I am using reaper, line 6 toneport, and gearbox software. After laying down all the tracks and adjusting their levels accordingly how do I do the final mix (adjust things and make it sound pretty) in reaper?

Also, how do I properly set the levels of my effects pedals (such as distortion and overdrive). I read that I should turn the gain down as low as possible, but most of my pedals only have a distortion or drive setting, and then the volume/level setting. Do I turn down the distortion or turn down the volume.

Also, I record all of my tracks so they are under 0.0 db and dont clip, and they sound fine at normal listening volumes (atleast from my monitors) but when I finally render the tracks to mp3 I can barely hear it and must turn the volume up a little bit. Why is that, how can I fix it?
I think that the thing about gain meant distortion as opposed to volume. It probably meant not that you should just turn your distortion knob all the way to the left, but that you should use as little as you can while still getting teh tone you want. I.E just don't overdo it.

Is this dip in volume you notice on your mp3's when you compare it to other commercial mp3s? if so,l it is probably beacsue the commercial mp3s have been limited and compressed to male them as loud as possible without going over 0db and clipping. You might want to try creating a master bus track in reaper, seeing what it measure to in DB. If it's below 0, you should turn it up until it reaches 0, but dont go over else it will clip. if ity is still to quite you should try some limiting or compression on the master bus.
For the gain, I'd take sam_i_am's advice and go with 'enough gain'. You'll want some breakup, but you don't want to saturate the sound either.

As for the overall volume, what I do is import finished .wav bounces into audacity so's I can make an MP3 version. What I do is import it twice, which pumps the volume up to around that of most conventional albums, and it doesn't clip.

What you have to remember is that modern music is so over-mastered that it has zero dynamic range and is simply as loud as possible so that clubs will play it. Don't expect to be able to match that amount of amplitude and retain a "good" sound without proper mastering software!

The good news is that a growing number of people are catching on to the idea of having music that actually sounds sonically pleasant, and these people really won't care if they have to crank their speakers up a bit.

As for compressing the master fader, you need to be very careful for two reasons:
- Your mix WILL die to some degree, you'll be converting a proportion of clarity into mush.
- Because the master fader has lots of different instruments on, you have to comprimise the ADSR settings which can lead to quite a horrible, glitchy mix if you aren't careful.
What you're asking is sort of like asking a guitarist "I really want to play guitar, how do I do it?".

Basically mixing involves:
Creative FX (you might not need this, but PC's can do things pedals can't)
Levels (volume)
EQing and reverb (to separate tracks - make sure no 2 tracks in the same location take up the same frequency range, and similarly make sure some tracks are clearer than others. also EQ can improve the sound - http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm)

Then you master it, not necessary really.

You can find some good info at Hometracked as well as SoundOnSound's Mix Rescue series.
Just because you record in at 0.0db doesnt mean that your mixer isnt cutting down heaps.
Open up your mixer and play back the song to see if it's your mixer, in that case, just turn the master volume up.
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How exactly do I go about equing and what not in reaper?

I know I click the fx button on the track I want to eq, then what? ReaEQ and ReaComp?

What do I do with the settings? Basically, How do I use the eq and compressor settings?

Say for example, I have a guitar part that is at good volume and then gets a little too loud when the distortion kicks in, how can I fix it?
Last edited by bboyjon at Jul 15, 2009,
Can you not read a guide or FAQ or something? Not to be a dick, but there are definitely guides out there that cover all this.
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Alright i have been reading and i eq'd a little bit and compressed everything. BTW am I supposed to make the track (as mp3) and then compress or compress each track then render?

Also, what is the point of eqing? What am I supposed to be doing when I do it?

After I get done eqing/compressing is there anything really left that I should do before rendering? What after rendering?

Is there any reason to use the volume limiter? It didnt seem to make much difference but raise the volume. What should I be trying to achieve?