Once and for all: The Clean Sense Setting (a different approach)

  • Hey guys,


    since there are still a lot of "Setting Clean Sense" threads popping up, I thought I could share my approach to set it. I think the "official" way of strumming very hard and looking at the input LED works, but I get that it leaves people in doubt if they have really set it correctly.


    Here's how I do it:


    1. Connect your KPA to your DAW


    2. load a good RMS meter (peak metering won't help you, because the clean sounds are too dynamic)


    3. Load any rig that you like and set the gain to the maximum value


    4. Strum hard and memorize the value on the RMS meter


    5. Turn the gain all the way down. Strum hard and set Clean Sense in a way that the RMS meter reads the same value.


    You can also do the balancing by ear, but the RMS meter is probably the better choice.


    Clean Sense (as ck stated) "takes care about the loudness of clean sounds while not altering distorted sounds"


    So to set it right you should set it in a way, that the clean sounds are exactly as loud as the distorted sounds. You could do this by using two different rigs (one clean and one distorted) but turning the gain knob makes more sense to me.

  • That may or may not make them sound like the same volume - a clean version of a rig is likely to have different attack and sustain characteristics than a version with the gain maxed out.


    But, if it works for you better than other ways of doing it, that is what is important :)


    +1.
    Ears are much more sensitive and much better suited to evaluate loudness than a level meter.
    IMO, YMMV. ;)

  • What has worked exceptionally well for me is more of the reamp approach. I look at the straight git signal out over spdif (the truest representation of clean sens gain) and using clean sens gain I get that as hot as I can while still well below any hard clipping - also look at the input LED during this process. I do this for each general "hotness" class of pickup I have on all my various guitars and save each setup as an input profile. They even talk about this in the reamping section as getting the clean sens gain right with each pickup is absolutely critical to reamping success.

  • That approach would never work for me.


    My sound level at lower gain is always lower than my sound level at max gain no matter what the clean sense is set for. On my KPA, the higher the gain setting the louder the output. Clean sense adjusts this a little but still will never allow low gain and high gain to sound level.


    I finally gave up trying to balance the output level and just set the clean sense to where I though the clean signal sounded good.

  • I think the best way to balance the clean/drive volume is to simply record your tones and put them into a complete mix without guitars. Many times you will find that when using clean guitar tones, the attack is very loud but the sustain gets buried in the mix. Use the KPA´s amp compressor on any clean tone, it´s absolutely fantastic. I really helps your clean tones to cut through without most of those nasty artifacts that most other compressors will produce.

  • I do this mainly by ear and I'm not sure of the logic behind setting the clean sense based on gain. As I understood it, clean sense is more of a way to set the level of your clean profiles to the same level as your distorted ones.


    In that respect, I try and set clean sense at a point where the level of the clean sounds is perceived to be as loud as the distorted sounds. I suppose you could use an RMS meter. But I wouldn't raise and lower the gain, since this might not be the same level of gain on my other clean profiles. I'd be looking to set it at the levels where they already are, not how loud they might go.


    Again, I'm not too sure whether a clean profile with the gain turned up can be considered equivalent to a distorted profile, given that in the profiling process, there is a specific procedure for profiling clean and distorted sounds. Perhaps the more appropriate approach would be changing between a clean and distorted profile to set the clean sense level, in that regard.

  • I do this mainly by ear and I'm not sure of the logic behind setting the clean sense based on gain. As I understood it, clean sense is more of a way to set the level of your clean profiles to the same level as your distorted ones.


    In that respect, I try and set clean sense at a point where the level of the clean sounds is perceived to be as loud as the distorted sounds. I suppose you could use an RMS meter. But I wouldn't raise and lower the gain, since this might not be the same level of gain on my other clean profiles. I'd be looking to set it at the levels where they already are, not how loud they might go.


    Again, I'm not too sure whether a clean profile with the gain turned up can be considered equivalent to a distorted profile, given that in the profiling process, there is a specific procedure for profiling clean and distorted sounds. Perhaps the more appropriate approach would be changing between a clean and distorted profile to set the clean sense level, in that regard.


    Mr. Kemper stated this: "Clean Sense is to balance between clean and distorted settings of the same profile, as well as between different clean and different distorted rigs."


    I guess if you turn down the gain completely, all profiles are equally clean. So this should work for every profile. I got great results with the RMS metering of my RME card, but I agree... trust your ears ;)

  • That approach would never work for me.


    My sound level at lower gain is always lower than my sound level at max gain no matter what the clean sense is set for.


    Then it appears your Distorted Sens is set too high for your guitar(s).
    Of course there's a limit for how high you can set CS before clipping the A/D converter, so the way to go on relatively incrementing the volume is lowering DS.



    I finally gave up trying to balance the output level and just set the clean sense to where I though the clean signal sounded good.


    There's no difference in sound at various settings of CS. The A/D converter works the same way, except for a slightly lower (and rather imperceptible) S/N when the converter's input is not maxed out.
    Of course a lower signal will always sound duller to the ear: in order to really compare the sound at different CS settings, you should record a same (pre-recorded) signal while increasing the gain to exactly compensate for the level reduction as you set CS lower.



    As a side note, for a clean sound to have the same perceived loudness as a distorted sound you actually have to make it louder, because the average energy of the former in the decay-sustain-release region is much lower than the latter: most of its energy is in the attack, which hits the peak-meter and results in the same value as the distorted sound but then quickly fades down, giving the impression that the sound is overall lower; while its energy is in fact the same (or comparable).


    HTH :)

  • Quote from HappyPicker: “That approach would never work for me.


    My sound level at lower gain is always lower than my sound level at max gain no matter what the clean sense is set for. ”


    Then it appears your Distorted Sens is set too high for your…


    No, not at all. No matter what profile I choose and no matter what clean sense setting or distorted sense setting I choose. If I play with my gain set near zero then the output sound is very quiet, if I turn the gain up, then the output sound is loud. There is no way I could ever balance the sound with the gain set at 0 to a gain at 10, no matter what clean sense or distorted sense I have set. At first I thought maybe it was a guitar pickup problem but it is the same with all 5 guitars that I use.


    Like I said, I don't really care if the clean sense is set "properly" or not. My input signal strength is good and I am not so high that I am clipping and my profiles sound good. I also know what everyone has said including Mr. Kemper but I don't find it to be correct because the gain control does effect the perceived output volume. The higher the gain the higher the volume.

  • Yes, of course :) Please re-read my "Side note".
    the peak value will be the same, while the average energy will be much higher for the distorted sounds. Exactly like with a compressor, which doesn't raise the output level but increases the total energy.


    The issue here is that it would be a bit tricky for the Profiler to evaluate the average energy of a signal rather than its maximum value; and a waste of resources, most probably.


    :)

  • I've been messing with clean sense again lately, after getting my guitar back from a set-up and realizing, on-stage, that the pickups are lower.


    There's something else here. It seems that if i crank the clean sense way up high, the sound 'swells' after the initial attack - which indicates that for any rig that isn't overdriven beyond reason (my reason, anyway), clean sense affects the dynamic behavior of a profile.


    I got back home after the show, and through the monitors something was slightly off - like i had 'direct mix' set too high on most patches.
    I cranked the gain of individual patches and lowered clean sense and now everything's back to normal - so, it's back to 0.0 for me. :huh:

    "But dignity is difficult to maintain
    stamina requires constant upkeep
    repetition is boring
    and you pay for grace."

  • <p>

    It seems that if i crank the clean sense way up high, the sound 'swells' after the initial attack - which indicates that for any rig that isn't overdriven beyond reason (my reason, anyway), clean sense affects the dynamic behavior of a profile.

    </p>


    <p>&nbsp;</p>


    <p>Do you mean letting the Input LED constantly hit the red?</p>


    <p>You should record the two versions with a volume compensation to be sure.</p>

  • i take the OP's approach, but I do it with both adjusting the KPA's gain knob and my guitar volume knob. I'm not usually using a pedal to control the KPA's gain. If you need to save several rigs of the same profile at different gain levels, you can always adjust volume if necessary. So I think the guitar volume knob is the most important...at least for me.

  • I tried the OP's method today and found out that it's not that easy. With gain at zero the RMS values (and of course the volume too) are also depending on the values of the compressor in the amp section. E.g. with amp compressor at 5.0 the sound is not as loud as with the amp compressor set to 2.5 (clean sens is set to the same value in both attempts of course, rig is the same too). I don't know but after all that talking and all the different tips and trick regarding clean sens in the past two or three years cleans sens is still a bit of a mystery...at least to me. For example: What is the "right" rig to set clean sens to a "right" level when the volume with gain at zero is also depending on the amp compressor?


    FW 2.6 here.

    I could have farted and it would have sounded good! (Brian Johnson)

  • Clean Sense was designed to simply balance your clean sounds against your gain sounds. Set it like you would on any dual channel amp. If you can hear the clean sounds at the right volume compared to the gain sounds, when the band is playing a song, your setting is RIGHT, no matter how you get there. :)


    For it to work as a Global setting, the assumption is that your clean sounds are all around the same volume as each other, and your gain sounds are all around the same volume as each other.


    It can be as simple as that. Over-thinking it cuts into you playing time :)


    If you want to dig deeper:


    There are no "right" rigs to check it with. Arguably, using a factory clean rig and a factory gain rig is a good way to do it. But, that assumes you have volume balanced all your downloaded and self-profiled rigs to the factory rigs.


    If you go really deep:


    It depends on what rigs you use, and the guitar(s) you use with the rigs. Do you use the same guitar(s) for clean sounds as gain sounds?


    It depends on how hard you hit the strings for clean sounds, vs. how hard you hit them for gain sounds.


    It depends on the guitar volume control setting for clean vs. dirty, or if you balance them with the guitar volume at 10.


    HAVING SAID ALL THAT - If you can hear your self well with both clean and gain sounds, So can everyone else.


    Set it, forget it, done :)