Wasn't sure where to post this since it's digital audio. But I'm wondering if there are any industry standards with regard to levels when recording. I'm running a Mackie 1220 with Firewire interface and using the included Tracktion software on a Windows XP machine. My microphones (don't laugh) are a couple MXL's (the $100 combo pack). When I first started recording I set the gain on the board as high as possible without audible distortion. I’m sure everyone here knows what kind of result I got out of that. After reading a few posts and wasting a lot of time with compressors I went back and turned everything down so I no longer see nasty red stuff on my meters. Obviously the end result is fantastic in comparison. I use much less compression (often none), have much more room for harmonic enhancers and effects, the final mix doesn’t come out super hot, etc. etc. So what I’m wondering is, where do you guys set your levels for different instruments and vocals? I’ve got a fair technique worked out for acoustic guitar and vocal, but I’ll be adding bass guitar and drums soon. Not to mention electric guitars and backup vocals. The drums especially scare me. I’ll be using a complete set of high end condenser mics designed for the drum set (our drummer bought them last year) so I’m not worried about micing. How do I leave adequate head room without losing that gut shaking punch we all love to hear/feel? How do I keep from over compressing the track after it’s recorded? Maybe I’m worried about the wrong thing? Perhaps the electric guitar will be the really tough one? :? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience. Thanks in advance.