[LAU] master levels

Brent Busby brent at keycorner.org
Mon Feb 2 14:30:27 UTC 2015

Len Ovens <len at ovenwerks.net> writes:

> Which master fader? The one in Ardour or the one in ALSA?


> Ardour's steps (around 0db) are very small, sometimes as many as 4
> step for each .1db. (ctl/alt/mouse wheel or send MIDI pitch wheel in
> MC mode) ALSA's step are a lot grainier. (my ice1712 with mudita24 is
> .5db steps and Qasmixer gives 1db steps)

No, I'm not meaning that I can hear stairsteps as the volume changes.  I
was meaning that I thought I noticed timbral changes somehow.  I
experimented around with it more, and I'm pretty sure now I was just
falling for Fletcher-Munson effect -- my perception of EQ was changing
at different sound pressure levels.

> 6db down is one bit of 24... to go to 16 for a CD means cutting off
> bits on the bottom (maybe adding some noise) so -6 is safe.

Wow, I never would have imagined that.

So, I could mix to -6db in Ardour and still use most of the headroom on
a CD?  Is there any advantage to keeping your peak level that low on the
master in the digital world?  Or, put another way, if I *could* get the
whole track to behave itself and not go above -1db at loudest peak, is
there a reason not to?

+ Brent A. Busby	 + "We've all heard that a million monkeys
+ Sr. UNIX Systems Admin +  banging on a million typewriters will
+ University of Chicago	 +  eventually reproduce the entire works of
+ James Franck Institute +  Shakespeare.  Now, thanks to the Internet,
+ Materials Research Ctr +  we know this is not true." -Robert Wilensky

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