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Author Topic: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?  (Read 13763 times)

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Offline vanark

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Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« on: September 28, 2007, 06:34:46 PM »
Per the FAQ,

Quote
12) What line-in level is optimal? According to messages, such as this one, level setting 8: http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=68518.msg947298#msg947298

But, I've also seen others, like guysonic and SunWizard, suggest it is not 8.

I wrote to Roland today and got a response.  I actually think the answer doesn't really address the issue, but maybe someone can interpret it.

================================
Question: I'm trying to determine what gain setting to use (0-30) on the R-09 if I want my mic preamp (line-in) to handle the attenuation/amplification fully rather than the R-09. I've heard some say 8 and others say 17. I sure would appreciate the experts telling me which is actually is.  Thanks! 

Answer from Roland Support:
0dBu is the default input level setting on the R-09--this is also number 13 for the input level. You can use this as a template to set your volume levels.
================================

So, does that mean 13 is unity gain?
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Offline vanark

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2007, 06:44:16 PM »
Okay, I called Roland to be sure I was understanding the answer.  The the mic gain switch on the back on the low setting, 13 on the input level is no gain - the nominal value.  Now I guess we can discuss if the answer is correct.  ;D
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2007, 07:52:04 PM »
13 doesn't sound very lucky.   If you run the r09 at 13, I'll bet the input jack would break. Why not compromise at 11?

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2007, 07:52:47 PM »
Some say that 13 is the correct value for Hi-MD recorders, which are also scaled 0 - 30 (or 1 - 30, can't quite remember)  - for what it's worth.  That's certainly the figure which should never be gone below as that would imply distortion at the mic preamp.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2007, 09:56:27 PM »
Does the FAQ need to be updated?
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Offline udovdh

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2007, 06:17:52 AM »
If level 13 is 0dbU for mic in (low sens) and also the unit gain setting, then I can say:

According to my estimates, 17 on on the line in dial is the unity gain position for line in. (linear scale from -13 to 16 dBu (plus mute for level 0))

So: is the scale indead linearly distributed?

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2007, 08:48:30 AM »
Roland said 13 on line-in. They were quite firm on this.  I didn't ask about the scale distribution.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2007, 12:00:41 PM »
Roland said 13 on line-in. They were quite firm on this.  I didn't ask about the scale distribution.

I am happy to update the FAQ once it is confirmed in independent tests that this value is correct.

Someone else measuring said it was 11 then this was disproved after tons of discussion.  All in all, this unity thing is a mess :).

If a sound engineer could weigh in and give us some real world tests to confirm?

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2007, 04:35:02 PM »
I've been operating at 8 all the while.  Everything has been fine.  I too would like to know what unity is. 

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2007, 08:08:02 PM »
Quote
I too would like to know what unity is.

Ditto.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2007, 08:09:10 PM »
I'd like to know what setting it sounds best at.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2007, 08:15:24 PM »
Quote
I too would like to know what unity is.

Ditto.

Roland/Edirol themselves said it was 13.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2007, 12:00:51 AM »
Its a few weeks off, but I can run both of my R-09's at a "stand taping show" on November 2nd by splitting the signal out of my pre-amp.... if nothing comes out by then

Offline lbgspam

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2007, 02:26:41 AM »
This guys said unity measured was 8.

However, it was later disproved...

http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,68518.msg947298.html#msg947298

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2007, 11:00:39 AM »
When recording live rock music I have found that since I  need to set the Mic Gain switch to LOW, I need to set the level closer to 24.

I use two AKG C1000S (each is a cardiod mic that provides it's own power via a 9v  battery) and plug into the MIC In port.  Though I assume this unity setting doesn't apply to Mic in taping...


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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2007, 11:26:17 AM »
When recording live rock music I have found that since I  need to set the Mic Gain switch to LOW, I need to set the level closer to 24.

I use two AKG C1000S (each is a cardiod mic that provides it's own power via a 9v  battery) and plug into the MIC In port.  Though I assume this unity setting doesn't apply to Mic in taping...



If you really want to know or confirm, I suggest you contact Roland directly.  They picked up the phone within 30 secs when I called on Friday.  Or submit an email request.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2007, 05:23:49 PM »
No, I actually don't care as for my usage, unity-shmootity, it still sounds great to my ears my recordings.    ;D

I just want someone to confirm this with real test equipment before I add it to the R-09 FAQ as gospel -- I try to keep all the info there accurate. How many times have we all seen manufacturers lie/fib about things?  For example, people reported that the volts supplied from the r-09 to mics is different from the specs (see FAQ).

I think GuySonic will likely be able to weigh in effectively here.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2007, 05:34:14 PM »
Should the FAQ be updated to at least indicate that unity may not be 8?  Wasn't there already some issue about that?  You've even linked to a thread where you say it was disproved by someone.

As I said in my initial posts, "we can discuss if the answer is correct."  :-\

As a new R-09 user, I've found the lack of clarity on this issue quite confusing.  Thus, why I contacted Roland.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2007, 10:01:27 PM »
IMHO, an * or some reference point needs to be in the FAQ until this is tested and proven

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2007, 10:03:27 PM »
IMHO, an * or some reference point needs to be in the FAQ until this is tested and proven

We should hold a vote - blast it into space or burn an asterisk on it?

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2007, 10:12:41 PM »
IMHO, an * or some reference point needs to be in the FAQ until this is tested and proven
We should hold a vote - blast it into space or burn an asterisk on it?

was curious how that comment would fly  :angel:

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2007, 12:18:50 PM »


You can't argue with this 'Unity"! :D


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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2007, 01:47:22 PM »
I noticed this, looking through the R-09 specs:

Quote
Nominal Input Level (Variable) Mic Input: -36 dBu (Default input level), Line Input: 0 dBu (Default input level)

So what is the default input level? I'm assuming it is the input level set when you first power on the device. Anyone remember what that is, or could reset the R-09 to determine?

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2007, 03:35:32 PM »
I noticed this, looking through the R-09 specs:

Quote
Nominal Input Level (Variable) Mic Input: -36 dBu (Default input level), Line Input: 0 dBu (Default input level)

So what is the default input level? I'm assuming it is the input level set when you first power on the device. Anyone remember what that is, or could reset the R-09 to determine?
yes, "13" is default setting after powering on the device for the very 1st time.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2007, 08:32:09 PM »
I added a note in the FAQ as well as a link to this thread. 


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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2007, 09:26:24 PM »
I also asked Roland, and got the following answer:

Quote
Unity is approximately (it is not published) an input level of 8 in the Low Gain setting.

And

Quote
Unity gain on the line-in is an input level setting of 13 on the rear panel's low gain setting.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2007, 05:33:57 AM »
there is no switchable hi/lo for the line-in gain. wtf??

That's what I thought.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2007, 11:43:45 AM »
there is no switchable hi/lo for the line-in gain. wtf??

That's what I thought.

And when I asked them to clarify:

Quote
Benjamin,

It looks like you got answers from two different people. Both answers are speculations as we do not have an official specification from the Edirol engineers. There is however an independent website that has done testing of their own.

www.sonicstudios.com/r-09revw.htm

So now it is a total WTF as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2007, 11:49:40 AM »
Yikes!  Next thing we know they'll be sending a link to this thread. 

How about they just go ask an engineer?  It is a pretty reasonable question and deserves more than "speculation".
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2007, 12:09:07 PM »
Yikes!  Next thing we know they'll be sending a link to this thread. 

How about they just go ask an engineer?  It is a pretty reasonable question and deserves more than "speculation".

But isn't it really about what sounds best - with your gear, not mine..  And not what someone (who doesn't even record!) tells you?

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2007, 01:38:04 PM »
Yikes!  Next thing we know they'll be sending a link to this thread. 

How about they just go ask an engineer?  It is a pretty reasonable question and deserves more than "speculation".

But isn't it really about what sounds best - with your gear, not mine..  And not what someone (who doesn't even record!) tells you?


Sort of, but if technically your external preamp is less noisy than the internal preamp, I'd prefer to use the external preamp for amplification rather than rely on my ears to tell me which sounds "better".

But, you are right - if you are happy with the settings you use, go for it.  That is what matters.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2007, 06:31:41 AM »
I think we need to ask GuySonic if he can do the testing on the unit... I pmed him to check this thread.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2007, 10:06:06 AM »
There's definitely more high tech ways to look at this but a while back I was trying to figure out on a minidisc player, what is zero gain setting on a scale of 0-30.  So I found a 0dB white noise sample on the internet, burned it to a cd and fed it line out from the cd player to the md.  Turned out 15 didn't light up the peak meter but 16 did so I figured 15 was the setting for unity gain.  Kinda low tech but anyone can do it.



I think we need to ask GuySonic if he can do the testing on the unit... I pmed him to check this thread.
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Offline Eigenklang

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2007, 03:06:17 PM »
Hi there!

Did I understand that right, you want to find out which preamp-setting on the R-09 is required to obtain 0dBu on the recording when adding 0dBu (= 775 mV) to the line-in?

I measured that by using my sine generator and audio-millivoltmeter. I bought my R-09 about two weeks ago; it was delivered with firmware V 1.20 and upgraded to V1.30.

--------

Settings:
-Sine generator: 1 kHz sine wave, Outputlevel 0 dBu / 775 mV

-Millivoltmeter: Scale set to 0dBu @ 775 mV

-R-09: ADC set to 24 Bit / 48 kHz   |   Rec Monitor Sw [on]

--------

Setup:
Sine generator > R-09 [LINE IN]
&
R-09 [PHONES] > millivoltmeter

--------

Procedure:
The sine generator was plugged to the [LINE IN] jack of the R-09. Unit was switched to [REC PAUSE]; input level was increased from [ 0 ] until the level indicators on the R-09 reached 0 dB which was at [18]. The Scale here is 1 dB / step.

Then the millivoltmeter was plugged to the [PHONES] jack and the output volume of the R-09 was increased from [ 0 ] until the millivoltmeter showed 0 dBu / 775 mV. That was at [98] ; the scale is 0,5 dB / step. (Just in case someone wants to use that jack as a line-level output).

--------

So, in my opinion the "unity gain" setting is [18]...
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 03:09:06 PM by Eigenklang »

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2007, 03:25:36 PM »
18! - a new contender...interesting.

With such disparity between the various opinions as to the unity gain setting...shouldn't it be somewhat obvious to the ear? If your adding gain...it will be louder?

If you feed an R9 an line level wav file shouldn't the files be identical gain wise when viewed in an editor...?

Offline Eigenklang

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2007, 04:49:49 PM »
If you feed an R9 an line level wav file shouldn't the files be identical gain wise when viewed in an editor...?

Okay, lets try it:
I created following files using Audacity [File format 24 Bit / 48 kHz WAV]:

A) 1 kHz Sine, volume setting 1 (highest possible Volume in Audacity)
B) 1 kHz Sine as A, then decreased by adding amplification of -3 dB
C) 1 kHz Sine as A, then decreased by adding amplification of -6 dB
D) 1 kHz Sine as A, then decreased by adding amplification of -12 dB

Then I transferred these files to my R-09. All settings on the R-09 and test equipment were exactly the same as in my first post.

First step after that was controlling the level meter on the R-09's display by playing back the files:
A) showed a clipped signal
B) showed -3 dB
C) showed -6 dB
D) showed -12 dB

After that The output level on the "calibrated" [98] PHONES output was measured in dB:

A) +0,5 dBu
B) -2,4 dBu
C) -5,4 dBu
D) -11,4 dBu


---> with input Level [18] using LINE IN jack we are as close as possible to the one and only existing "unity gain" setting, because by recording  1 kHz / 775 mV at [18] and playing back with [98] we get nearly the same level on all equipment (R-09 meters, millivoltmeter and audio software) as we get it with created files (within 0,6 dB... at least!).

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2007, 05:06:16 PM »

---> with input Level [18] using LINE IN jack we are as close as possible to the one and only existing "unity gain" setting, because by recording  1 kHz / 775 mV at [18] and playing back with [98] we get nearly the same level on all equipment (R-09 meters, millivoltmeter and audio software) as we get it with created files (within 0,6 dB... at least!).

That seems to get to the heart of the matter.

Is it possible this setting might be varying from one firmware revision to another? Perhaps everybody is right!

Offline Eigenklang

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2007, 05:30:21 PM »
Yes, that might be possible, because the level controls are programmable. Is there a way to downgrade from V1.30 to an earlier version?

Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2007, 05:32:01 PM »
Which setting sounds best?

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Offline digifish_music

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #39 on: October 17, 2007, 09:11:19 AM »
Which setting sounds best?


When it is connected to a Sound Devices MixPre :)

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Offline edtyre

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #40 on: October 17, 2007, 09:45:27 AM »
Just ran my R-09 with my NBOX+ (20 db fixed gain) for
Phil & Friends from the 5th row on #1 (of 30) and the recording
sounds fine.
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #41 on: October 17, 2007, 10:10:32 AM »
Running at trim 1 does have the risk of being one click away from mute... but the much bigger concern is the potential distortion on heavy bass. Just play back a bass-heavy show directly into the r09 at trim 1 and you will  hear it distort before clipping (at least mine does). It only takes a minute to plug the r09 into a stereo and try it. I've experienced it in the field running mk21 > v3 > r09 and mk21 > rmod > r09.  It doesn't take crazy heavy bass either.

I'd guess the attenuation on the r09 is digital and it mangles some low freq waveforms.  With a fixed 20dB pre, I'd suggest an attenuator so you can run at trim 8 or above.

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #42 on: October 17, 2007, 11:16:47 AM »
Running at trim 1 does have the risk of being one click away from mute... but the much bigger concern is the potential distortion on heavy bass. Just play back a bass-heavy show directly into the r09 at trim 1 and you will  hear it distort before clipping (at least mine does). It only takes a minute to plug the r09 into a stereo and try it. I've experienced it in the field running mk21 > v3 > r09 and mk21 > rmod > r09.  It doesn't take crazy heavy bass either.

I'd guess the attenuation on the r09 is digital and it mangles some low freq waveforms.  With a fixed 20dB pre, I'd suggest an attenuator so you can run at trim 8 or above.


You are exactly right about the bass distortion at lower settings on the R-09. My post above was
really to state that a good recording can be made at lower levels (if you HAVE to) in my case
i forgot my cable to my MR-1 and was lucky to have my R-09 as a back-up.

Adding some attenuators to my bag is a pretty good idea. A few months ago at a ZZ Top
gen adm concert i had to keep taking steps backwards to finally get my levels right on the R-09
at trim 1 and i did get that bass distortion you mentioned.
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Offline echo1434

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2007, 11:18:06 AM »
yes, "13" is default setting after powering on the device for the very 1st time.

Yes, that's true. Also, "13" provides a line-in level that is similar to most high-end sound cards at their default settings, give or take a couple decibels.

Don't know if that helps provide any clues...
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 11:20:44 AM by echo1434 »

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2007, 11:26:33 PM »
yes, "13" is default setting after powering on the device for the very 1st time.

Yes, that's true. Also, "13" provides a line-in level that is similar to most high-end sound cards at their default settings, give or take a couple decibels.

Don't know if that helps provide any clues...


But...but...but... 13's an unlucky number. I wouldn't possibly be comfortable taping at 13.
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Offline echo1434

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #45 on: November 20, 2007, 11:41:13 PM »
But...but...but... 13's an unlucky number. I wouldn't possibly be comfortable taping at 13.

Yeah, it's one heck of a choice to make that the default. It just doesn't sound like a "normal" setting. Something even like 12 would have been a lot better...

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2008, 03:59:48 AM »
Ok, so let's say that you use "13" (or something very close) as your base setting on the Edirol. I know that if you set the Edirol the 23, it's going to have 10 db more self-noise than if you use 13.

23 is a pretty typical setting for me when using DPA 4061s > battery box > R-09.

So let's say you set the Edirol at 13 and then add 10 dB of gain with an external preamp... About how much noise will this add the signal?

I'm just wondering how beneficial having a preamp is when you consider that the base setting on the Edirol has to be somewhat high in the first place...
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 04:02:20 AM by echo1434 »

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2008, 09:49:36 AM »
Ok, so let's say that you use "13" (or something very close) as your base setting on the Edirol. I know that if you set the Edirol the 23, it's going to have 10 db more self-noise than if you use 13.

23 is a pretty typical setting for me when using DPA 4061s > battery box > R-09.

So let's say you set the Edirol at 13 and then add 10 dB of gain with an external preamp... About how much noise will this add the signal?

Totally depends on how quiet your external preamp is.

Quote
I'm just wondering how beneficial having a preamp is when you consider that the base setting on the Edirol has to be somewhat high in the first place...

One (perhaps the primary) benefit of the external preamp is that you can make most or all of the needed gain using the external preamp and NOT the preamp in the recorder.  That means you can set your 'base setting' on the Edirol lower.. the more gain you make with the external preamp, the lower you can set the gain on the recorder.  If taken to the extreme you'll need to turn the recorder's gain way down to level 1, which as mentioned may produce problems other than noise amplification (like bass overloading due to the R-09's digital attenuation, loss of headroom in the external preamp). Just find the sweet spot.

FWIW, when running DPA 4060>MMA6000>R-09  I aim for keeping the recorder around 15 and typically run the MMA6000 anywhere from +7.5 (louder amplified stuff) to +20 db (soft acoustic material).  I can then bump the gain on the R-09 up or down a few dB's if needed.
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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #48 on: September 28, 2009, 03:43:01 PM »
If you really want to know or confirm, I suggest you contact Roland directly.  They picked up the phone within 30 secs when I called on Friday.  Or submit an email request.

Digital Recorders and Mixers: 323-890-3741

http://backstage.rolandus.com/email_support/

sorry to bump an old thread, but i have been very curious about the "unity gain" on my r-09 lately...

i realize that we have had lots of differences of opinions here and so i decided to call the support number above to see if 2 years later, someone there now has an answer.

sad to report that the guy i spoke with does not have an answer and was actually very condescending on the phone when i was speaking with him.  Saying things like "have you even used this thing" ???

His solution was to use the preamp meter and match it to the r-09 meter and when they were the same then I was not adding gain ??? ... not quite sure that is a real solution, but whatever... 

fwiw, i asked if there was a set number or range where the line in signal was attenuated or if it was all gain.  He stated it was all gain.  I asked what about the 0 which was a "mute" function, and that was when i was told "its real easy, just match the meters".

kinda disappointed in the level of service, but maybe he was having a bad day or possibly really didnt know his shit.
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Offline it-goes-to-eleven

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #49 on: September 28, 2009, 05:27:56 PM »
What you were asking was a somewhat subtle concept.. And it is on a slippery slope to admitting that the r09 and r09hr distort signals way before clipping.

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Offline udovdh

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Re: Edirol R-09 - what is the real unity gain setting?
« Reply #50 on: October 04, 2009, 07:16:17 AM »
0 dbU is the nominal input level.
Why do people deviate from this?
Why do people even question this?
We already had some discussion about this very subject.

 

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