Here's a great (I'n my humble opinion) tip I stole from Val Garay. Val by the way is a great (one of the greats) engineer...and a world class asshole (that's why I don't care about "stealling" this tip). This is for basic tracks and beyond, and it invloves the monitor ballance. It goes like this: When you are setting up the board for a tracking date set all of the monitor return faders thus: 1. Place the fader for the kick drum return @ 0db. 2.Place the fader for the snare drum return @ -5db. 3. Place ALL other faders (Bass, gtrs, ect...everything) @ -10db...in straight line. What this will do is give you a very proper gainstructure reference. You then ballance all the signals to tape so that it sounds like you would want at the final mix with this monitor ballance. I know this goes against that "maximize all bits/hotest signal to tape" stuff...but the trade off is in many ways superior. The kick, being low freq. in nature will have 10db to start with over the other tracks, same with the snare, and since they're very dynamic and transient they need the extra level relative to a high rmxs signal like a bass or gtr. Also, a great side benifit, every time you switch to another song, you'll have a slamming abllnce in no time flat. You'll be suprised at how well this works if you try it.