Gain Staging

In today’s world of digital maximums (ceiling) in your DAW managing all gains, from channels to groups, auxiliaries to mixbus, has become a critical process.

The process itself involves optimising the audio signal level (gain) through the signal chain, from channel to mixbus, to maintain a decent amount of headroom and to prevent digital clipping.

For the beginner this process can be daunting as there are so many factors to take into account when proper gain staging. I make sure to cover most of these eventualities and to guide you through each step ensuring you understand what areas to consider when gain staging within your DAW.

This category covers every aspect of gain staging, from the metering standards to summing, from cleaning channels to managing the Pan Law and so much more.

To best help you I have created a technique that involves mixing to a pink noise reference. I have written an article for Sound On Sound entitled Mixing to a Pink Noise Reference on this subject and have included this process right here and in video format. If you follow this process to the letter your mixes will magically mix themselves.

Don’t get overwhelmed with your levels – learn to structure and manage gains

Tutorials


Cubase Balanced Panner versus Combined Panner



Beginner

What are the differences between Balanced and Combined Panners within your DAW and how and when to use them.
Duration: 7 mins



Band Pass Equalisation - cleaning audio channels



Intermediate

How to prepare your audio for mixing by using band pass equalisation for cleaning and making sure to shape the filter slopes to match the audio's response.
Duration: 13 mins



Mixing to Pink Noise


mixing to pink noise a screen showing how it works

Intermediate

A detailed mix tutorial on how to use Pink Noise as a reference to control and manage gain levels within your DAW.
Duration: 19 mins



Gain Staging using True Peak Meters



Beginner

Using True Peak Meters (LUFS) to gain stage for mixing and calibrating channel levels in your DAW.
Duration: 12 mins



Gain Staging using VU Meters



Beginner

What are VU Meters, how do they work and how to calibrate them for mixing. This tutorial explains all and guides you through the processes required gain stage your mixes using VU meters.
Duration: 11 mins



Headroom and Dynamic Range


metering explained screen showing an old vu meter

Beginner

Learn about structuring your mixes for maximum headroom and dynamic range and how to avoid the usual pitfalls faced with channel summing.
Duration: 9 mins



ISP - Intersample Peaks



Intermediate

What are Intersample Peaks (ISP) and how do you control them.
Duration: 9 mins



DIY Mastering using Pink Noise



Intermediate

The entire Mixing to Pink Noise process covered and including how to use mastered profiles on your mixes.
Duration: 25 mins



The Pan Law


the pan law screen showing how the pan law works

Beginner

What is the Pan Law and how it affects your mixes. Setting the right preferences in your DAW is critical and The Pan Law plays a big part in that.
Duration: 14 mins



Summing in a Mix within your DAW



Intermediate

Summing in your DAW, how to manage gains and frequencies for maintaining headroom and clarity.
Duration: 5 mins



Preparing and Optimising Audio for Mixing


Mastering EQ - Air Band Processing screen shows the fabfilter pro q2 equaliser plugin

Intermediate

How to prepare for your mix for both mixing and mastering.
Duration: 10 mins



Metering Explained - VU LUFS LU K-Ref....


metering explained screen showing an old vu meter

Advanced

How to read and calibrate all the various Meters within your DAW.
Duration: 25 mins



Cubase Meter - Customising


cubase meter screen showing the cubase meter

Beginner

Customising your DAW's Metering to suit your needs in Cubase.
Duration: 10 mins



Phase - what is total and partial phase cancellation


phase screen showing the behaviour of sinusoidal motion

Beginner

Discover what phase is and what total and partial phase cancellation are and when they occur.
Duration: 11 mins



Normalisation - what it is and how to use it


Normalisation - What it is and how to use it screen showing Soundforge's normalisation process

Beginner

What is normalisation - what are Peak and RMS normalisation.
Duration: 6 mins



Stealing Transients - Maximising Loudness


Stealing Transients - Maximising Loudness screen shows the gclip clipper plugin

Beginner

Old school techniques for removing errant transients to maximise headroom for mastering.
Duration: 6 mins



Converting Dual Mono Tracks into Stereo in Cubase


Converting Dual Mono Tracks into Stereo in Cubase screen shows the mixer page in cubase

Beginner

This video guides you through the processes needed to convert dual mono tracks into stereo tracks for use in your DAW.
Duration: 6 mins



Avoiding Masking and Summing of frequencies by Panning


Avoiding Masking and Summing of frequencies by Panning screen shows the cubase panner

Intermediate

Understanding what is panning, masking of frequencies and summing within your DAW!
Duration: 5 mins



Using Compression in Series to Process Lead Vocals


Using Compression in Series to Process Lead Vocals is a deep tutorial on the workings of a compressor, and in this case two compressors in series, and how best to use it for various vocal processing tasks screen shows the cubase stock compressor plugin

Intermediate

Understanding how to use compression in series to control the dynamic range of lead vocals.
Duration: 7 mins



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