You are here

input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby hopscotch44 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:15 am

Hello,
I have a very basic question, asked after watching a youtube video about gain staging in DAW. I'm trying to get deeper into the funcionality of REAPER. Any guidance is appreciated.

The video recommended an external plugin that was essentially a fader and gain control, to be inserted on each track as a first plug in. The process was to assess highest raw input level and reset max gain on each channel to see all max levels at unity...this is before any other work is done. This was to leave headroom especially in the Master fader level from the outset.

My question is....(and i have looked)....is this possible with some default DAW control? and is it generally a good idea?

I'm assuming recorded levels to be optimum in context.

I hope this is not too simple a question?
hopscotch44
Poster
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:55 am
 

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby Kwackman » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:37 am

Cubase has this built in to it's mixer.
I do use it, mostly on tracks I've recorded rather than software instruments, where I just use their own output control.
Following advice learnt here, I record acoustic guitar with LOTS of headroom, and on playback use the channel input gain control to lift it up 9 or 12dB, still making sure I've got at least 12dB of headroom on the mix channel with the channel fader at unity.
It means that any other plug-ins used on that channel are getting input levels at a sane level.
That workflow works for me, YMMV.
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:21 am

It depends on the other plug-ins that you are using. If a plug-in is only designed to work with a limited range of signals then a gain control before that plug-in could be useful. However, most well designed plug-ins will work over a wide range of signal levels.

In Reaper you can also change the level of a clip by pressing F2 and moving the level slider so no extra plug-in is required.
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 6303
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby CS70 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:29 pm

If you record everything together (or you manage to keep a similar healthy average/peak levels when recording each track) you probably don't.

But it's often the case, especially with tracks recorded at different times with different kit, that the levels aren't comparable. The you need a way to bring the levels in the same ballpark - it's just much easier to mix that way - and a way to raise or attenuate the track's base level is useful. A gain plugin is one of such ways.
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1835
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby hopscotch44 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:45 pm

thanks for those replies.

first off i loaded JSutily plugin from the Reaper stock plugins and will see how that feels....it's a bit utilitarian but will do for experimenting.

any nice free GUI's around?

cheers everyone
hopscotch44
Poster
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:55 am
 

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby djangodeadman » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:13 pm

hopscotch44 wrote:thanks for those replies.

first off i loaded JSutily plugin from the Reaper stock plugins and will see how that feels....it's a bit utilitarian but will do for experimenting.

any nice free GUI's around?

cheers everyone

Blue Cat Audio do a nice (and free) gain plug-in.
djangodeadman
Regular
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Brighton

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby mashedmitten » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:45 pm

I'm curious about this now. Doesn't proper gain staging eliminate the need for a gain plug? Or are we talking 3rd party tracks where you didn't have control of staging from the start? Or am I missing else?

Sorry for the OT, if it needs to be moved to its own thread, please do.
mashedmitten
Frequent Poster
Posts: 770
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:42 pm
Nate

My sole goal in life is to make people projectile spew their beverages, from mouth and nostrils, all over their screens, keyboards, themselves and others, over my incessant bollox.
 

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:10 pm

mashedmitten wrote:I'm curious about this now. Doesn't proper gain staging eliminate the need for a gain plug? Or are we talking 3rd party tracks where you didn't have control of staging from the start? Or am I missing else?

Sorry for the OT, if it needs to be moved to its own thread, please do.

Well, using a gain plugin is one of the tools for proper gain staging :)

Gain staging means simply to make sure that every gain point in your chain keeps a level within the optimal parameters for the downstream - including the software ones.
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1835
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:37 pm

Although there's no dedicated control by default, Reaper does, like Cubase, have a pre-insert gain parameter, and that can be shown as an automation lane, or overlaid on the media lane. So I'd use clip envelope to edit and sort levels of individual clips. Then this to set the rough level with my post-inserts fader at unity. Then apply any dynamics processing to get me as near to a decent static mix balance as possible. Then, finally, automate the channel fader to fine-tune everything once your processing and FX are applied.
User avatar
Mixedup
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4089
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Laputa

Re: input gain plug-ins: do i need them?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:11 am

I'd still suggest changing the level in the clip properties rather than using a plug-in. It has the bonus of displaying the waveform at the new level as well.
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 6303
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest