Over To You: Too Many Level Meters, Help!

Terry 42 | Read time: 2 mins
0dB gain staging vu meters
Last updated 30 August, 2017


What’s the trick to keeping everything sounding great when you have multiple VU meters to worry about? We answer that question today.

Digital DJ Tips member Psychofrakulator writes: “Recently I realised what a huge number of level meters there are all around me to keep track of! First there are the ones in the software. I mix externally, so I also have the mixer to look at. And the audio interface. And if I stream over the internet, the website has its own volume settings to keep track of too. Not to mention that I stream through an external PC (my “mixer out” goes into the sound card of a desktop PC), so there are settings to look out for too!

“And while I try and somehow succeed to keep them all at the same level (at least in terms of visually “keeping out of the red”), it sometimes gets a little overwhelming. Especially once I realise that certain volume settings are less exact than others.

“So far I managed to always get good sound out of all of them, but you can imagine when you have to check the levels of the levels of the levels of the levels of the levels of the levels of the levels, one starts to wonder if there is anything that might be useful to know to help!”

Digital DJ Tips says:

That is why you do “zero dBing…”. Basically during soundcheck you set all levels equal to 0db – basically, the “top of the green” on your meters – with the loudest part of a “reference song” (a nice loud track you do this with every time, so you’re familiar with it).

When everything is green in your line of levels, then the ONLY thing you will ever touch again is the gain controls on your controller. As long as your set the gain to again be in the 0db mark everything else will even out.

It’s simple to say of course, but everyone’s set up (and level of anxiety about this!) is different, so we thought we’d ask the audience for their personal techniques for doing this, too.

So, over to you! How do you “keep out of the red” across all of your levels? Do you have any set-up tricks you’d like to share? Please share your thoughts below!

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