Gain Control

Often when I look at professional or commercial sound systems, I find the gain on the power amp set to a higher than normal setting. That is anything over half, or in many cases, 12 o’clock on the control setting. In most cases we prefer the gain control to be around 9 o’clock on the dial. We have known amplifiers to have a better sound with less gain, often that is because the gain from a preamp may have better sonic character. In commercial systems or performance systems, we prefer low gain in the power amp due to lowering the chances that a mistake or malfunction somewhere in the preamp/user interface will cause a smaller spike and will be less likely to blow up either the amp or speakers. The main difference is that with the amp set to low gain, you will use more of the trim, input gain and or main gain. This is about playing your system to the desirable level, zero db or full output, all while keeping your amplifier’s safety belt securely fastened.

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