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Old 12-04-2019, 11:29 AM   #5
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 1,982

it's hard to keep the recording input level in Reaper within the recommended range between -12 and -6dBFS, unless I activate the -15dB pad on the audio interface.
As vdubreeze says, just make sure to avoid digital clipping* (keep it below 0dB) and your digital levels are not critical at all.

It's OK to use the pad and it won't affect "tone" (unless you're clipping without it). It's just a level control and it can affect your perception of tone when you listen at lower volumes. But if you crank it up later after recording, you're back to where you started.

The analog "gain staging" can make a difference, especially with cabinet simulators or other processing boxes that are level-sensitive.

* You may like some clipping and it's OK to use it as an effect. But hard digital clipping is more harsh that the softer clipping you get when overdriving a guitar/bass amp.
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