Gain Staging – The 3 Rules You Need To Know – In The Mix

Sorry about the bad audio, my microphone broke during this video.
I have sorted this out so it should not happen in future videos :)

Today we are talking about gain staging. This is a highly requested topic, with everyone seeming to be talking about it and chipping in their opinion! This is a good thing but it also leads to confusion.

I remember pouring through articles and videos trying to understand what was important and what was simply myth. It led me to become stressed and worried that I was doing something wrong.

After several months of reading and testing things out, I think these simple steps are all that you really need to worry about when it comes to MIXING.
We might make a follow up video about how to gain stage when RECORDING :)

The three guidelines are:

1:10 – Don’t clip the mix bus!

Find any loud sources and reduce them or simply lower all your faders slightly to avoid digital clipping on the master bus.

1:50 – Optimise Plugin Performance

Use a trim or gain plugin to make sure that your plugins are receiving the right level – which many quote as -18 dBfs RMS (roughly 0VU). This will reduce the chances of unwanted distortion and ensure that they are working in the sweet spot

3:12 – Optimise fader position for maximum precision.

Add a trim plugin at the end of your effects chain so that you can use it to add or remove gain. This will let you get your fader higher on the mixer and give you more resolution.

When your fader is higher up, you have a lot of control, large movements only change 0.5 – 2 dB.
When your fader is low down, the same movement can cause a 5-10 dB change.

check out this article about the noise floor of modern DAWs, ut’s a fantastic resource :
https://theproaudiofiles.com/video/whats-the-noise-floor-of-a-digital-audio-workstation/

The audio was a little bad in this video but hopefully it is not too distracting – I think we were getting interference from a local radio station!

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About In The Mix

In The Mix is all about simplifying the recording, production, mixing and mastering process and helping you unlock your creativity. No matter which DAW you use or what equipment you have, I’m determined to help you succeed. I try to share as much as I can about the industry and give an insight into the world of music production and the business behind it by showing you how to release and sell your music online.

Being an FL Studio Power User I also focus tutorials on getting the most out of FL Studio, My DAW of choice.

Micahel Wynne is a recording artist and mixing engineer with a passion for teaching (and instant ramen).
In 2015 I discovered my enthusiasm for music and audio; I learned how to record and produce songs in my university student room with a just cheap laptop and FL Studio. After several months of working in audio sessions between school assignments, I decided to leave uni with a 2-year engineering diploma to pursue a career in music. I wanted to learn everything I could about the industry and the artistic process, so I started making original music as half of the duo “Miavono”.

In late 2016 I began my journey on YouTube, sharing my knowledge and experiences with audio in the form of tutorials on “In The Mix”. I quickly grew a community of over 120,000 producers, artists, and audio professionals, a group of people whose passions aligned with mine. Last year I built my own home studio from the ground up in my back garden, set in the rural highlands of Scotland, and have since been supported by and involved with some of the greatest people in the industry.

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