You could, if you wished, insert virtual VU or PPM meters on every channel of your mix, but I'm unaware of a DAW that allows you to change the channel metering in the mixer to an averaging type, so there's no way that you can see at a glance what all those insert meters are doing. I read your feature on gain staging a few years ago, but I’ve been following some blogs that say it isn’t at all necessary if you’re just working in software.

When cheaper 'project' consoles such as the Mackie 8 Buss came along, there might have been a little less headroom than in the Neves, APIs and SSLs of this world, but the situation was essentially the same. With this method, you can turn down the track without affecting fader automation. For best results, keep the master volume fader at “unity” which is 0 dB. A typical mid-budget computer interface will deliver exactly the same dynamic range, and even budget ones will manage 115dB or more. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers. Hear her thoughts on unruly mixes, her production style, and the Godliness of Ableton Live. We could obviously go deeper and deeper—and longer and longer—into gain staging, but this is enough to get you familiar with the subject. More commonly, problems arise when you introduce plug-in effects and processors, because some are just not designed to operate well when presented with very hot signal levels. Instead of compressing or limiting the signal to get a consistent level, try automating the gain. What this all boils down to is that, despite the apparently forgiving nature of 32-bit and 64-bit floating-point processing, you still need to be aware of and manage the levels at every stage of your mix, and to be aware of the impact these levels have on your software's sonic performance. Grimes’ productions are full of emotive intricacy and complexity. Monitor the output level of instrument plugins and track levels with a connected hardware instrument or mic. This is very important, because in the analog world, because a fixed-point file is still the bottleneck for a tune you’ll stream on Spotify or sell on CD. Most DAWs allow you to change where the meter signal is tapped from, and some allow more options than others. A freedom to move faders around in ways unthinkable in the olden days—so long as certain conditions are met without exception. before any insert processing) may be being monitored, or the signal could be post-panner (and post-inserts) or post-fader. The faders on most DAW mixers are designed to allow finer control over gain/attenuation at around their unity-gain position, so try to set your levels with the faders at or around that position.In the case of the DAW software, I can see two major issues. Plus, that list of considerations will surely come in handy.

Many DAWs come with RMS and Peak meters. This was important in the days of 16-bit digital recording, where the dynamic range of the recording medium was relatively restricted, and when converters didn't apply dither correctly — or even at all! If that's what you want, you'll need to use the meters on your plug-in processors and effects, or dedicated metering plug-ins. It’s essential to maintain the same perceived levels at the input and output of every plugin in the chain. The output signal from the track mixer will then travel through either a group bus or into the master track. Sometimes this is what you want—sometimes this is why you employed the plug-in. A plugin that’s clipping will affect all other plugins that come after it in the device chain. Re: X32 Gain Sharing 2 consoles and 2 S16's « Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 04:47:32 am » so you are saying you have independent gain control -- my understanding of the HA split is that you set the initial preamp gain on one console & then each console … Happily, most plug-ins offer input and output level controls, and often meters too, so you can boost or attenuate at any stage. You had to think globally, across the whole chain of gear. So in this article, we’ll cover those building blocks. The other options are less confusing. So, if I were to raise the original test tone beyond 0 dBFS, it would certainly look like it’s clipping on the meters—but check this out: the test tone has been routed to a bus. (Note that this is different from 'loudness' metering of your stereo bus output, discussed in the TC Electronic LM2 review elsewhere in this issue.). Some DAWs allow you to customise your channel meters. ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online college of music that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Say you’re in Logic; if you have processing on the master bus, you’ll still be hitting that processing at the higher, pre-fader levels, which may or may not be what you want (more on this later). I'm not surprised: to anyone who learned to mix with analogue consoles and outboard gear, this is all second nature, because the gear effectively forced good practice on you. Analogue-modelling plug-ins, in particular, seem susceptible to this sort of abuse: they often do a great job of mimicking the sonic behaviour of their hardware equivalent in its normal operating range, but start to fall down when you push them outside that range. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. On the face of it, gain staging couldn't be simpler: you ensure that you feed an appropriate level from the first stage of your signal path to the next, and repeat this from the second stage to the third... and so on, all the way from your instruments, mics and preamps to the final stereo mix bus. Why is that? Your DAW meters default to showing the level at a certain point in the signal chain, and different DAWs have different defaults: the channel's input signal (ie.

This may affect how the drums hit any processing on the master bus. Gain staging is one of the most important steps to getting a pro sounding mix. But it’s easy to get wrong! Using references is a great way to train your ears, become accustomed to your speakers and help get your mixes into the right sonic ballpark. You can bypass each plug-in in turn to check levels at each stage. To do that, I suggest that when you set your initial channel input levels, you do so with all your faders at or around the -6dB mark.

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