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  #1  
Old 12-06-2013, 03:13 PM
Raoul23 Raoul23 is offline
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Default Gain Staging??

It's come to my attention for quite a while now that I'm not to good at gain staging

I've put this in the getting started section coz all the posts might help others as well as me

When I track I have the metering set to pre fader. I always try my hardest to have the level just touching the yellow on the loudest parts (-6) and have the input monitoring selected (as I'm on HD) so I can monitor the signal coming in. When I add a plugin say for example waves CLA 2A the input level increases on the fader meter. I then check the input on the plugin is just hitting -6 which is the same as the signal coming in when the plug is inactive. If this is correct and the fader meter shows an increase in signal I turn down the output on the CLA 2A making the fader level meter the same for both when the plugin is active and inactive.

Now if I add another plugin I want the input to be -6 on the plugin meter and weather the plugin is active or inactive the fader meter should still be hitting -6 as well, have I got this right???

Hope I've made sense and I'm doing things right if not please advise and shed some light on what I can do to improve this
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2013, 03:33 PM
Meads Meads is offline
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

I'm fairly new to mixing music, so maybe I'm doing it all wrong, but I'm not that delicate about hitting a specific peak.
I try to keep track levels within reason, and make sure plugins are hit with healthy levels on their input. But I'm not going all scientific about it. IMHO you hurt the creative process of mixing by being that accurate, and I do not see any benefits to it.

I'll happily stand corrected by the more experienced music-mixers, though.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2013, 03:40 PM
Raoul23 Raoul23 is offline
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meads View Post
I'm fairly new to mixing music, so maybe I'm doing it all wrong, but I'm not that delicate about hitting a specific peak.
I try to keep track levels within reason, and make sure plugins are hit with healthy levels on their input. But I'm not going all scientific about it. IMHO you hurt the creative process of mixing by being that accurate, and I do not see any benefits to it.

I'll happily stand corrected by the more experienced music-mixers, though.
That's the thing when in pre fader metering I have to be kind of specific like this so I don't end up overloading and clipping my sub mixes without knowing. I would say they always hit exactly -6 but I always try to be around that area :)


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  #4  
Old 12-06-2013, 03:46 PM
Bookerv12 Bookerv12 is offline
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

Hey there,

I don't want to make it seem like it isn't important, but don't be to scientific with the gain staging.
What does help is...
Consider the yellow meter in PT red. (Yellow is the new red)
There was a time when we had to have pretty healthy levels hitting tape decks and such to push the noise floor down and saturate the signal, but that time is over.
Even at a pretty low level, your tracks are pretty high resolution.
It's a good habit to get into in a daw to keep the levels a little more sane.
There is no benefit to hitting things hard. (For the most part)
Turn your monitor volume up.
If you see any of your plugins hit red, rethink your levels.

One of the first things I do when I sit down with someone who is learning is, Make a group out of all of the audio tracks and turn them down 5-10db.
People tend to start out too hot.

Good topic though.
about 70% of everything we get is way too hot for no reason.
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:48 PM
mesaone mesaone is offline
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

This is worth a read, since I believe you're investing too much worry into this.... Gain staging in the box is a lot more forgiving, since you (usually) don't have to worry about signal loss and added noise.

Long story short, there's a lot more headroom in Pro Tools than what it looks like. And you can track a lot quieter than -6dB, and not suffer from the same issues that tape would have if tracked at a low level.

http://www.rcc.ryerson.ca/media/TECH...8-bitMixer.pdf
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:49 PM
Meads Meads is offline
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookerv12 View Post
Make a group out of all of the audio tracks and turn them down 5-10db.
+1
In the template I use I turned all tracks down 9dB, so no matter what I can't start too hot.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

http://www.musictech.net/2013/02/pro...-gain-staging/

http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Rec.../ba-p/34646453

http://therecordingrevolution.com/tag/gain-staging/
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meads View Post
In the template I use I turned all tracks down 9dB, so no matter what I can't start too hot.
Right. Of course that depends on the input material. Some do it with trim plugs as first insert; I mean, do the first rough mix with faders in unity and tweaking the trim pots until you have low enough levels and a decent starting point for your real mix.

A little math for you guys; few facts:

- 24 bit audio file in theory has 144dB dynamics
- best AD converters are in the ballpark of 120dB dynamics
=> therefore you have all the resolution in -24dBFS

Now that "yellow is the new red" is a really good rule of thumb. That hits the sweet spot and is kind of the old and still very useful 0VU level. And you don't necessarily have to aim for that "new red", staying below is perfectly fine.

And your monitor controller does have a volume knob, doesn't it?
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:15 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

Quote:
Originally Posted by JFreak View Post
Right. Of course that depends on the input material. Some do it with trim plugs as first insert; I mean, do the first rough mix with faders in unity and tweaking the trim pots until you have low enough levels and a decent starting point for your real mix.

A little math for you guys; few facts:

- 24 bit audio file in theory has 144dB dynamics
- best AD converters are in the ballpark of 120dB dynamics
=> therefore you have all the resolution in -24dBFS

Now that "yellow is the new red" is a really good rule of thumb. That hits the sweet spot and is kind of the old and still very useful 0VU level. And you don't necessarily have to aim for that "new red", staying below is perfectly fine.

And your monitor controller does have a volume knob, doesn't it?
Something missing here is apparent volume versus level. You can have a bunch of tracks or sessions that hit the same level on whatever metering you're using but some will sound louder than others. I run into that at times and just did with a remake of the Nutcracker Suite I'm doing. Every track hit the same level on the final metering but the Russian Dance was sounded quieter. What is needed is not just one type of metering for absolute level but also apparent level or whatever it's called - maybe rms metering? Watch peak metering for overs and rms for the rest. I think that's where PT11HD shines or iZotope Insight with the different metering schemes.
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  #10  
Old 12-07-2013, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: Gain Staging??

I think the point here is recording levels and in that regard peak levels is what I consider appropriate. Mixing and mastering is a whole another story. Proper gain staging is especially important when you record, because there is no way undoing mistakes, except that you can always record again.

But yes, don't just look at the numbers. You need to know what the numbers mean. My last post assumed we're talking about peak meters and dBFS.
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