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


Cubase Balanced Panner versus Combined Panner screen shows a diagnram of the various pan modes

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


Band Pass Equalisation - cleaning audio channels screen shows the tdr nova ge equaliser plugin

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


Gain Staging using True Peak Meters screen shows an image of a lufs meter

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


Gain Staging using VU Meters screen shows a vintage vu meter

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


ISP - Intersample Peaks screen shows the fabfliter l2 limiter plugin

Intermediate

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



DIY Mastering using Pink Noise


DIY Mastering using Pink Noise screen shows the voxengo span frequency analyser plugin

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 within your DAW explained in detail


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


Summing in a Mix within your DAW screen shows the cubase main mixer page

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 each and every audio channel 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 for Headroom


cubase meter screen showing the cubase meter

Beginner

Customising your DAW's Metering to display critical information for mix projects.
Duration: 10 mins



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 and Intersample Peaks (ISP) to maximise headroom for mastering. Very cool technique for making your mixes LOUD!
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

Masking and summing of frequencies are a real headache when it comes to gain staging your mixes. One potent way to rectify these issues is to use panning. Let me show you how easy the process is.
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

How to use two compressors in series to control the dynamic range of lead vocals and enhance the overall texture.
Duration: 7 mins



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