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ITB Gain staging tutorial?? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 30th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

ITB Gain staging tutorial??

Hey guys i know there are numerous discussions floating around about this but...

CAN ANYONE POINT ME TO A DEDICATED, EDUCATED, ROCK SOLID TUTORIAL ON HOW TO GAIN STAGE CORRECTLY IN THE BOX?

Dont mean to shout...but reading some discussions makes one wonder if it is just myth

Specifically, I am using Addictive Drums mixed in with Slate drums / trilian basses/ enormous guitars often and with everything so big and PHAT am I ruining my mixes by NOT gain staging??

I heard from example someone saying their biggest breakthrough this year was realising that the drums were often too loud when mixing due to incorrect gain staging....
Old 30th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
JoaT's Avatar
Search for the thread "The reason most ITB mixes dont sound as good as analog mixes-restored".

The first post lays it down quite simply.

There was also a lot longer tutorial on proper gain staging outside the GS, but I don't remember the address.

Maybe someone else will.
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnomer09 View Post
Hey guys i know there are numerous discussions floating around about this but...

CAN ANYONE POINT ME TO A DEDICATED, EDUCATED, ROCK SOLID TUTORIAL ON HOW TO GAIN STAGE CORRECTLY IN THE BOX?

Dont mean to shout...but reading some discussions makes one wonder if it is just myth

Specifically, I am using Addictive Drums mixed in with Slate drums / trilian basses/ enormous guitars often and with everything so big and PHAT am I ruining my mixes by NOT gain staging??

I heard from example someone saying their biggest breakthrough this year was realising that the drums were often too loud when mixing due to incorrect gain staging....
I second this thumbsup

so you very knowledable vets.. at this subject

come and mentor us.. as I'm sure there are many who want a turtorial..

put something together give back to the recording/mixing community.....thanks in advance

God Bless

Christ is king,life,life is what he brings
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
Here:
The Reason Most ITB mixes don’t Sound as good as Analog mixes (restored)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Burrows View Post
The Reason Most ITB mixes don’t Sound as good as Analog mixes. This is a repost from another thread. Hope you find it usefull.

Ok, I'm going to try and give you An ITB education, as my over 24 years has taught me. Here is what I try and teach to students. I'll try and keep the math to a minimum.

First, I own a high end analog setup's Via an SSL 4K with 1/2' 2 Track YADA YADA, ICON with Killer OB FX And classic Compressors, YADA YADA/ Hybrid Setup Via AWS 900w/ 24 Channels Of Xlogic Killer OTB FX and Comps YADA YADA. Point is not to impress, or brag in any way, but to let you know everyday I work on a verity of systems. This has led me to The Following conclusion.

To learn to mix ITB coming from an analog world you must revisit what Voltage reference Analog consoles work at, and make appropriate adjustments to translate this to work ITB.

The first thing we must ask is simply what is 0VU. What does it mean to us. Lets use an SSL G+ as our point of reference mainly because I work on those every day. If we put a signal into the line input of the SSL so the channel meter reads 0vu, that also, is referenced as +4 or 1.23 volts. A kick ass SSL will go out to about +24DB, so we have approximately 20 DB of headroom above the 0 VU point on the meter before the signal goes to crap.

Now let take a common situation. A Client hands you a Protools session and you spread it out over the SSL console. Like most people today every track is recorded as hot as hell. Most pro Eng's will use proper gain staging and get the now slammed meters reading around 0VU or 1.23 volts. By lowering the line trim we now have a good level into the desk so we can Compress/Gate/EQ the Signal without it overloading the processing. Sounds simple right? Remember that all outboard equipment was designed to work around the 0VU/+4/ 1.23 Volt reference. So by putting the incoming signal at around this reference, your rack equipment will work better as well.

Why use a +4 reference? Well remember that the 1.23 volt reference came from the tube days where 1.23 volts was enough voltage over the plate noise that you still had a good signal to noise ratio, but still left room above 1.23 volts to allow for normal audio operations.

Now to ITB. Lets pretend we have the same setup as we did on the SSL. Client hands you a session that’s recorded hot as hell. Now most folks mixing ITB don't understand reference levels when relating it to Digital. To have the same amount of "headroom" as we do on the SSL we must create a reference of 0VU or 1.23 volts at -20 from 0DBFS or the top of the Digital scale.

So if you simply place the good old trim plugin as the very first plugin, you now have the ability to adjust your tracks to our Mixing (+4/1.23 volt) reference IE -20. Just like you did on the SSL. You have have the same amount of headroom. Now with your tracks properly gain staged, you can add EQ/dynamic plugins and not run out of headroom. You can also insert hardware and they will operate much better as they are operating at the level they were designed to operate at.

Plugins use the same reference at real equipment. Never try and drive them to the top of the Digital scale. Don't try and make your mix look like a master. You don't do that on an analog console, so why do we do it ITB?

The answer is simple. DAW meters suck Butt. There should be a meter mode in all DAW's that makes the meter at 3/4 scale equal -20 at 1.23 volts. Just like the old VU. This way, novices will quit corn-holeing their levels.

Something to think about. The noise floor of an analog desk is about -75 DB from our +4 reference. Our equivalent "problem level" below our -20 reference in digital is well over 100 DB. So please don't let people tell you analog has more "headroom" than digital. This is simply not true. Headroom is only relative to your noise floor below your reference. Remember if the volume is to low, turn up the darn speaker volume.

Running a Digital mix right to the top of the scale is like running your SSL mix buss where the VU meters are slammed all the way to the right and you are constantly hitting it at +25. No one will get a good sounding running the desk like that. You won’t get a good sounding mix in digital either.


So what does all this mean? Put simply, proper gain staging is essential to both analog and digital mixing. You just need to correlate the references between the two. Once you figure this out, I'll Guarantee your mixes will start to sound open and wide, just like the good old analog days.
Old 4th January 2011
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Can someone explain to me in laymans terms how to do this "proper gain staging ITB" in logic for instance? I'm a noob at this

Firstly what is a trim plugin.. will the stock logic gain plugin work? secondly how much db should i remove? What should i be aiming for RMS and peak?

Lastly should i keep my mix at this level throughout, even after adding saturation plugins, compressors, eq's etc.
Old 4th January 2011
  #7
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Sigma's Avatar
don't let the red light turn on..track monitoring pre fader metering ..mix monitoring post fader metering
Old 4th January 2011
  #8
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RKrizman's Avatar
 

I say set your 0 point at -20 on your converters then gain stage as you would in the analog world. Think of that -20 as 0 on a vu meter. The sweet spots of all your analog gear should accommodate this approach. Hover around -20 in your production, giving yourself 20 db headroom, and realize that as you approach digital 0 you're yanking on the nuts of your whole system.

You can get a lot more complicated and theoretical about it, but I think that's all you really need to know.

-R
Old 4th January 2011
  #9
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lectric's Avatar
 

Today Is the first day that I can recommend a tutorial in spanish. You can traslate it with a traductor on-line.

Sonimus.com Artículo - Tutoriales - Los volúmenes en la mezcla

Very easy and good explained.
Old 4th January 2011
  #10
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jupiter8's Avatar
 

Gain staging in a modern DAW (IE not PTHD) is by and large completely irrelevant. You won't get a "bigger" sound by gain staging like you had an SSL desk,that is a myth.

There are a few important things to have in mind though:
1. Some/many/most plugins are level dependent IE they distort more the more you push them. A lot aren't but some are. To give a paint by numbers solution there would make as much sense as saying "The reverb send should be about 3 but never over 7". You need to listen to find out how hard you hit them as with any other gear.
2. Workflow wise it pays of to have sensible levels as faders are more sensitive around nominal gain and you have no use of the level meters if they're constantly pegged to the top.
3. AD converters have a range where they operate optimal (usually around -18 or so) but it is far from unheard of of people even clipping AD converters though that is most likely a bad idea. Again try and see for your self.

And that's about it,now just wait for all the anecdotal evidence and cliquers to be come very vocal "I did and my mixes improved 150%" "I don't why i do it but all the cool kids do it" and my favourite "The intersample peaks" crowd who thinks you'll get intersample peaks all over the place as soon as a meter even is remotely close to red just because Paul Frindle said so but they completely misunderstood the subject.

Using just the least of common sense and it is a non issue.
Old 7th January 2011
  #11
Here for the gear
 

I know your talking about staying between -18 / -20db for each track to give 20db of headroom. But are you talking RMS or Peak levels because they are both completely different?

What should my rms levels be for each track? what should i keep my peaks levels be for each track?

If anyone can help please post a reply i just want to know what are the correct levels for ITB gainstaging.
Old 7th January 2011
  #12
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NeedsMoreFuzz's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trex View Post
I know your talking about staying between -18 / -20db for each track to give 20db of headroom. But are you talking RMS or Peak levels because they are both completely different?

What should my rms levels be for each track? what should i keep my peaks levels be for each track?

If anyone can help please post a reply i just want to know what are the correct levels for ITB gainstaging.
They're referring to RMS levels. Your peak level will vary depending on what you're recording --- a heavily-distorted guitar, for example, may only peak a couple of db above that, since it's not a very dynamic source, whereas a snare may well be hitting -6dbfs peak.
Old 7th January 2011
  #13
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NeedsMoreFuzz's Avatar
 

....... and really? we're having this conversation again?
Old 8th January 2011
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RKrizman View Post
I say set your 0 point at -20 on your converters then gain stage as you would in the analog world. Think of that -20 as 0 on a vu meter.

Most low to mid-grade converters/interfaces cannot be calibrated, though, so you are stuck with what they are calibrated at. Which makes me wonder, what input level are these gear usually/mostly calibrated at? Is there a standard setting that most manufacturers implement for interfaces that cannot be calibrated by the user?
Old 8th January 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 

I was looking for info and found this. It makes sense to me.

Gain Structure
Old 9th January 2011
  #16
Gear Head
 
Johan_Sthlm's Avatar
 

ITB Gain staging tutorial??

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtl777


Most low to mid-grade converters/interfaces cannot be calibrated, though, so you are stuck with what they are calibrated at. Which makes me wonder, what input level are these gear usually/mostly calibrated at? Is there a standard setting that most manufacturers implement for interfaces that cannot be calibrated by the user?
It's in your audio interface specs. Look for maximum or full scale input value (listed as + dBu). Should be somewhere between 15-25 dBu
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