Gain Staging Your DAW With Trim Plugins [Video]

| Audio Example, Mixing, Plugins, Pro Tools, Tips, Video

Every time I bring up the idea of gain staging people’s eyes seem to gloss over. I know, it sounds boring. But until you do it right you won’t believe just how critical it is to getting a big, clear, and musical mix. That’s why I started my very first 5 Minutes To A Better Mix series with this concept. Today I want to show you another way to setup your mixing levels using a simple trim plugin.

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89 Responses to “Gain Staging Your DAW With Trim Plugins [Video]”

  1. Riri

    Hey Graham.
    Why do you use trim plugin when you can use faders?
    I’m not sure i got that point

    Reply
    • Santo

      I think that Graham is using trim plugin as an “input gain knob”, to let every track have the right gain (before even touching the fader, before adding any EQ or compression) so that the master level has the right room to do the cleanest mixing job possibile. Don’t know if I got exactly what Graham was explaining but I think this is the point, and it’s huge!

      Reply
    • Nick A.

      I was wondering the same thing. Is there any pros/cons to this method, versus gain staging utilizing the individual track faders? It seems to yield the same end result.

      Reply
    • Norman

      If I may; the faders are for balancing the relative levels of the channels feeding into the master buss, while the gain is for the appropriate level in the channel itself.
      Without getting too technical, this ‘appropriate’ level is a level sufficiently above the systems noise floor and far enough below the clipping point (=headroom) and it is set by the gain knob at the point of entry to the channel.
      The fader has no effect on this as it comes after the fact.
      Of course, if the signal is not too critical, and within limits, one can get away with using ones fader to compensate for a inproper gain setting on one single channel, but multiplied by xx channels will definitely result in poor audio quality.

      You can verify this with an extreme example: Turn up the gain till the signal starts distorting and then try to undo it by lowering the fader.
      You’ll find out that the sound integrity is determined by the gain setting to start with and that faders do not have any influence on the sound itself.

      I hope that I helped to clarify a little.

      Regards

      Reply
    • Graham

      This method would be INSTEAD of using the faders to pull down the gain before the master fader. The big difference with the Trim plugin method is that it reduces the gain BEFORE plugins. Simply turning down your faders does save you from clipping the mix buss, but doesn’t affect the signal going into your plugins.

      Reply
      • Dominic Blanco

        Is it possible to create an aux tracks and put trim on it and use sends to send the trim to all tracks, instead of putting trim on individual tracks and eating up processing power?

        Reply
      • Wilmarck Jean-Philippe

        This is my first time on this website via mobile I can’t find the place where I’m supposed to actually ask this question so I’m replying to your comment here ….. I buy instrumentals off soundclick as many hip hop artist I know do … Problem is when I I’mport the instrumentals to begin recording vocals 100% of the time it’s clipping ( i assume the beat is mastered to be that way ) But it’s very confusing/fraustating because I don’t want to record hot anymore … Am I to use a trim plug in on the imported instrumentals/beat and then begin recording my vocals and if so to what db ? Also is the track to be remastered after I mix it ? It’s confusing because I assume/they mastered the instrumentals already..so does mastering it twice have a negative effect on my final mix? Please help ! Your response would be very much appreciated

        Reply
    • Akeel

      If you notice on to pro tools faders, it it better to mix higher on the faders than lower. The reason is because when you go lower on the faders, a smaller distance up or down will make a much bigger difference because of the ratio. To test this out (because I might not be doing the best on explaining), put a few tracks in a group, all with faders at a different level, then move it as a group, and as you’ll notice, the distance appears to change the lower you go just because you have less control the lower you get. (for example on the top you move it half a centimeter and only change 3db, but on the lower end of the fader half a centimeter is 9db (i’m using random numbers by the way, just to explain)). But I hope this helps. That’s the reason I do this before many mixes, so I can have more control of the levels by using the higher section of the faders.

      Reply
    • Mike

      Because the track fader in Pro Tools is post inserts. People will tell you that most plugins are calibrated to a certain level and if your track is too hot your missing that level.

      Reply
    • Solito

      Im not Graham, but I’ve watched several other tutorials and they all say the same thing. They use the trim when mixing to bring all levels to a nice smooth arrangement Pre Mix/Pre fader/Pre Plugin. From my understanding when mixing when something is low or at moderate level for example between -5 to -12 you have the head room to add effects, EQ’s, Compression etc. You can bring up the sound with EQ/Compression and still have head room = no clipping. So the advantage is that after that is done you can use the fader to level out the final sound through out the whole track for example when the chorus comes in or big assembly of sound/instruments so its to overpowering. Plus I was told like I mentioned before its good to have head room to bring up a sound/instrument then to have no head room which will not allow you to move anywhere. If my explanation is confusing I apologize. Try it out and see if it works for you.

      Reply
    • Luca

      Hello,
      becouse every plugin works at 0vu (-20dbrms).
      Fader come at the end of the chain.
      😉

      Reply
  2. Colin

    Hey Graham,
    Can you use this trim plugin the same way Ian Shephard used the presonus “gain knob” in his mastering tutorial video for dueling mixes? More or less to match the levels between tracks before even starting the mastering process.
    Thanks!
    Colin

    Reply
  3. Kurt

    Does clip gain do the same thing? I use the clip gain and render the clip so I can save CPU. Should all the tracks be gained stage at -18dbFS?

    Reply
    • Mitch

      I think clip gain will accomplish the same thing Graham is talking about here. Using clip gain is also a nice way to work because you can do A B checks (plug-ins vs no plug-ins) as you work by bypassing all the plugs on a track without changing your gain, which allows for a better comparison. “Am I actually making it better with all this processing?” (Thanks for that lesson, Graham!)

      As far as what levels your tracks should be, check the plug-ins you are working with – some of them want to see a certain level at the input, particularly plug-ins that model vintage gear. Besides that, I’m not sure if there is a “better” level to aim for (comments?).

      Reply
      • Kurt

        You have a very good point there. I get confused sometimes when people suggest the gain level be at -18dbFS. I know that applies to analog. What about the ones who are not using any outboard great at all? some say for digital have all your tracks around -10dbFS( Keeping faders at 0)

        Reply
  4. jimyoyo

    Hey, any reason why you couldn’t let everything come into the master buss at their existing levels (without all this trim plug in stuff at the individual channel level) and then just trim accordingly at the master buss? I do this all the time and never have any clipping issues. I find my peak and adjust the trim so it never goes above -6db before I master it.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated…

    Reply
    • Graham

      The big reason would be because you don’t want to overload your plugins. Some plugins can clip if the signal is too hot. Turning down the gain BEFORE plugins avoids that issue all together.

      Reply
  5. Dan Updegraff

    Mike Senior posted on a forum about this, stating that it allows the channel’s fader to remain closer to unity (0dB) in the final mix. That gives you a finer adjustment due to the exponential nature of audio levels the further you get away from unity.

    Reply
  6. Jordan

    So graham, do you adhere to any rule about -18dbfs, or do you just reduce them all just to reduce and not worry about the db?

    Reply
    • Graham

      The logic is sound for the -18dbfs as a great goal to shoot for. I usually eyeball it 🙂

      Reply
  7. Ricky

    I’m wondering if some of this confusion is because the session Graham is using actually has fantastic levels recorded on each track. (Notice that all his levels barely get above where the meter turns yellow? Perfect.) He’s really just demonstrating another way to skin the proverbial feline.

    The way I see it, the benefit of this method would be DAWs without a way to adjust levels on the audio clips themselves (PT9/earlier for example), but really just on a track that was recorded too hot. Then you can bring the level down so it doesn’t clip your plugins. (Adjusting Clip Gain WILL solve this.)

    However, using trim plugins on every track just to lower the level running through your Master track in PT, like Graham shows, seems like overkill to me. You can simply lower the Master fader, which DOES lower the level before inserts on the Master track, and accomplish the same thing, provided all the tracks are already at good levels.

    Reply
    • Jordan

      I disagree. Some plugins are design for a certain input. Some people find they have a certain compressor that whenever they put in on a track, it immediately clips, or immediately gets really quiet, cause they arent doing proper gain staging

      Reply
      • Patrick

        Like what compressor? Name one compressor that clips with an input that is anywhere below 0 dbFS – after adjusting output gain to be neutral, which you should do anyway – or malfunctions as a gate with low input in 32 bit. That must be the crappiest compressor ever.

        Reply
        • Jordan

          What exactly is your problem, and why the hell are you so butthurt over the concept of gain staging and the plugins people use?

          Grow up, buddy.

          Reply
          • Patrick

            I just don’t like nonsense arguments. So can you backup your story about clipping and gating compressors or not?

            Reply
    • Graham

      Plugins have sweet spots, just like their analog counterparts. Running too hot of a signal through them, even if it doesn’t clip, isn’t a BAD thing, just not maybe the best sounding thing.

      Reply
      • Patrick

        You would have to test every single plugin for that sweet spot, right? It’s usually not like they put it in the manual. And the sweet spot may actually be a hot gain depending on the plugin, e.g. some virtual amp. The sweet spot may also be different depending on the type of music. So even though this argument is valid, it’s not general.

        And what if you chain plugins? You would have to put a gain control between every single one – if not already built into the plugin – to adjust for that sweet spot if you want to go all the way.

        I don’t know. There may be some plugins where that makes sense and those usually have an input gain control, but I don’t see the benefit to gain stage every single track – apart from individual convenience maybe – which is a valid reason of course.

        Reply
  8. Patrick

    If a DAW works with 32 bit internally, what exactly speaks again just pulling down the master fader or some sub-master group fader? Of course you wouldn’t do that with an analog mixing console and the old guard may shake their heads, but in a 32 bit environment that should be pretty irrelevant. As far as I can see it, the important thing is not to have the output clip, but that should technically be of no concern for all the internal channels.

    Please correct me if I missed something.

    Reply
      • Patrick

        1. Most Plugins don’t care.
        2. Plugins are usually adjustable.
        3. If it really is required for a certain plugin, you can still selectively set the gain – doesn’t require to set up the whole console.

        Reply
        • Jordan

          1: Some plugins do care. FACT
          2: Some plugins arent adjustable. also FACT
          3: still have issues of headroom or individual channel clipping.

          If you dont want to gain stage, no one is forcing you too, but trying to discount very legitmate and real reasons for gainstaging out of some sense of stubbornness(or whatever your deal is) is pretty ridiculous. It’s just a reality of mixing sometimes, and some people need to know that information. Thats all.

          Reply
          • Patrick

            1. Exactly, some do, most don’t. For those that don’t, see 3 above.
            2. Yes, some aren’t, most are.
            3. That’s what the fader is for. There is no individual channel clipping in a 32 bit DAW though unless you somehow manage to get above 1,500 dB.

            Apart from that, I’m not arguing against gain plugins where required.

            Why getting all agitated?

            Reply
      • Jared

        Studio One has a neat native plugin called “mixtool” which combines a trim/gain knob, a D/C offset switch and a phase inversion switch. It can be very useful for this phase of the mix where you are gain staging and checking for phase problems in your tracks. Two buttons and a knob – simple but powerful.

        Reply
  9. Casper Bjerkehagen

    You can also just mark all your audio tracks and lower the gain because you may distort the gain plugin :p

    /Casper

    Reply
  10. Rod

    Surprised Protools doesn’t have a trim knob. That’s been standard with Cubase for a long time…and yes…invaluable for gain staging. Not only for bringing down hot tracks, but also for bringing up weak ones.

    Reply
    • Vishnu Raj

      I am using Cubase AI 7 and I’m not sure how to trim or gain stage on here I’m relatively new to mixing but I’m trying really hard and want to learn since my band just started recording and I’m recording and producing it but I’m not sure about what I can use on cubase to work as a trim. Does a limiter work in the same way for gain staging because that’s what I’ve been using until now, I’ve just used a limiter and lowered the input and output levels.

      Reply
  11. Kurt

    Does the -18dbFS apply to digital? Should gain staging be done high around -10dbFS?

    Reply
    • Patrick

      That doesn’t really matter for 32 bit digital (which internally your modern DAW also works with when doing 16 or 24 bit recordings) – with some rare exceptions maybe. If I recall that right, Graham told in one of his videos, too. I usually try to have the mix naturally come out at around -6 for mastering, which works for me when I set the drum group to -15 and balance everything around it, but that depends on your recorded material, so it may be individually quite different.

      I can see that many audio engineers apply their knowledge and habits about analog to digital recording, which isn’t wrong, but very often unnecessary. The DAW interface is usually built to reflect analog gear for convenience and that’s what it’s mostly about – not saying this isn’t helpful. Technically, digital audio is very different and as long as you stay inside the DAW very forgiving, too.

      Reply
    • Graham

      Fab Dupont over at PureMix has a great video on recording levels and he explains the -18dbfs sweet spot better than anyone I’ve heard. The logic is sound.

      Reply
  12. Bertrand

    I remember back in the analog days proper gain staging was crucial mostly because of the signal-to-noise ratio. I honestly don’t know if it has the same importance in the digital domain as it had before. Of course, clipping plugins and busses is not a good thing but is there really a sweet spot or optimal working range of a fader in Pro Tools (32bit)? The noise itself is not a big issue today imo.

    BTW: I do gain staging nowadays mostly with clip gain. Saves me a plugin-slot ;-))

    Reply
  13. Nick A.

    Just watched this again. Can you explain your Sub Mix and Mix Bus and how they are routed, and their purpose related to each other? I get the mix bus I think, but what is the Sub Mix for?

    Reply
  14. Jesús Ortega Ochoa

    Hi Graham!

    I learned this technique right at the first step on a Mixdown Techniques course I took at SAE Online. The way I use it is by balancing the gain levels with the faders (bringin them down first, then creating my gain balance). After that I put the Trim plugin and match the level the same as the fader has, then bring the fader back to 0. Just to share the way I use this technique.

    And, there is a question. The trim plugin has a phase button, can I use this one to check phase issues or maybe there is a better option, let’s say, within an SSL EQ plugin?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Graham

      Cool technique. And yes, you can use the phase button on the trim plugin, just like on the SSL.

      Reply
  15. Micky Noise

    Hello Graham, your tutorials are excellent. Congratulations for giving tips and advices. I am a bit confused. I am coming from the analog world and now that i am ITB i try to make proper gain staging. I try to feed each plugin in chain around -18dbfs (-6 to -12 peak range) with the exception of drums that usually are something like -27-28dbfs but my faders are way down so i do not get the benefit of fader fine tuning. If i do gain staging like in your video that doesn’t mean that some plugins like for example waves will accept weaker signal than they are calibrated and loosing “resolution?” (Waves are calibrated at -20dbfs) . Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Graham

      You can use this technique to turn down your tracks to any volume you like before the plugins. I don’t think it has to be precise, just in the ballpark.

      Reply
  16. Cheskie

    I was wondering whats your opinion of recording using compression on an aux input track before feeding to the recording track, because i always have the problem of the singers dynamic variation throughout the song.

    Also its common for me to record choirs – like 5 vocalists – (using a single microphone), it seems to be a bigger challenge compared to a single vocalist, i would like to know your approach in that case.

    Thanks Graham, love your tips

    Reply
    • Graham

      This is definitely an option. The issue is the potential latency you get from recording through a plugin.

      Reply
      • Cheskie

        so i guess the best way is to stop the singer before a loud part and adjust the gain before continuing

        Reply
        • Graham

          No. Just turn the gain down so it won’t be too hot when they sing loud. Or keep your hand on the gain knob and ride it in real time.

          Reply
  17. micky noise

    Well the difference exist even without plugins. You could try it yourself.

    Take 1 kick channel. Adjust pre fader with trim to peak at -6. Turn down the fader in -10
    Now duplicate this channel and adjust with trim pre fader to peak in -12. Fader at -4
    Duplicate one more channel and adjust with trim pre fader to peak in -18. Fader at +2

    I can guarantee that exist big difference. When you do that in a full mix the mix opens even more. Before somebody jumps and tell me the lower is loosing resolution, you can download free SSL X-ism plugin and you will see even the one peaking (not rms) in -18 or even less, still preserves 22-23bit. So that is not an issue.

    What would be an issue is the structure in plugins. A nice method is to make your gain staging so that every sound is close to -18 rms, so you make sure every plugin in chain accepts this level and in the end of chain to apply a trim plugin like Graham says and to make a rough mix with trim plugins. With that way you don’t affect the signal that plugins take.

    So in summary trim plugin to be close to -18rms -> processing > trim plugin for adjusting the level in mix, and faders for fine tuning.

    I don’t know why signal is more clean when is more low before it hits the fader and without plugins but it works. Would be interested if somebody else notice that too.

    Reply
    • Dan Updegraff

      Didn’t notice a difference on Samplitude. I verified by inverting the duplicate track and both tracks canceled each other out perfectly as long as the input trim and output fader added up to the same values. (Maybe DAWS do this differently?)

      Reply
      • micky noise

        Dan, i use logic pro. i don’t know if it is illusion or something else going on. I monitor through D-box and Focal solo6. But definetely i can hear the difference especially in a full mix. Maybe you could try it in a full mix you already have. bounce one version like it is and one with trim plugins in the end of every channel chain. For example you could lower with trim plugin by 6-8db and raise with the same amount the faders. Of course the master bus to be untouched.

        Reply
        • Dan Updegraff

          Could be a difference between Logic and Samplitude regarding gain staging. Regardless, I’m a big fan of gain staging for the reasons Graham points out. Life is much easier when you have headroom to work with.

          Reply
  18. Forde

    Blessings to you Graham. What a man to come and tell us this from the goodness of his heart, and no catch 22 involved, thankyou Graham! I would have been lost in DAW land oblivion for a long time if you hadn’t decided to bless us with this knowledge, this ‘crucial’ fundamental knowledge, something which i suspect other people would happily withhold from us; i love the Christian mentality, what a God you serve Graham, your goodwill is class-leading, i’m very grateful to you. Thankyou!

    One thing i don’t understand. I’m happy Graham with your logic, and the homework you’ve done, i trust you, but you failed to mention in your video if trim is ‘also’ required on the Main Fader Masterbus, because that too has multiple plugins on it. That is the burning question i have, please respond, and would you care to give a very brief explanation why. Cheers.

    By the way, i use Studio One, and when i went looking for a Trim plugin, the only plugin i found which does this is the “MixTool” plugin that comes with Studio One. Telling people that it is the “Gain” plugin is confusing, the MixTool plugin has “Gain” written above the main knob on the “MixTool” plugin faceplate, but I couldn’t find any “Gain” plugin per-se; please be careful to state the correct name for a plugin when giving guidance, using the right name for the plugin is always helpful to avoid stress to users of DAWs looking for the plugin. Thankyou Brother.

    Reply
  19. Nin

    Using the trim plugin is a sound idea, but I want to know whether I could use the normalise function in the same way. Across all tracks I’d run it & normalise them all to the same level (eg. -9db) would I in effect be doing the same thing. As far a s I can see it kind of make sense to me, but your input would definitely be welcome.

    Reply
  20. Vishnu Raj

    Graham thanks for this invaluable technique I’ve never thought of it but I can see how huge it is and what a difference it makes especially from the smart start to mixing tutes you can see how it helps when it comes to the gut mixing approach. I just wanted to know if an ordinary limiter would work in the same way because I’m using Cubase AI 7 and I can’t find a specific plugin like the trim that works on the gain the closest thing i find is the limiter with which i lower input and output levels and it lowers on the meter which I have set to show sound at input rather than post-fader although let me know if it’s better to have the meter showing levels at input or post-fader thanks! 😀

    Reply
    • Raúl

      Hey Vishnu. Not sure if you got an answer for this already, i see you asked a while back and I was just reading up on this myself. Apparently Cubase does not need a plugin for this. What your looking for is the input gain knob on the channel settings window for each track. The same one where you have your EQ graph/inserts/sends. You can trim the input gain on that channel right at the top of the fader on the right side.

      Reply
  21. Mac

    Thanks Graham – I am amazed how much better my tracks sound using this concept! This has been one of the most influential things (of many) I’ve learned from your brilliant tutorials.
    Awesome – Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful ideas with us.

    Reply
  22. David Seal

    Thank you for this particular installment to your series. Before PT 10 with the new addition of CLIP GAIN – I discovered this same TRIM plugin trick to solve an issue (problem) that I had created because I either recorded too hot (for saturation) or when I would remix other people’s work that had already been processed and raised to it’s limits.
    Often times I would clip the plugins before the signal even get to the meters – requiring me to manipulate the individual plugin output gain(s) to keep the busses and the channels from clipping (which did not work so well).
    Mr. Cochrane, I appreciate your pearls of true wisdom in this world of confusion. May we all continue to make the best music as possible in this modern world that we live in 🙂

    P.S. Now with this obscure technique that you have illuminated we are all on our way to avoiding DIGITAL CLIPPING and ending ear fatigue forever. peace

    Reply
  23. Gab

    Thanks for your great site Graham!!!
    regarding this topic, once you are already provided with a recording session and you see that the levels on prefader mix are high enough so you have not enough room for eq, compress, mastering an so on, whihc si the different between lowering the fomer signals with the trim tool or lowering the signal with the compressor plugin gain knob? are we limiting the compressor function i ncase we lower a lot the input signal?

    Thanks!!!!

    Reply
    • Graham Cochrane

      The trim tool lowers the level BEFORE plugins so signal hits your compressors and EQs at an optimal level. Lowering WITH a compressor simply lowers the output signal of the track, which is helpful for gain staging to the mix buss of course.

      Reply
  24. Srdjan

    Hi Graham. When you say -18dbfs, do you mean RMS or Peak level?
    These days I’m working on my first single. I’m struggling with gain staging.
    For example, my kick drum is peaking around -8 dbfs (pre fader metering PT11), but on Klanghelm VUMT shows RMS -24 and peaks around -8. Should I set level to -18dbfs RMS and peaking level to -2 dbfs? Is this good way or not? The same refers to snare etc….
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  25. JT

    Hi,

    This is the same technique applied by John Merchant in MPPT DVD. It’s a great philosophy to apply in mixing because it leaves plenty of headroom for processing. Mix sound clearer in this approach.

    Reply
  26. george ioannidis

    hi guys! Is there a trim plugin in Cubase or waves? or something similar?

    thanks!

    Reply
    • Raul Gaztambide-Fernandez

      In Cubase there should be an input gain knob at the very top of each channel strip on the mixing console. To see it you might have to click the small arrows on the top left corner of the console to expand up and show the EQs, inserts, sends, etc. Have fun gain staging!

      Reply
  27. Hermit

    Hi Graham,

    I love your video’s and always find them very truthful, inspiring and a great resource so thank you. Great to see you doing this video on what is undoubtedly one of the most important aspect of using a DAW. There is a whole lot of confusion floating around this subject to which i have partaken !.

    To answer a point made earlier if i may regarding it not being essential to use a trim as most plugins can accommodate higher input gain. I have no technical knowledge with regards to what the input sees and a lot of plugins can appear to do so but it can also change their character for better or worse. For effect sure, but as a working practice, surely not. It will cause a lot more plugin volume work via input / output balancing and in some cases audible distortion. Reducing the plugin output will have no effect on this ( at least on the plugin in question ) and most plugins still don’t have input gain / trim. When you are using many plugins on a single track ( as often is the case ) with many many tracks on the go, it can take a long time to identify the cause of the ( often mild ) distortion and then address its consequences. Better to have a method that reduces that possibility by giving the sensible headroom that plugins are designed to operate with especially as some ( again like their analogue counterparts ) can tolerate very little gain increases without some degree of audible distortion ( pleasant or otherwise ). This effect ( even if only occurring on one plugin ) can alter fundamental frequencies and so should be a considered option instead of as a consequence really.

    Due to the confusion with regards to plugin meter markings ( and their 0 VU not actually meaning 0 VU but in fact peak level ) and their varying ways of obscuring where 0 VU ( – 18 dbfs ) actually is, I find it far more useful to put a sample peak meter ( l use IK’s free one ) at the start of every track for recording levels. I then shift it to be the last plugin on a channels plugin chain. That way i can keep an eye on not letting the highest peaks go over -10 dbfs. I also do this on the group channels due to the 3 db rise from grouping and the fact that i have plugins on groups that still need to see the right level. A trim plugin as first insert is used to reduce the level on groups and the peak meter is again put on as the last in chain. I think the Hornet vu meter auto gains tracks if used as first insert so that might be worth checking out.

    I am now thinking of getting a good combined vu meter ( that actually means 0 VU in dbfs ) and trim plugin to use instead as it doesn’t require the same degree of concentration during mixing plus its a fair bit easier on the eyes ! Still be using the peak meter for record monitoring though as this is digital.

    One interesting thing regarding record input levels that i was not aware of until lately is the reason its best to keep peaks at -12 dbfs is due to the analogue stages of converters having the least distortion at -12 dbfs. Going in hotter takes away from this.

    All the best,

    Hermit

    Reply
  28. Chuck Mott

    If you own , for example, the Waves SSL console plugin, insert it on a channel, you can switch the “input button” on and this basically achieves the same thing correct? In other words can you use the SSL the same way as you would the trim button?

    Reply
  29. Cornelis Holmdén

    Hi Graham

    What about peak levels? Is there a sweet spot for peak levels, or is it irrelevant as long as it doesn’t clip?

    Best regards

    Reply
  30. Jurado

    I was hoping for advice regarding gain staging… My understanding is: to avoid feeding insert plugins a signal that is too hot, which can overload the master output, we lower each tracks audio signal before it enters any plugins or fader? To do this correctly I require a ‘VU’ meter which reads a particular signal that needs to be reduced to -18dbFS?… So, if for example I had a 24 bit vocal recording with: RMS -16.50dB and True Peak: -8.30dB. How do I use this information to decide what gain staging to apply and how do I apply this? Thanks again for this guide DG and hopefuly folks can advice me.

    Reply
    • Graham

      Hi Jurado – You would in theory use a trim plugin (or clip gain) to reduce the level of that track by 1.5 db. But in reality each plugin has a different sweet spot. -16.5 RMS is pretty good and conservative so I wouldn’t worry too much if you’re around that spot.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1.  Gain Staging Your DAW With Trim Plugins (Recording Rev) | therecordinghomepage
  2.  The Beginner’s Guide To Mixing [Part 1] » The Recording Revolution
  3.  3 Ways To Create More Headroom In Your Mix | The Recording Revolution

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