Gain staging techniques

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Gain staging

This article documents a list of techniques for gain staging audio systems.

DAW & Console

Use a test tone to set the gain on the console so the tone equals 0VU and -18dbfs on the DAW. [1]


Piezo tweeter & test tone method

For this method you will need A piezoelectric tweeter (these are usually under $4) and a oscillator that generates a 400 Hz test tone. [2]

Internal gain staging

  1. Solo a microphone input channel set to pre fader listen (PFL)
  2. Make sure the EQ and other settings on this channel are bypassed or set flat
  3. Connect the oscillator to that channel.
  4. Connect the piezoelectric tweeter to an output channel where you can feed the oscillator to it (such as a control room out or headphone out).
  5. Turn on the oscillator and turn up the preamp gain on the channel until a buzz emanates from the tweeter.This buzz is distortion expressed in harmonic energy.
  6. Turn the Gain preamp down until it stops (but no further).
  7. Take note of any peak light indicator values that accommodate the buzz.
  8. Set the channel fader to unity gain

This channels preamp gain setting on this mixer is done. Duplicate for each microphone input channel.

VU meter image.png
This page documents recording or mixing techniques but needs more content.

please edit the page and add more techniques.


  1. Gearslutz gain staging and mixer calibration.Fletcher reply.29th June 2010, 10:46 AM
  2. Sweetwater - A cool test procedure for aligning your gain stages