Gain vs Volume: What Is The Difference?
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What Is Volume?Between the two definitions, defining volume is a straightforward affair as compared to the meaning of gain. From a simple explanation, volume means the decibel (dB) that is the output of a sound system in simpler terms. Breaking it down into an even more straightforward definition, this is how loud sound is after it is processed. Therefore, we can say that volume is the loudness you hear after you process your sounds. In cases where you are making your mixes, the volume is at whatever level it is sent from your channel to your stereo output, but it can also be to whatever bus you are sending to. However, it is essential to note that if you are used to using a guitar amp, then the volume is usually how loud you set the amp. In the case of volume, you will realize that volume does not change or improve the tone of the sound. What it does is to make it louder.
What Is Gain In Audio And On An Amp?From the definitions of the two, gain is more detailed and a little bit complicated. In the olden days referred to as analog days, gain was a very simple concept to define but with time, things are changing and gain has started to mean several things all the same. The reason why gain definition is becoming complicated with time is, digital technology has comprehensively copied the analog gear but at the same time making remarkable additional changes. The resultant effect has been a more complicated gain definition and a significant difference in the definition of gain. Sometimes, most people will take gain just as another word for volume and the denotion used is just the same (dB), meaning the output of a system. For instance, on digital plug-ins, the “makeup gain” function on a compressor is simply the output volume but bearing a different name and making it even more complicated to differentiate. These are such features we are referring to the end up complicating the definitions of gain.
Most Popular Definition Of GainHowever, the most popular definition of gain in the modern era is the decibel (dB) input of a particular system. Gain is simply the level of volume level that is sent to the connected plug-ins, amplifiers and preamps. Therefore, if you are finding it difficult to define the function of gain, make a note that gain perfectly controls how loud sound is before any processing is done. Another essential distinction that you need to have in mind is, no matter how loud the sound is after processing does not make any notable change to the tone of the sound. As I have said before, it just makes the sound louder. However, how loud a sound is before processing will definitely affect the tone of the sound.
Meaning of Gain In The Olden DaysLooking at the olden days, people made use of gain two ways. There was gain at the microphone preamp. The purpose of the gain at this particular point was to turn up the level of the mic and this would in turn make a significant change on how the analog in the recording domain would affect it. The second gain was on a guitar amp. The purpose of this gain was to turn up the level of the guitar. In the analog era, most of the guitars usually had a gain knob and at the same time, they had a volume knob. This simply means that you could send a ton of gain into the amplifier, next overload it, then go ahead, and keep the volume-controlled reasonably with the volume knob. That is the simple criteria that brought about the creation of guitar distortion. You go ahead and overload the guitar amplifier with gain so that in this case, the speaker could not cleanly process the guitar. Due to this, some people find a third definition of gain as- distortion.
Summary Of Gain In The Modern EraTherefore, we can conclude that in the modern era, gain can be summarized to mean three things:
- Simply another word for volume or can mean the loudness of the output
- How loud the input is