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Old 2nd June 2006
Lives for gear
streetbeats's Avatar

I agree with Dexter.

Also, meters can be particularly useful for noticing problems like DC offset coming through a channel; stuff you cant hear but thats eating up your headroom.

Im pretty sure Ive read an interview with Chris Lord-Alge where he talks about how he uses meters as well as his ears to mix, the meters helping him find the console sweet spot.

Just searched and found the is the quote:

What is it you love about this [SSL 4000 G Plus] console so much?

Bottom line, this console has attitude. In 10 more years, these consoles will be like old Neves. They're classic. This one was installed in about 1985; it's modified as far as you can go, and it's in great shape. And it's got light meters, which I like. I'm all about the meters.

What do you mean?

I've got to see what's going on. I don't do this by ear only! I use the meters to balance things left and right, and to see what's going on with each fader so I can optimize the console.

They're set to show input?

No, the output of the fader — fader to mix — EQ'd and everything. It's all about maximizing the signal strength. You hit the tape machine a certain way, the tape machine is hitting the console a certain way, you're hitting the mix bus a certain way. You're at the sweet spot. All consoles have a pretty small sweet spot where it really sounds good.

That's something you don't hear mentioned much lately.

Well, everybody's thinking because they're digital, they don't have to worry about a sweet spot. Well, yeah, you do. Digital craps out so quick it's disgusting. In an all-digital console, the sweet spot is tiny — like a postage stamp. But there's a small window on any console where the headroom is right and where it really sounds the best. That's where I stay, in that window.
The whole interview is here: