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Does the recording level matter

Started by Steve Crook, February 02, 2023, 12:11:13 PM

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Steve Crook

I'm old enough to remember the days of cassette recording and the desperate attempts to record as close to 0db peak as possible to ensure tape noise was masked.

But with recording through an ADC/PC & VS I'd assumed there was, essentially, no noise to mask and that it wasn't something to fuss over even if I was recording at -6 to -9 db peak. Particularly because I'm normalising (album/both sides) to 0db before I write tracks.

Does VS do better noise reduction/click detection from recordings at the highest possible (non clipping) level?


My initial thought is that, yes, it's best to get as close to 100% (0db?) without clipping on the record side before you normalize but maybe I am suffering from analog tape days hangover.


Digital clipping in my experience is much more sonically unpleasant than for analogue tape.

I would err on the side of caution for sure.  -3db is the highest I would consider, and -6 db is safer.  Especially keeping in mind that there are some mathematics that suggest that signal level can exceed what is detected by the "level" indicators.

And in my own practical experience, I have more than a few digital files (not recorded by me) where the levels show very high and often into clipping and they consistently sound harsh.

The LP digitizations I have done  (to DSD admittedly) at -6db to -3db sound sweet and smooth with nary a hint of digital harshness.  I am still pleasantly surprised at how good my LP rips sound compared to the harshness I often hear from downloaded or streamed files...

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)


Sorry for the delayed response but no notification came through to me for some reason.

> Does VS do better noise reduction/click detection from recordings at the highest possible (non clipping) level?

If you record at 24 bit, you will have plenty of dynamic range and can safely drop the level down a bit.  Check for noise from the ADC though, as some USB devices can be a bit noisy.

The 'Normalise' button in VinylStudio's Graphic Equaliser window will then boost the playback level in your saved tracks (but I think you already know all about that Steve).