9. Levels & Metering in Mixbus

Overview

This video covers setting levels as well as the various meters in Mixbus:

  • Gain staging and appropriate levels for mixing*
  • Selecting multiple tracks at once
  • Channel meters and selecting the meter point
  • Editor Window channel meters
  • Master bus meters (K-Meter, Phase Correlation Meter)
  • The Meter Bridge

* Student Michael Schatte helpfully submitted a correction/submission for gain staging based on his experience with hardware consoles. He recommends setting the initial channel levels by using the trim control, and then adjusting faders throughout the course of the mix. His explanation makes good sense to me so I am sharing it here and will update the video as time permits.

"..you imply that the input trim control on each channel sits “before the fader” in the channel signal flow. However, I believe this actually sits at the top of the channelstrip (virtually speaking), because you’ll notice increasing input trim affects things like the channel compressor threshold which therefore comes after.

My point is this: when you discuss gain staging, you start by lowering all of your channel faders to put the meter in the desired range (-24 to -12), but by doing so you're putting them in a range of greatly decreased fader adjustment resolution (I believe they are setup like normal console faders, which have their finest adjustment range centred around the 0db marker, a range which gets quite a bit coarser below 0), and meanwhile all of the plugins ahead of the fader are still getting hit with the too-hot for digital signal.

Thus, I propose that what you should be doing to gain stage the mix from the start is bring the individual channel signal levels down using the input trim control for each channel, leave each fader at unity, and thereby achieve a quick working mix balance using only the input trims. This also means that plugins (Mixbus and third party) will see the correct signal level (they are often designed to receive signal around -18db to -12db if I’m not mistaken) and sound/operate at their intended level, while you then retain full fine adjustment later in the mix using the faders. Owning and working on an analog console myself, this is the approach used and I’m lead to believe the kind folks at Harrison would have us do the same with their software.

Again, you can correct me if I’m mistaken, but if you try the above method I think you may find a sonic benefit in addition to the workflow benefit. There is nothing nicer than having all faders at 0 with a balanced mix to start (well okay, maybe a few things in life are nicer than that, but not many!)"

Thank you Michael! - Vince


Resources

Mix Tips - Gain Staging in Mixbus (v3,4) by Harrison Consoles