Clarification: Kick Anchor + Mix Bus Gain Staging

Hey all,

It is explained in Mixing Foundations I that when balancing the kick we are to do a couple of things:

  • Get a healthy level on the mix bus console emulator and feed it to our mix bus tape emulator
  • Maintain around -10dB Peak on our stereo out level meter using the output fader on the tape emulator

It isn’t clarified where the level should be at for the kick channel itself.

Additionally: as I progress through the mixdown I encounter another decision to maintain proper gain staging: do I pull all of my channel faders down, or simply the tape emulator output fader?

Is it all the same in the end as long as not one element is being pushed too hard?

Thanks very much for your help!

Part of this is going to be personal preference and I would imagine that others have different ways of doing this. I keep my kick at around -10dB Peak on the master buss. For me I shouldn’t have to adjust the kick after that. If I am going above -10dB then it is the instruments added AFTER that are pushing the signal up. When you get your kick at around -10dB it shouldn’t change. As you start to mix in other instruments they should be lower than that to maintain that level. After initial gain staging I will use the faders of each channel to get the final levels set. I only use plugin gain knobs to adjust levels going into the next plugin I will add a gain plugin as the last insert on a channel and do adjustments / automation on that and save the faders of each channel for final tweaks.

Thanks BBM - I agree that the goal here is to get the kick signal to - 10 dB on the master bus. Between the individual fader, console mix, and tape machine, there are three output levels which contribute. I suppose my question could be rephrased: what is an ideal channel level signal for the kick going into my mix bus?