1. Ibrahim Younes
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  3. Recording
  4. Friday, 28 February 2020
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When recording from a digital interface to a DAW, which are apropiate input signal levels to HIT on meters in DAW?
i know some people record "hotter" than others, and vice versa.
What is considered TO HOT, and what is considered TO WEAK.
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
I aim for peaks between -12 dB and -6 dB, which most of the time translates to an average level (RMS) of around -18 dB. With 24-bit recording there is no real need to go hotter than that, and it might even be detrimental to your recording. Remember - the signal does pass through the analog circuitry of your interface before hitting the A/D, and so if it's on the cheaper side of things recording too hot will stress the components which might introduce irreversible damage.

At the same time you don't want to go much lower than that, because, again, most consumer gear will have noise floor well above the 24-bit noise floor (could be as high as around -80 dB or more) and so you do want to maintain that healthy S/N ratio.

For the reason above, I do make an exception when I'm recording DI guitar intended for high gain sounds - in this case I aim to get it as close to 0 dB as possible in order to avoid the noise that really gets amplified with the high gain. I'd even rather be occasionally clipping (going into the red) than having to deal with too much noise!
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