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Old 07-02-2012, 06:09 PM
kindkind kindkind is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 186
Default Gain staging and the PT mixer

So Ive been reading and watching vids on gain staging. Seems that a common procedure is that when beginning to mix, bring up a mix window, set a fader at unity (0) and then use a "trim" or a "gain" knob on the mixer's channel strip to bring its reading on the meter to about -6. Then once all the tracks for the mix have been properly set using a gain knob, all faders are put to -inf and the mixing begins.

But these examples were not from PT. What do we do in PT for this without setting up a gain plugin of some kind? I mean sure i could use busses or vca faders or, maybe the volume trim automation, but what do you all do?
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:39 PM
PD-John PD-John is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 488
Default Re: Gain staging and the PT mixer

Unless your track levels are ridiculously low, you shouldn't need to gain them up at all in a 24 bit environment (for resolution purposes at least, not talking about convenience here...). But if you do, you can always use clip gain now and match track levels by eye, instead of using the trim plugin.

The practise you described was employed when using analogue consoles and tape machines and was to maximise SNR and allowed each track to enter the console's electronics at a similar RMS. But now, because noise isn't much of an issue with 24 bit recording, there's no need to strictly follow methods like these.

Others here will know way more than me about "analogue" mixing practises though...
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:17 AM
stpete111 stpete111 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 112
Default Re: Gain staging and the PT mixer

Agree with PD-John's first statement - but also it's very important to remember that the meters in Pro Tools are only showing you peak levels, not RMS. To really make sure you're getting a mix with good dynamic range, you really should be looking at both. There a ton of meter plugins out there that show both, many of which are free or very cheap. Then from there, you must also consider the specs of the hardware interface you're using to properly calculate your "sweet spot" levels to capture that perfect or close to perfect dynamic range for your mix. Point here being, there's more to consider than just the DAW meters.
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