I think this is a bit of a noob question, but I’m trying to work out the best workflow for gain-staging to get my head around it. I don’t record into Cubase, I strictly use samples and VSTis.
If I have a synth bassline playing, for instance, and the channel fader is pulled down to -10dB, should I be using the channel’s input gain or the VSTi’s output to match the fader so that the signal is also peaking at -10dB or is there no relationship between the fader position and signal peak?
I’ve heard the best gain-staging practice is that all faders shouldn’t be too far from unity (0dB) for the mix to sound roughly correct as having faders pulled down too far or pushed up too high can complicate things. I may be simplifying that explanation though. Is it more of a legacy thing or does it still very much apply to ITB mixing? I tend to mix softly (master bus peaking at approx -6dB) so my channel faders are generally all set quite low and far off from unity.
I tend to set the loudest element of my track (usually the kick drum) so it peaks at -10dB but depending on the source, that could mean I pull the fader down to -15dB or only -5dB. Should I be using the input gain so that 0 on the fader is 0dB (or just below) on the peak meter so when I pull the fader down to -10dB, it’ll peak at -10dB or rather should I leave the fader at unity and adjust the input gain so the kick (as the loudest element of track) is peaking at -10dB and do this for all the sounds I bring into the project so when they’re at unity on the faders, they’re hitting -10dB peak, meaning that if I want a particular sound -6dB low than the kick I just have to drop the fader by -6dB rather than some arbitrary amount?
Or should I not be worrying about the input gain as I have the idea of gain staging all wrong?
Thanks for any advice, I hope this makes sense - my wording might not be that clear.