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Core Principles of Live Sound and Mixing- Part 2- Gain Structure

 

Gain structure generally refers to setting proper input gain to achieve the best signal to noise ratio. Optimum gain is not just turning it up until it’s in the red as a lighting guy once told me! Hmmm.

Gain staging occurs at many places in the sound system- between the soundboard, signal processing, amplifiers, inside the soundboard itself, and from the various sources coming from the stage. The level coming into each piece of gear should be the same going out and the next device in the signal path should also be seeing the same level.

This is called ‘Unity Gain’. For example; if the output meter on your soundboard is showing 0dB (nominal) and the next device in the signal path is the system crossover, it should be seeing 0dB at the input and the signal leaving it should initially be 0dB, and so on down the line.

While some devices are used specifically to increase or decrease gain, and you may make adjustments to output levels to suit your needs, if you...

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