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Old 01-30-2019, 08:52 AM
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DonaldM DonaldM is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 4,102
Default Setting gain levels for VIs and such

This recent discussion on gain staging got me thinking about gain levels for input signals from VI's. I like using the Waves VU meter as it helps see how everything is behaving. What I've been doing is using it on an instrument track as I set up a VI part, and then adjust the master output gain on the VI itself so the VU meter pegs around 0.

When I want to commit a track, I'll set up an aux output to an aux track with VU and set the track fader in PT to get the output to 0 on the VU and then commit. That seems to give me a good clean audio track. I tend to think of my VI's as "live player" substitutes and set input record levels the way I would if I were miking that same part with a live player.

Then, if I set up a submix aux channel, say for all synth parts, then I'll sue the VU meter again to keep the total mix levels of all the tracks going in to 0. Then, I use the submix faders to keep the levels on the master as close to -6 or -8db as I can with the VU meter (or other).

Am I thinking of this the right way? Is there a better way? This way seems to keep everything clean and clear and I've found I get much less mud and can focus on balancing the parts better. Since most everything I do involves using only VI's, this way seems to work. But maybe I'm missing some other better way?

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