The Difference Between Gain and Trim

qd16Gain and trim are two terms that often confuse players unfamiliar with the terms. What makes matters worse is that manufacturers often use the two interchangeably. Although both gain and trim do very similar jobs that often overlap, the key difference lies in their main purpose and what they generally imply.

While they are both a form of gain input, the term gain refers to how much a signal is amplified as it passes through a circuit or a device while trim refers to making small, precise changes in the level of that signal (by either adding additional gain for a boost or attenuating the signal to reduce it) so that it better aligns with a device. In other words, you use gain to get to your desired sound while trim is used for fine tuning and balancing things out afterwards.

Since manufacturers don't always refer to trim by that term, an easy way to tell it apart from gain is in the incremental stages of their control settings. Gain will usually take you up in 5 or 6 decibel increments while the trim control is more precise, allowing you to further set the gain between these increments by either boosting or cutting as needed.


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