Gain Staging Presets Manual

There is nothing magical here! All these presets are very utilitarian and designed to make your workflow easier and quicker. They are starting points that help you be more consistent and confident in your recording and mixing.

Before anything else, read our post about gain staging.  If you are unfamiliar or unsure about what “Gain Staging” is all about, this would be a great place to begin before adapting any of these presets to your own workflow.

Most of these are to setup compressors. The standard parameter is -2 dB of gain reduction at an input signal of -18dBFS, and an output adjusted to maintain the -18 dBFS level. (Exceptions are noted below.) A few other types of plugins are included when they needed adjustments to have an accurate and consistent meter reading.

Each of the presets are named in a way that should be self-explanatory. Included below are a few extra explanations if they seemed necessary. The “starting points” are set to typical settings for ratio, attack and release times, etc.  For example, the attack times may be set very fast for limiting.

Remember: These are just for setting a good place to begin, so that you know you are starting with matched levels and consistent gain. All of the settings, of course, can then be adjusted for you own needs.

UAD Gain Staging

  • UAD API 2500
  • UAD Chandler Limited Zener Limiter
  • UAD dbx 160
  • UAD elysia alpha master
  • UAD elysia alpha mix
  • UAD elysia mpressor
  • UAD Empirical Labs Distressor
    Presets for all four of the ratio settings as well as the “all in” setting.
  • UAD Fairchild 670
    The Fairchild meters show 0 at an input of -10dBFS. The Headroom setting has been adjusted to compensate for this. 
  • UAD Helios Type 69
  • UAD Manley Variable Mu
  • UAD Neve 1073
  • UAD Oxide Tape
    The meter has been recalibrated to be accurate, the internal scale for the Oxide is 0 = -12 dbFS.
  • UAD Pultec EQP-1A
  • UAD Pultec HLF-3C
    The preset sets up the Abbey Road EQ trick used on reverb sends and adjusts the levels.
  • UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor
  • UAD SSL G Bus Compressor
  • UAD Summit Audio TLA-100A
  • UAD Teletronix LA-2
  • UAD Teletronix LA-2A Gray
  • UAD Teletronix LA-2A Silver
  • UAD Teletronix LA-3A
  • UAD Tube-Tech CL 1B
  • UAD Tube-Tech CL 1B mk II
  • UAD UA 175-B
  • UAD UA 176
    One of the presets really pushes the headroom to bring out the vintage character of this compressor.
  • UAD UA 1176 Rev A
  • UAD UA 1176AE
  • UAD UA 1176LN Rev E
  • UAD Valley People Dyna-mite
    If you use this, you know there is nothing you can do to tame it!
  • UAD Vertigo VSC-2

Requires UAD v. 11

You can find more UAD presets on the Preset Page!

Waves Gain Staging

  • Abbey Road RS124 Compressor
  • CLA-2A Compressor / Limiter
  • CLA-3A Compressor / Limiter
  • CLA-76 Compressor / Limiter
    Variations for the Bluey and Blacky, as they are quite different in how they handle the levels.
  • dbx-160 Compressor / Limiter
  • H-Comp Hybrid Compressor
  • Kramer HLS Channel
    The meter has been calibrated to 0 = -12 dbFS so that it accurately reads an input signal of -18 dBFS.
  • Kramer PIE Compressor
  • The meter has been calibrated to 0 = -12 dbFS so that it accurately reads an input signal of -18 dBFS.
  • Puigchild Compressor
  • SSL G Master Bus Compressor
  • V-Comp
    The “max_limit” preset is an exception to the -2 dB of gain reduction.

You can find more Waves presets on the Preset Page!

IK Multimedia Gain Staging

  • Black 76 Limiting Amplifier
  • Bus Compressor
  • Dyna-Mu
  • Precision Comp/Limiter
    The “max_limit” preset is an exception to the -2 dB of gain reduction.
  • Vintage Tube Compressor/Limiter Model 670
  • White 2A Leveling Amplifier
Developed by chief engineer Robert Conlon.

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