Set the Levels Correct In the Box - Gearspace.com
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Set the Levels Correct In the Box
Old 13th March 2014
Gear Nut
🎧 10 years
Set the Levels Correct In the Box

hi everyone!

i wonder if you adjust your gain of the seperate tracks with the prefader trim knob or gain plugin?
i read that the reference recording level are between -20 and -12db, depending on the used converter.
as the tracks are now in the daw, what next? i read in a different book that the levels should be trimmed to +2dbVU when fader are full opened (+10dB)
isn´t that +6dB? (-14dB RMS in the input stage, and -8dB RMS in the mixing stage??)

puh.. please help..

Old 13th March 2014
Registered User
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
What's wrong with using the regular faders? In the digital domain it doesn't really matter much where you adjust gain - unless you are talking about gain sensitive plugins, such as compressors, saturation etc.

I personally don't see the value in refering to dbVU when inside the digital domain: what's wrong with using dfFS, which is what DAWs are generally calibrated in.

I'm guessing that you are either coming from an old school analog background, or you are reading books that are heavily influenced by the old school analog background.

It's useful to know about that stuff IF you are working in the analog domain, otherwise it's just being cute for cute's sake (in my opinion, which will quickly be smashed to pieces by the hard core analog purists).

Once the signal is in the DAW, I see little point in messing around with "trim pots". However - there can be good reasons to have multiple stages of gain control, especially if you are heavily into automating the faders. And I would suggest that every DAW user should be heavily into automating faders - it's the great thing about DAWs.

With floating 32 bit you have heaps of headroom - you don't have to worry about clipping anything, until you get to the output buss which drives your D/A. In the digital domain you don't really need to worry about an analog "sweet spot", and you don't even really need to worry so much about clipping. Except ... and this is a huge exception ... when you are using plugins, and especially plugins which emulate analog charactistics. That's where levels are important - but the best judge of this is your ear. How does it sound?

Since most people can't resist using plugins, you will find that you generally have plenty of places to adjust gain. So I hardly ever see a need to use a gain plugin, or to worry about VU meter plugins.

Personally, I hate VU meters on analog equipment. I have gear with VU and gear without, and I find them useless to me. For the simple reason that I use my ears - sometimes I like to abuse the snot out of an analog device, and it is useless seeing a pegged VU meter. (Even if it reminds of a Velvet Underground album cover - pretty sure that's where they got their name from ...). And sometimes I want a clean sound where I hardly see the VU meter move - so what is the point. I appreciate that in the days of tape and multiple stages of noisy, gain sensitive analog stuff VU was pretty important. But with digital, ears are a good judge of sound quality, and peak meters let you know if your ears fail to alert you.

Just my opinion.

Fire away.
Old 13th March 2014
Lives for gear
hasbeen's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by swinxx ➡️
hi everyone!

i wonder if you adjust your gain of the seperate tracks with the prefader trim knob or gain plugin?
Many people do just that so you are on the right track.

Read the first few pages of this thread. It is quite long but has great info in its many pages.

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