Volume levels input / output

Hi guys,

I am wondering what’s is the optimum input and output gains to use with a Stratocaster.
I use some plugins (tube scream, overdrive) and I have noticed to many noise, but with others, there is none. I think that I am not setting the levels correctly.

Sorry about my ignorance…


Me too… These threads have been helpful to me in the past for understanding some basics:


Thanks a lot

I’m wondering what the best setting is for recording with a DAW?
(using a guitar with passive pickups, modelling the amps with the ModDuo)

Do you set the audio interface (focusrite scarlet solo in my case) input to the highest? Because I already have a reasonable high volume when I just turn it open to level 1 or 2.

Do you keep your ModDuo output as close to 0 ? Or you lower it so you can put your audio interface’s input higher? (if there’s a good reason to ?)

I prefer to keep my ModDuo input as close to ‘0’, to avoid clipping when I get over, or to loose details when I go under, or do I have it wrong?

I can record clean, but when I normalize the track, the noise ‘floor’ levels up. Wich isn’t what I need. How do you guys deal with this?
I read in the following article that it’s best to record to your tracks at -18db to have enough headroom later for mixing/mastering your tracks. I’m wondering why this is, as you can record at 0db and slide the VU meters down to create more headroom, no?

For my hardware (Duo output and recording interface), I set everything at unity gain, which means that there is no boosting or attenuation of the signal at any of the gain stages and reduces signal loss and introduction of unwanted noise. The output of my Duo is set at 0 and my interface is set to unity. Both the Duo output and Interface Input use balanced connections.
My setup is the MOD Duo going into my KMI K-Mix with balanced cables. When everything is set to unity gain, the output showing on my Duo matches the input level showing on my K-Mix.

That is hardware…

Setting Levels…
As for the level, setting to an area where it just gets into the yellow (-18 to -12) is perfectly acceptable and recommended. Be aware that this is RMS (it’s a type of averaging the signal) and not peak. Most meters on a DAW are showing peak so if it jumps into the yellow you are fine.
In theory, getting the signal as hot as possible means that you will have the highest fidelity audio. However, in the real world you can get lots of clipping and unwanted issues. Modern converters are so good that playing the hot signal game isn’t even worth it. Play it safe and remove the worry of clipping your signal.
When mixing, it’s recommended to attenuate (digitally) so that you optimize the plugins which are designed to work with signals around -18dBFS (RMS), their sweet spot.

In both the physical world and digital world, it’s all about gain staging… and making great music.

Here is an article I found about this:


Alright, learned a lot now about ‘gain staging’ now, thanks for this link you posted.
Watched a few videos about it too, if I knew this before, my previous mixes would probably be a lot easier/better.
Anyway, will practice tomorrow to get a correct recording, by playing with inputs/outputs with the mod and interface and daw metering.

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