Peak level and gain level required by Checker

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Post by lurcherlover » April 7th, 2020, 5:53 am

I was wondering who set the recording level in Reaper? In the analogue days (pre 1985 approx) there was 20dB of headroom before clipping occurred. Since then digital levels have been rather abused with the "loudness wars" and this has led to lots of poor sound and distortion. There is now a move away and a realisation that digital recording to -12dB, and having no peaks above -10dB not only avoids clipping but results in much better sound. All recordings in the -10dB to 0dB region causes artefacts which degrade the sound.

In getting to the area in which Checker recommends it should be, I get readings on my very accurate meters which give a peak reading of -1dB, -2dB or -3dB. This is very much frowned upon in professional circles as it means that the sound quality is rather poor. To make matters worse, these readings are also recorded or rendered to a low quality .mp3 file. (I know the reasons are the saving of server space).

I think it may be time for a re-think about the resulting quality of the recordings and to use a recording level of approximately 6dB lower (at least) or even better 8dB lower. These levels would result in better quality recordings with a very low (hopefully) noise floor and would still have plenty of volume with most if not all playback systems which have been produced in the last twenty years.

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Post by TriciaG » April 7th, 2020, 6:15 am

We're set at around 89 dB because people listen on trains and in other louder environments.

Perfect quality isn't our aim; hear-ability is. And the quality degradation from higher volumes isn't a concern since we're not attempting to produce studio-quality work anyway.

(P.S. For the record, Checker was developed a long time after the 89-dB standard was set by LV, not the other way around.)
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