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gain stage neglect (and workaround?)


andyr
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I know, I'm supposed to be careful and organized about gain staging, but usually I don't think about it too much, and everything works out all right. Now I have a project with numerous tracks and effects, and some automation, and the output meter really slams into the red. I like the basic mix and I don't want to start over, so my thought (and please let me know if this is insane, or if there is a better way to approach it) is to create a group for all the tracks, choose "volume" in group settings, and then pull everything down, so that the relative levels are kept intact, but I can put the master output level back up to 0.

Does this make sense?

Should I bounce all the tracks first, so the newly created tracks will be at unity, or is that just extra work?

Thanks,

Andy

 

iMac late 2013, OS 10.15.7, Logic 10.6.0, Scarlett 212
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With gain staging the adage couldn't be more true that an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Lol What you propose I would consider a work around at best; which is apparently what you're after anway.

I personally would just devote time to ensure every track at least has a reasonably good audio signal so that they're summed appropriately. I know it's work but it would be the right way to do it IMHO.

Your proposed method "should" work without having to bounce everything down by using grouped VCA's to control the overall volume of each group before the stereo mix channel. I personally wouldn't bounce the channels down so I could retain some control over the overall mix should I decide to do so. 

But as long as mix of each individual channel in each group is within reasonable limits I think your method should be fine.

Wait to get other's input as well if you can. There usually is always alternative methods to achieve the same result that other's may be able to contribute.

Edited by Maestro777

iMac Pro 27 | 3.2 GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon W | 256 GB RAM | Radeon Pro Vega 56 8 GB Graphics | Apollo x8p Audio Interface | Monterey OSX | Presonus Quantum 2632 | Celemony | ReVoice Pro | Cubase | StudioOne | Logic 10.7

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There's nothing wrong with turning the volume down of all the channel strip by an equal amount (you can in fact just select all the channel strip and drag one fader down) as long as:

  1. None of these channel strips have volume automation present. 
  2. There are no plug-ins on the Stereo Out channel strip. 

If those two conditions are not met then you'll need to find another solution, such as insert a Gain plug-in last on the Stereo Out channel strip and lower the gain there. 

My new Logic Pro Book is out!

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Thanks guys. I went ahead and tried my idea and it went well, except for one track I had some volume automation on. That automation is nothing difficult to recreate, so I'm going to delete it and then re-do it once the track is at a comparable volume level to all the others.

I didn't think of inserting a gain plug-in on the stereo out. That's a cool trick. I never insert plug-ins on the main to, but why not?

So, it wasn't too hard to fix the mess Id made, but I will definitely give gain staging more attention when tracking in the future!

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iMac late 2013, OS 10.15.7, Logic 10.6.0, Scarlett 212
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