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Old 12-06-2019, 05:17 AM   #7
Philbo King
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There is a lot of debate and misinformation out there about this.

My goal is to capture the signal arriving at the interface as transparently as possible. So I tend to go with record levels that average at 2/3 of the reaper track record meter, which gives about -18 dB average level. While, in theory, you can set up to have peaks go to 0 dB, the analog circuits in the interface or preamp have much lower added harmonic distortion if you keep the level lower.

However, too low is not desirable either; as you reduce the recorded level, there is less signal but constant noise (every electronic circuit creates noise). Recording with low levels, then increasing it once it's in Reaper, brings that noise level up as well. So, that 2/3rds guideline is what I consider 'best practice' for recording level.

Kenny Gioia seems to agree:

Of course, once you have captured the audio, you can gain the wave up to whatever level you like inside of Reaper, even boosting it 100 dB, with no loss of quality:

That is true AS LONG AS the wave is reduced to below 0 dB again before it leaves Reaper (coming back out of the interface, or being rendered to a 16 or 24 bit output file).

I hope that helps...
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Last edited by Philbo King; 12-06-2019 at 05:47 AM.
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