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Stagecaller Volume


#1

First time using this app - it works great, but I’m surprised at how little volume the phone produces. I’m using with an iPhone 4S in a quiet, small (230-seat), theatre, and it’s barely audible.

Compared to the phone’s built-in ringtones, it isn’t significantly quieter, so perhaps it is just the limit of the phone’s production, but it is also quieter than expected.


#2

We can only be as loud as the phone at it’s loudest… But there are three handy tricks:

  1. Make sure you normalize all of your sounds, so the phone has the loudest possible source material.

  2. A passive phone case amplifier is great - I’ve used the Kubxlab’s Ampjacket to great effect

3 For non-musical stuff, you can try & double-trigger the sound - Make a second version of the same sound, and give it the same trigger. This CAN distort the phone’s speaker, and the sounds will NOT be sample accurate, but for rings, this can be helpful.

Isn’t it crazy - a phone rings during a performance in a 1000 seat house and everyone hears it, but we do the same thing onstage snd it feels quiet…


#3

Thanks, Rob.

I had previously checked the file and boosted the gain. It looked to have been normalized to -3, so I boosted it (and with use a limiter, much more than 3db - don’t mind some distortion on a phone ring). However on playback it sounded the same as the original file, so I thought maybe the app was doing some RMS normalizing on it’s own (which surprised me!). But this isn’t the case?

I’ll check again. May try a different phone in case something’s wrong with this one. Do you have any tips on if there are volume differences between iPhone models?


#4

here’s a link to a iClarifieds dB check of all iphones

its nothing to shocking - they show the 6 is the loudest…

of the 3gs/4s/5s/6 that I run, my 4s is ridiculously quiet - I haven’t seen anyone discuss whether or not each device gets quieter as they age, but my personal opinion is that they do

I’m not normalizing the audio - but there’s always a chance that AVAudioPlayer API is performing some form of normalization… I don’t think it is, but it’s worth checking into


#5

ah - actually its the AVAudioSession that may do some normalizing - AVAudioSession handles a lot of the mixing of sound from multiple sources or apps

it’s been a while since I read through the info on this, I’m mostly certain that I’m using it correctly, but I’ll run some tests over the next day just to make sure


#6

I did some quick tests - I thought I might have a potential issue with how I’m using OpenAL, but it seems to not be a problem


#7

To follow up, I tried a different iphone 4S and it’s definitely louder than the first. So there’s something age-related involved, either from damage to the speaker, or maybe even a different manufacturing run.

I am suspecting that there is a built in compressor or limiter in the phone that starts to kick in around -3db. It seems like boosting the gain such that the peaks are higher than that doesn’t really boost the overall volume, just the softer parts of the signal.

I may do some more tests to see if this is really the case - as always, in tech rehearsals there’s not a lot of time to really figure things out, and for now it seems to be doing what I need. Thanks for your support, guys!