<<< Gain is the first stage of amplification.>>>

Yes. Too high causes distortion. Too little gain is also bad because it can allow the noise floor to become audible in your mix. The noise floor is the hiss, hum, buzz, clicks, pops and crackles generated from your hardware, electrical noise and equipment attached to the signal chain. It is inherent in every mix. The noise floor is one reason why adding a high pass filter to a track almost always improves the sound quality of your recording even if you do nothing else. If you hear distortion, don't compress, correct the gain.

<<< Volume: Faders are just another level of amplification (another amplifier stage) and it feeds to the master fader.>>>

Not exactly. First, a fader does not always amplify the signal. Faders can also decrease signal level or have no effect what so ever on the signal level. A better understanding of mixer faders are they balance the levels between the different tracks while at the same time, setting the optimum signal path level for the track. The numbers and markers on a fader track are very important to indicate what the fader is doing, amplifying or decreasing level or having no effect on the signal and to what degree and intensity that effect is. -0- or -U- is unity which means the fader has no effect on the audio signal passing through that channel. Notice also that channel unity is not located at the extreme top of the channel but around 3/4 of the fader run. The area above and just below the unity mark is your headroom and by design, the best area for your faders to be set on a mix. Gain is adjusted to avoid extreme settings of the faders. Where the audio signal travels from the fader is determined by your mixer routing. There are many places on a mixer to tap into the signal chain. This is what the terms pre-fader and post-fader refer to, tap point to reroute the audio signal. Every component, plugs, jacks, cables, hardware, Fx devices, amplifiers, knobs and faders have an effect on the audio signal quality. It can be so small it's inaudible or it can be a loud hum or buzz. No matter, it's all cumulative. Devices that can add or decrease the audio signal level should be adjusted most times as close to unity as possible so as to not add or decrease the signal but to maintain its level near unity which is neither increasing or decreasing. Unity on a mixer is by design the point of maintaining the most accurate original quality of the audio signal. Increasing the volume level or decreasing the volume level is also cumulative. Varying the signal between devices and across routing degrades the signal. Proper gain staging in any DAW or mixer is important to help maintain a proper balance between tracks and also for each individual tracks so the fader can be set within an acceptable range near unity where the signal path is in its ideal or closest to ideal location. With that said, you are correct thinking if the mix sounds good to your ears, that's what matters most.

Edited by Charlie Fogle (04/19/19 05:46 AM)
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