Academy Dashboard Forum Academy Academy Lesson Suggestions Video Topic Suggestion - Gain Staging

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  • This topic has 5 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by Tobi.
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      I would like to see a video that covers signal levels and gain staging during tracking and mixing.

      Included in the lesson, I would like to see coverage of compression to increase the RMS level and saturation techniques to gain apparent level (RMS) without increased peak levels. For example, sometimes at the end of a mix I don't have enough compression on individual instruments or groups and I have to rely on the 2 Bus compressor too much and the mix ends up sounding small and restricted without any dynamics. But how much compression is too much on individual tracks and groups?

      Another issue that I sometimes encounter is running out of head room on the 2 Bus. So I end up going back to the individual tracks and groups and pull all the faders down. If you could provide some gain staging suggestions and best practices so that our mixes end up with good peak to RMS levels so that we have good dynamics but enough RMS apparent loudness so that the 2 Bus mix is not crushed and lifeless. Please include any suggestions on metering plugins such as the K system metering, etc.


      Steve A

        Good solid suggestion(s), I would just add the questions: How much blinking into the red on the 2 buss/master meters is acceptable, and at what bit depth(s)?

        Andrew Mckenzie

          Yep there has been some interest in the forums on gain staging and setting up a mix from scratch, great idea. 🙂


            Great suggestion! A few things I'd love to know more about :

            Matching output / input gain, particularly across a hybrid system - i.e. from DAW to Audio Interface to Analog Effect back to Audio Interface to DAW.

            A video on the Meter Plugin Perception (Warren, you've mentioned it in a previous video) - could be really useful.

            And yes, as mentioned above, a detailed look at a Stereo Bus Compressor would be great. At the moment I use mine the way you'd handle a junkyard dog, with great care and as little as possible 😉

            Colin Kettenacker

              I'd also like to get your take at gain staging at 0dBVU in the digital age. Do you do this still and if so how strict are you with it, plus how do you track it along your stages.

              Some examples could be:

              • How you gain stage your outboard gear and at what levels.
              • How you gain stage the signal flow within the DAW. Specifically managing gain in the channels and busses as well as the plugin inserts (Especially as more plugins these days are expecting a -18 dBFS / 0dBVU input).
              • Specific examples of how and when you like to slam an input (such as with your SSL console)

                Great suggestions!

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