Proper gain staging for live set

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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bt12
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:40 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Proper gain staging for live set

Post by bt12 » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:31 am

In my set up there are three main variables that can change the gain of my signal: Abelton, my interface, and mixer. I'm using ableton to DJ.

At what point in the chain is it best to boost or attenuate the signal? Have ableton and the interface at 0db and leave it all to the mixer, or since the interface, in my case, is nicer than the mixer should I adjust the level at the interface stage and leave the mixer at 0db on the input and output channel, so that only the interface is adjusting the signal? My understanding is that is would be best to only have one variable changing the signal and everything else at 0db.

thoughts?

Ben_Binary
Posts: 467
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:08 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Proper gain staging for live set

Post by Ben_Binary » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:01 am

Set Ableton and soundcard to 0db then use the mixer to control the gain.

Set the gain knob to what suits and use the faders to adjust volume on the fly.

I believe Volume is THE most important thing in audio and often gets overlooked in the loudness wars...
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willdahbe
Posts: 499
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:35 am

Re: Proper gain staging for live set

Post by willdahbe » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:05 am

Errrr... I usually put a utility on each one of my tracks set to -14dB when djing. It's common that a few channels get stacked up and play at the same time, so I like to leave a bit of headroom.

This allows me to slam the faders on my apc40 all the way up with about 7dB before clipping on the channel so to allow for boosting eq's and fx if needed. Also, I have a utility on the master channel at about -7dB.

The rest depends on the system I'm going into. I run a balanced or unbalanced stereo out from my motu ultralite mk3.

Depending on how hot of a signal the mixer/pa can take before distortion happens dictates what output level I set my sound card to and let them turn it up from their end. Not sure if this is proper but it's seemed to work quite well for me.

pencilrocket
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Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:46 am

Re: Proper gain staging for live set

Post by pencilrocket » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:51 am

Send boosts the level. That's annoying.
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willdahbe
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:35 am

Re: Proper gain staging for live set

Post by willdahbe » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:18 am

pencilrocket wrote:Send boosts the level. That's annoying.
Try turning the plugin all the way to wet on your send channel. If the plugin has independent wet/dry settings make sure the dry signal is turned down also.

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