Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Gain Staging Explanation to a beginner :(


  • This topic has 5 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Mark Holden.
Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #59655

      I'm struggling to understand 'gain staging' and how best to transfer inputs/outputs from one plugin to another in my mixes. So far my mixes are either too quiet or overload the master bus. I've been placing the gain utility plugin within Logic Pro in each track signal chain, to help control my tracks levels, as not to overload the master bus, but confused. Is it better before plugins or at the end of the signal chain? I found that some of the slate plugins need a good input level to find their sweet spot. Also could I not just place the gain reduction on just the master buss?

      Apologies for the beginner question, hopefully I'll find help ๐Ÿ™‚

      • This topic was modified 5 years ago by Paul.
      face (chris) Janton

        One thing I do in Logic is to select all of the audio regions and do a "Normalize Region Gain..." setting the peak to -9 dB. No plugins. Non-destructive. If you have any tracks that are actually at 0.0 dB the change will not affect that track. You need to alter the level of the *file* to be less than 0.0 (I use -0.01 dB). That lets the internal process work.

        Before any plugins, before anything. You could put Gain first in the chain if you wanted. I like not having an extra plugin.

        I haven't tried this on any PLAPA multi-tracks yet - dealing with 100+ tracks in my system is a bit dodgy. Almost have it "fixed".

        Guido tum Suden

          "Normalize Region Gainโ€ฆ" is great. You can set it in different ways. For PLAP mixes I would set it to per Track. When I work with my students I often set it to per Region. That can be dangerous because if there are, e.g. in vocals, spikes that Region will be much quieter. You can set it to LUFS and I found that -23 LUFS often works well.

          Other than that, don't be afraid to use more Gain plugins. I mix a little bit quieter than Paul with -10 to -12 dBFS peaks. But if a plugin needs more input and it doesn't have Input and Output knobs, put a Gain plugin before and after it to push it first and then back down.

          You wrote, that you sometimes mix too quiet. That is only the case, if you hear a lot of noise in your mix, after boosting your mix at the end.
          Since DAWS nowadays can handle many dBs above 0 a lot of mixers don't care about clipping anymore. They just turn down their mix at the Output channel.

          I like to use a VU meter as well. I start with a Bass Drum of -3 VU and usually the mix will end with being around 0 VU as long as the meter is set to -18 dBFS.
          If I do some mastering for myself I set the VU meter to -10 dBFS, use the master bus chain to get to 0 VU again and will so end up with a song around -14 LUFS.

          Mark Holden

            Hello Paul

            I also was wondering about this when I first got going as there are many ways to go about this. What I found was I needed to turn up my actual monitors/headphones. This meant I was turning tracks down instead of up thus leading to headroom and not overloading the masterbus. I try to have about -10dB on my levels after drums and -3/4 at the and of the mix. I also use normalize audio and then sometimes reduce the clip gain so my faders start close to unity. I use Studio One but methods are universal, if your after more tips in Logic try the Daw's forum for logic Pro I found the Studio one very helpful and friendly.

            Hope this helps


            Magnus Emilsson

              Hello Paul.

              I found this video helpful for this,

              with kind regards / Magnus Emilsson

              Mark Holden

                YES I will second Magnus's video link as Stuido One has the K system built in as an option and I do use it ๐Ÿ™‚


              Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
              • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.