digital recording levels


Jan 10, 2003
Wheaton, IL.
In more than one post Bill Roberts has stated that a mix should go to the mastering engineer at -6 db. Does that mean that I should record each track at -6 db also? Or should I try to get the maximum signal I can on each track and then mix to -6 db?

Kurt Foster

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2002
77 Sunset Lane.
- 6dB is a good safe place for the average level. But it depends on what you are recording on.. in a DAW -6dB is really an absolute advised maximum (not peaks but average) but if you’re on an ADAT or a stand alone or an analog recorder, then higher levels may be acceptable. Especially if you will be mixing on an analog desk. In a DAW I like - 6 because it leaves a little headroom for eq changes and plug ins. These things can boost the level sometimes and if you've recorded something at - 2dB sometimes it can clip. So it's just a matter of leaving enough headroom to allow for extra processing. Bill says - 6??? IMO that is a good average level but an occasional peak to - 2 should be ok I would think. Remember, these are rule of thumb suggestions.. nothing is set in stone.. as someone here says, "Learn the rules, then break them." .... Kurt