Custom colours for meters - what do you use?

I was setting up the colour gradients for my meters, thinking that if i created a green area for a guide that i like signals to be it may be helpful.
Well, I’ve been using it for a week now and i really like this option - particularly as it’s something i’ve never cared to change in the past (Or could in some other DAWs):-
So it got me wondering what other people use and why they have the colours setup for each range.

I guess in my case there’s no obvious clip/red by default compared to other DAWs that i use and i’ve been cooking things a bit too much in Cubase, but setting a green range has helped alot as i usually try and aim for -12, with -6 my peak - previously the meters didn’t seem to signify a great deal to me.

I’m sure there’s guides that people have been taught in the past that work well for them, so interested to hear anyone elses opinion/setup as now i’ve stumbled across this it would be nice to set those levels with a little bit of science behind them.
Also, why would you set the master meter to be different zones?

I’ve had them like this for the last few versions. Makes it easy headroom-wise and I can see at a glance if its in the right ballpark or if there’s some low level activity going on.
Couple of niggly quirks with the meter colour prefs - The -6 level mark is a pixel out which makes it look inaccurate on setup, but is correct in the meters themselves. Plus I have to use a darker shade in the Master Meter compared to Channel to get the same gradient in the blue and green sections.
Nothing showstopping just irritating!

That’s interesting, why did you pick red between -6 and 0db? Do you stay out of that that region completely if it can be helped? I’m finding this really helpful on my input channels as i have outboard compressor for vocals and it’s nice being able to set up these meters to be a quick indication when other side of the room!

It’s to give some clear visual headroom - I like to hit on average -12 when tracking. Occasional red spikes are a safe warning. And like you I can get a quick feel for level from far away from the monitor.

Hi everyone. :smiley:
This is an interesting read
So I have been using Cubase since June last year. And I have orange meter colours with a black (standard overall colour theme).
I too was looking at setting up some other meter colours and levels to show if I’m clipping or the signal is too low etc.

What do you recommend for signal levels? I’m not a musician or have technical knowledge,just making music as a hobby :slight_smile:
Really appreciate any help


I am using a similar approach and customized my meter after I took a web tutorial about gainstaging. Was pretty helpful when I played with free audio mix stems. It really gave me the visibility about “too” hot channels when summing into sub groups and working with channel plugins etc.

In the end I learned a lot from the tutorial and even when I am today listening to an older song I mixed I notice that I boosted some areas too much.
So the meter now reflects the best practices in means of gainstaging.
I’d like that Cubase features different styles already…

It’s a deep subject, But i casually aim for -6db being my upper limit, -12db being the target/average if i can. Many others will have their own targets, that’s why i posted the question really. For vocals i’m compressing them coming in, so i can actually aim for an approximate high/low band quite easily which really helps later in the process as slight compression can just take the edge away from unwanted peaks.

But really, the targets depends on other factors, such as if you’re recording wide dynamic instruments (i.e. that fluctuate across a wide amplitude) - in which case i just make sure that -6db doesn’t get breached. For some reason i’ve been much higher with the initial meters default colours in Cubase as it wasn’t immediately obvious how close i was to clipping/0db (I came from Logic Pro previously which throws up a red light), hence why i looked into changing them, and it certainly is much better - but Cubase doesn’t seem to clip like other DAW’s, i can’t quite work it out, it doesn’t seem to break up so bad.

It’s most important if you’re recording external sources into Cubase, if you’re only using digital/vst instruments, being digital you haven’t got to worry about relative noise floor (Unwanted noise vs wanted) or clipping (When 0db is breached). Behind the scenes the digital computations means that the actual audio hasn’t broken up for VSTi’s- until it’s finally played back/processed as an audio signal… If that makes sense.
i.e. You can hit a VST instrument full gain so you distort that channel audibly, but if you route the output of that channel(1) into a group channel(2) and bring the gain down on channel(2) the signal from channel(1) will come through clean. The same doesn’t apply for external signals, if they come in hot there’s not much you can do about it afterwards, likewise if they’re too quiet you can hit noise floor issues, and reduce dynamic range.

But, mixing most music genres should benefit if you allow a bit of headroom on each track, and using colours to create a structure and deliberation towards reference levels can never be a bad thing.

Hi Skijumptoes

Thank you the info (cool handle btw :slight_smile: )

Of course I fully appreciate that this subject is as deep and intense (where is a mixing engineer when you need one? :laughing: ) I have read up some of this but as you rightly said there are so many variations on different levels
That’s where it gets really mysterious,ha,ha

What I have at the minute,is my meters coloured fully coloured orange.So I need to look at a setting up my meters a different shade of colour in case of clipping etc
I tend to use headphone quite a lot,so clipping would be obvious he,he and I to use Vst’s a lot in my music. :smiley:

Edit : So I had a play around and got my meters set up,nice shades of yellow,orange and red, using your recommended db settings,he,he
the colour of the meters look nice and functional :laughing: