I do have the Richard Furch course. I will review his gain staging. He was so thorough about so many things.
Yes, I usually AB a plug in's affect on level, trying to keep it all close. And then the busses, checking to see if they are roughly what they were before processing, but then that all kind of goes away as I get closer to the end of the mix!
Sounds like you're heading in the right direction then.
Maybe if you keep a VU open across the master and try to keep the mix at your target volume. If you also add a trim or VCA across all the channels feeding in to master to keep the volume you'll be able to control your drift. I needed to do this more when I started mixing this way and have been relying on it less.
Wandering in to this very late, but just to note one thing about the Studio One Main bus; there is an option when exporting a mixdown to bypass the plugins on this bus, so that you can do the "play at mastering engineer thing" with it but also be able to very easily export a mix without any of that in order to send it to a "real" mastering engineer. So that's one good reason to, when purely mixing, not have anything on S1's Main bus.
But the "post" section on there goes after everything, which is why it's a good place to have metering.
Hi Simon. Better late than never!
I think there's wisdom in what you say. The only thing I have on my Main is meters.
I send everything to a Mix Bus. And I print in real time from said bus to a stereo track to prevent the inevitable automation failures from complicating my life. "Post" on Main has a Magic AB and a Toneboosters Morphit (Sonarworks' competitor).
So, any Master Bus Chain I have is really a Mix Bus Chain. I've simplified it since starting this discussion, actually.