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Sample Peak Meter Reading off.

i have loaded a kick sample in soundforge and the sample has its peaks a little above -6db which i can clearly see in the waveform. However when i play the sample the peak meter goes very close to 0db...the peaks are at -.2b. Why is this happening. Shouldnt the peak meters read the peaks of the kick sample why is it overshooting when i loop and play the sample. I have uploaded a screen shot of the kick and the meter. Please note that the left meter(peak meter)-(right meter is a VU meter) is not in the red due to the delay during taking the screen shot but the two numbers on top of the meter clearly show the peaks reached when i loop and play the sample.

any help in demystifying this would be appreciated. Also in the preferences the VU meter configuration settings have value -18db EBU broadcast.


RemyRAD Fri, 01/13/2006 - 16:04

The answer here is quite simple.

Meters that imitate "VU" characteristics do not show peak values but are rather much like average values. You can always assume that whenever your VU meter is indicating anywhere between -10 to -60db, your peaks are generally 8 to 12 DB higher. That's why we have both kinds of meters. VU was most popular in United States where "PPM" meters were more popular in Europe and with the advent of digital recording, we all need to make sure that we do not " peak out". In analog recording, we purposefully peaked out to saturate the tape and create a certain nonlinear limiting effect. So it was OK on the 24 track machine when you would see your snare drum banging into the red. We can't do that anymore in digital because the effect is more than disappointing, it's horrible!

So if you're looking at your waveforms in your software and see peaks reaching their maximum but not exceeding it and wonder what happened? Even if the meter does not appear to be indicating a peak, if you notice while looking at the peak at the top of the waveform and it has been flattened, most likely you have clipped the output and/or input even before " over recording" by exceeding the input level of the A/D converter.


Remy Ann David

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