Digital Recording Level

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by doubleJ, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. doubleJ

    doubleJ Active Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    Branson, MO
    Home Page:
    I'm not sure if this is the right area to post this, so, if it's not, I apologize...
    I'm watching Ask Video's Studio Edge video. The guy was talking about old analog recording versus new all-digital recording. He said that in the analog realm, the idea was to get as close to 0db as you could, without clipping. I've always agreed with this point. He mentioned, though, that in all digital recording environments, it would be better to keep it between -24 and -12 to maximize headroom.
    Now on to my actual question...
    If this is true, is this referring to when mixing a full set of sounds (IE...a song) or any recording instance?
    I recording mono dialog for editing (wireless receiver directly to a motu traveler mic-pre). I record at 24-bit and do all processing in the 24-bit realm. A raw recording will usually peak between 0 and -6. There is no gain on the motu, the receiver is at line level (mostly for volume and distance), and the receiver's output was reduced to -6, as it was clipping the recording.
    Would there actually be an audio quality benefit to recording to a peak of -12? To me, it would just raise the noise floor, unnecessarily.
    Is this not correct?
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    He is referring to the individual tracks during recording itself, and also to the main 2-bus when in the mixing stage.

    In digital, there is no reason to get close to 0 dB to maximize signal to noise. In a 24bit environment you're S/N is already pretty well maximized provided you have the mic gain and position set correctly. It took me a while to believe it also as a former 100% analog guy but it's true. Also, in analog it was often desirable to saturate the tape and you don't get saturation in digital. Once you hit 0dB you get nothing but digital squelch.
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