I watched the video and started reading a little bit more about gain staging as well as “related” topics (e.g. different type of meters and their purposes, which we discussed in my previous topic: Master level meter higher than the sole added track) and the first questions begin to raise for me… Could you help me to understand?
So, I understood that usually the meters on the tracks are peak meters (very fast response to signal and all transient catching) and that the unity of measure in these meters is usally the dbFS, so that when the signal reaches/exceeds the 0 db level, we know clipping is occuring. Therefore, at a recording level we can easily avoid clipping looking at the peak meter and adjusting signal level so that it is below that 0 db level.
On the master bus, instead, we usually find average meters, like the K-20/RMS meter which is the default in Ardour. These meters (as far as I understood) measure the average loudness of the signal, so that we can have a general picture of how loud our track is.
Please let me know if I got it well…
That said, I’ve watched a plenty of videos about recording and mixing and all of them say to leave enough headroom - which should be the space between the max level of the signal and threshold where teh signal begins to clip (0 db in a peak meter?..) - which can assure you the possibiltiy to add plugins and processors (which will inevitably add gain to your track) in order to manipulate how your track sounds.
However, there seems to be no agreement on how much headroom to leave in the individual tracks (and consequently at which level record the input) to have the best amount of headroom… So that’s my first question: at which level should I record my instruments/how much headroom do I have to leave in my tracks? Do I have to calculate it roughly somehow?
The second questions is about the master bus: since on the master bus I usually don’t have a peak meter, but an average meter like the K-20/RMS of ardour, how can I correctly read this meter? Is still bad if the meter goes on the yellow/red area (perhaps at about +3/+6 db)? Is still clipping happening? (it shouldn’t be, because 0 db in a K-20/RMS meter is NOT equal 0 dbFS i guess…) or it is just saying that the track is “pretty loud” but it’s perfectly fine?
The videos I saw also state that a certain amount of headroom has to be left in the master bus too, in order to allow to raise the overall volume of the track without struggling at the mastering stage. Also in this case, I didn’t find no agreement on how much headroom to leave… So I was wondering: how much headroom do I have to leave in the master bus? Do I have to calculate it roughly somehow either?
Please let me know if I got something wrong and correct me at any level of my reasoning, it’ll help me to understand, of course =).
Thank you again!