Gain Staging - Using Clip Gain, Trim or Master Fader b4 Hitting MixBuss Processing

Hi, anyone can answer this question. I am just curious as to what is everyone’s process, and why?

I most of the time find myself lowering tracks using clip-gain if they come in too hot, or sometimes I have to bring them up. Something else I do is lower the master fader that all auxes are being routed to, this way the signal going to the mixbuss is not clipping any plugins. Other times none of this matters, but I am just curious as what everyone else is doing and why? Thank you

I use clip gain mostly. I don’t like the sound of hitting plugins hard from the start.
By the time everything gets to my mix buss it’s often below -10.
All my plugins on the mix bus do a little bit to colour and bring the level up to a final mix level. (Can’t tell you what that is technically. It’s all done by sound and sight.)
Plugins don’t usually generate desirable artefacts when pushed like analog gear did. To get around that I use lot’s of plugins each doing a little bit to get the flavour I remember from the analog gear being driven hard.



Thanks Tchad for your answer, I appreciate your time!

I use clip gain as well, especially if things are wildly out of balance. I like to have the master meter at -10 or so and find I don’t have to turn things up or down to compensate for how loud I’m mixing in the room. For the most part I dont have to worry about this because of how “hot” some engineers like to record these days but it was more of an time management/headroom issue 10 years ago.


Thank Dereck! yeah seems like clip gain is the way to go. Sometimes I also use the master fader that goes into the mixbuss to lower the whole mix if the level going into the plugins is too much.