Re: Question re: levels in digital audio

Subject: Re: Question re: levels in digital audio
From: Michael Gogins (
Date: Thu Oct 20 2005 - 09:46:39 EDT

In practice, digital headroom depends on circumstances. If you making a live recording and don't have a soft limiter, and you also don't know what sudden peak levels may occur, you need to leave extra headroom because a clip could be pretty awful sounding and hard to fix, so in such circumstances 12 dB could be correct. If you do have a limiter, or you have done a good sound check or otherwise know what peak levels to expect, you should reduce the headroom to as close to a decibel or so as possible. If you are normalizing a recorded soundfile and you do not expect to process it, it should be 0 to 3 dB. If you ae going to process a soundfile, you need to experiment to find the optimal headroom before processing.


-----Original Message-----
From: Louis Dufort <>
Sent: Oct 19, 2005 11:58 PM
Subject: Re: Question re: levels in digital audio

Don't ever believe video guys ;-)

-12 dB (digital audio) = 0dBVU in the analog world. But "au contraire" in
digital audio you want to use all those bits to gain more resolution of your
signal, so from -12 to 0 dB is perfect in the digital world. Where in
analog, from 0 to +6 dB may give some saturation and eventually clipping.

So basically it's all the way around.

BTW, you should try to always record your digital audio as much near
possible the 0 dB to avoid any normalization. The more you leave your file
alone (no dsp) the best result you have.



le 10/19/05 10:26 PM, Phil Thomson � a �crit�:

> Hi all,
> I should probably know this, but I have a question about levels in
> digital audio. In my own work, I've always normalized my digital audio
> stuff to 0 dB or similar levels, and have never had any problem with
> distortion or clipping while running my levels at close to 0 dB, but
> lately I've been hearing that -12 dB is the maximum level that you
> should shoot for, because clipping is introduced at even -6 or -8 dB.
> Is this only true of DAT or DV, or is it the case for digital audio
> across the board? I've *never* heard any clipping in my own work (on
> the computer), but the video folks I'm hanging with now claim that -12
> dB is the new 0 dB. What's up?
> PT
> --
> Phil Thomson, BFA, MFA
> 010100000110100001101001011011000010000001010100011010000110111101101101011100
> 110110111101101110

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