Levels Demystified (Part 1)

Elementary My Dear Watson!


If you are new to recording or mixing, or even a seasoned pro, the topic of ‘setting levels’ is bound to come up sooner rather than later.  In fact setting the right level for a track seems so basic it’s not often given much thought.  Conventional wisdom seems to be, ‘Just make sure it doesn’t clip and you’ll be OK!’  Now that’s not too hard is it?

The truth is setting the right levels is not hard at all – once you know what you are doing!  Until then you are likely to have many a fight with your faders as you attempt to turn your recorded masterpiece into a Grammy award winning mix.

So if terms like dBFS, dBVU, Peak, RMS, and VU Meters have you scratching your head.  Or you cross your fingers and hope for the best when setting levels in a recording or mixing session…Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and you’ll be up to speed on all things ‘level’ in no time!


If you can’t wait to find out exactly what levels you should be setting when recording and mixing don’t worry.  We’ve got you covered!  Just record at approximately -18dBFS (RMS not Peak) and you should be fine.  For everyone else, read on!

Levels Demystified Part 2

For a FULL Course on Gain staging, Click Here


  1. Hey Tassy. Great video! Thanks for the link. I love me some Mixbus! I’m actually going to watch it again and count how many times the signal is gain staged before hitting the Master Fader.

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