even doing a negative value? I think that would make the middle dynamics more “flat” (more gradual change) and make the extremes flare out much faster - which won’t affect you at all as you won’t be touching them anyways.

Ultimately it depends both on the sample library and on the dynamic limits of the material. The problem some people have had with our defaults - dynamic limits of +/-6 and a power curve of 2.5 - is that while the dynamic gradient is fairly flat right in the middle of the range it’s also quite steep, and some libraries work best with a shallower progression that’s flat across the whole usable dynamic range. I can imagine the values that James suggests working quite well for some situations.