Setting GAIN Question

Good Afternoon Folks… I’m fairly new to the world of DAW, having been a new customer early 2019 (Elements 10.5)

My question today is if anyone has feedback on whether it is better to Gain Stage from;
Ex. Guitar Track Wave (has plenty of headroom & not clipping)

Should I Gain Stage from…
~ the clip itself
~ Menu = Audio, Process, Gain
~ Pre = under Routing in the Mix Console
~ The intended Plugin such as a VST Amp Rack
~ Or a combination

I’ve noticed recommendations for putting things at -18 to -15db on the Master,
but say there are multiple tracks (4) of the same guitar,each track would have to come around -24,
so that by the time you get to a Group Ch or the Master it all adds up to around -18 or so?

Any kind of advice is Greatly Appreciated!!!

Kind Regards and Thanks Again, Pete

I prefer to do it from that option. it is easy to keep control once you start to mix to have it all there IMO.

During recording…

Concerning the plugin: I would suggest that the signal level that enters the plugin is decent (try how it sounds to go into the plugin with various levels) - this is the only stage that will be critical soundwise. For the remaining choices you will not experience sound differences.

Gain staging is by far not as crucial in the digital domain as it used to be in the analogue world.

All the best!


If I’m recording guitar, depending on if it’s dry or processed I may try and get the input signal around -3db/-6db. Leaves a little headroom but gets a hot enough take or sometimes I smash it at a hot zero :smiling_imp: …lol

Truth is, It all depends on processing/dry but when recording live inputs, I find myself gain staging throughout the signal to achieve the sound I’m looking for.
One way works for some things, the next time might be different.

That said, GS on the input/pre to get a clean level. I may shoot for -18 to -15db If I plan on processing the signal.
After Gain staging and adding processing I’ll adjust the input to have the signal hit around the -6db mark and the TOTAL Mix output I try to achieve anywhere between -12db to -6db (-14 LUFS) Depending on where/if I want to go with mastering.

Just note, this is for analog input signal. It’s a different story if it’s 100% ITB mixing.
What works for some…