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+4db levels louder than -10db levels

Discussion in 'Recording' started by djjmk, May 5, 2004.

  1. djjmk

    djjmk Guest

    I have a Digi 002 with -10db rca and +4db 1/4" outputs. My cd recorder has rca -10db inputs. I once used the +4db output to the cd recorder, and the sound was loud and distorted. So my question is this...if I had a cd recorder with balanced XLR +4db inputs, would a cd made with this recorder be LOUDER than a disc recorded with my -10db cd recorder?

  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

  3. djjmk

    djjmk Guest

    :?: So what's the difference between the -10 signal and the +4 signal for the cd recorders? If there's no sonic difference, why make different operating levels?
  4. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Devices that use -10dB levels are cheaper to build.
  5. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Pro gear uses the +4dB level protocol while semi-pro & consumer devices utilize the -10dB protocol. But now-a-days, it's not uncommon to see a lot of gear housing both, so that they will intergrate better no matter what level your you're working with.
  6. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Isn't that because the difference is balanced vs. unbalanced lines? More circuitry is involved in the balanced lines found in +4dB gear.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    +4 level was the norm in the 40's and 50's for recording studios and broadcast applications. Some gear even ran at +10dB! My LA4's have +4 / +10 dB switches on their back panels. In the 50's and 60's as home hi fi became popular, many manufacturers went with -10 and even -20 dB systems.

    +4 systems may be balanced or unbalanced. -10 systems could be run balanced as well but I have never seen it ... Typically +4 systems have more headroom and are capible of running a bit quieter than prosumer -10 systems. This is simply a difference in operating level of the input and output amplifiers and will not affect the level being recorded to disc or tape.

    Mackie gave a nod of recognition to the quandery of different operating levels for the home studio operator when they designed their recording and sound reinforcment mixers. They chose to run their operating levels at 0dB, effectivly "bridging the gap between +4 and -10 gear ....

    Kurt Foster
  8. djjmk

    djjmk Guest

    -10db levels vs. +4db levels

    Thanks for all the helpful info! This forum is very valuable! One last question...so if I recorded 2 cds with 2 different recorders, (one at -10 and the other at +4db) and used a sound meter to measure the decibels from my speakers at a fixed volume, both recorders would have the same decibel level? :roll:
  9. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    That's right. A CD, no matter how its burned, cannot exceed 0dBFS.

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