Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

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The Elf
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by The Elf »

It really isn't so complicated! :shock:

Record at healthy levels, allowing adequate headroom. -10dBFS peak is a good rule of thumb.
Maintain the peak level such that that with the channel's fader at unity the peak remains as recorded (e.g. at -10dBFS). In other words, if an EQ boost adds some gain, then trim the EQ's output to get the peaks back down to -10dBFS. If a compressor reduces the peak, then trim the compressor's make-up gain to bring the peaks back up to -10dBFS.

Also do the same through any Group Channels.

Errr... That's it! :lol:
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by mikemandt »

@ The Elf

yes but we must know the quantum theory behind all of this otherwise how will we hack the mainframe

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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by stingray »

profdraper wrote:
stingray wrote:The basic signal flow through a channel is in the following order:

PRE section (Phase, Trim, Filter)
Inserts 1-6 pre (position exchangeable with Strip)
Strip (position exchangeable with Inserts 1-6)
Sends pre
Channel Fader / Mute
Inserts 7-8 post
Sends post
Pan
Channel Output

Note that when you set the channel meters to "input" you are metering the signal BEFORE it passes through the channel... in other words you are metering the channel input (or what is recorded on the hard disk) BEFORE it arrives at the PRE section.
This is incorrect...
AFAIK this is entirely correct. Not trying to score points here but you may be misunderstanding the precise nature of the signal flow through a channel.
profdraper wrote:Create a mono audio track with its input set to the tone...
Set the mixer meter positon to Input; put the Audio track in input monitoring or record.
Now try to pull that Pre gain down on the audio track and it is clear this has no effect on the input level (only the master fader output).
No, the PRE gain still has an effect on the level going into the channel, it's just that you cannot see this in the meters because the meters are set to "input". If you listen you can still hear the gain change.
profdraper wrote:The PRE function does not effect input levels, is only a gain stage first in the output chain.
Not sure what you mean by "output chain". What we have is a channel input signal which is passed through the various stages of the channel as outlined above, and then there is the channel output. So No, the PRE function does effect the input level going into the channel. And Yes, the PRE trim is indeed a gain stage which comes first in the signal chain of an audio channel.

Finally, in my description in the last paragraph above I am talking about metering and only metering. When you choose to switch the metering of all the channel meters to "input" you are metering the channel input signal BEFORE it gets to the PRE section. This is why when you move the input trim there is no change on the meters. It's as simple as that.

If, after this description, you still think it does not work like this I'd suggest you indicate it directly to Steinberg.

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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by Patanjali »

When using 32bit floating files as the default Cubase internal format, which are virtually impossible to clip, gain-staging isn't as critical, except for where the DAW interfaces to fixed integer sources and targets, which usually means with:
a) Inputs to the ADCs of your audio hardware, usually 24bit integer.
b) Outputs to the DACs of your audio hardware, usually 24bit integer.
c) Rendering to fixed bit-depth audio formats, like for 16bit WAV files.
d) Inputs to some level-dependent FX like compressors, maximisers and ditherers.
e) Output from ditherers and maximisers, which should not be changed at all.
f) Outputs feeding broadcast equipment.

For these, gain levels need to be optimised to use the most of the bandwidth without clipping. At any other stage, gain staging helps the meters give a good idea of what the signal is doing at that point, because meters slamming into max scale or hardly registering do not help you to make finer level adjustments when required, or track problems.

Note that all these calibration 'standards' are rules-of-thumb generic setups, and do NOT guarantee that any particular signal will not go full scale. They just give some predictability, but which one you use will depend upon whether its required (as for broadcast), or what suits the genre(s) you do best.


However, if using fixed integer internal formats, gain staging is CRITICAL to avoiding clipping, as every audio track is a potential overload point when it is being recorded.

Note that Cubase uses 32bit floating internally, so it is only at points where audio files are created (recording or in-place rendering) that levels are critical.


When doing pre-recording level checks, note that for acoustic sources, like vocals or instruments, the levels encountered once the artists get into the performance while recording can be substantially above those from the artists in the more subdued level-check phase. Make sure you get them to do the level checks with a bit more gusto.
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by Jarno »

Patanjali wrote:gain-staging isn't as critical
+1

Your post, sir, was spot on. Can't add or remove anything. Pure fact and well explained.
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by shadowfax »

[quote="roy_mattie"]
2) If you want a target goal for input levels, use the K-14 or K-20 options in the metering options.

I just cannot find these options :? can someone tell me where they are please.. :)

thanks, Kevin
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by roy_mattie »

Read my post #33, as there's a pic to show where to find it.
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by shadowfax »

roy_mattie wrote:Read my post #33, as there's a pic to show where to find it.
thanks..never used the this meter before..no wonder i couldn't find it.. :lol:
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by roy_mattie »

[emoji106] It's actually quite useful when building a mix from scratch!
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by BriHar »

profdraper wrote:Set the mixer meter positon to Input; put the Audio track in input monitoring or record.
Now try to pull that Pre gain down on the audio track and it is clear this has no effect on the input level (only the master fader output).
Similarly, record that tone on the same audio track, playback, same results.
Exactly as expected because the channel meter is now monitoring the input to the track before the Pre Gain control!
You've been drawing the wrong conclusion.
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by mikko »

roy_mattie wrote:Click on the 'Racks' button, and select 'Pre'. I believe this is what you're looking for, which may not be visible by default.
hi there, I am using Cubase AI 8, and in the Channel rack there is no "Pre" section :(

So, would you recommend any free VST plugin to trim the gain ? or any other trick ?

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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by The Elf »

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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by mroekalea »

Interested opinions and workflows in here.

+1
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Re: Help me understand setting up GAIN STAGING in Cubase 8

Post by alexis »

I use these free faders (insert of course), but have not quite figured out when it's best to use them vs. the trim knob.
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