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Old 10th January 2017
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by attaboy_jhb View Post
ok well this is what I do do but my guitar tracks with 10db of headroom RMS at around -30dbfs. Is that OK? or should I just not care about RMS?
If I'm reading you right, that's a good range to be in. Most of my guitar tracks come in -10db and its an ideal level for mixing with other tracks. Driven Guitars wind up sounding much louder then the actually are because they are compressed and don't have the large transients other instruments like drums and vocals have. The exception would be when recording a completely dry guitar without compression. The transient peaks can be much greater.

The main thing is to keep the tracks in the green range. When they peak in the yellow and red (red is 0db and above) you risk digital distortion which can be quite nasty. There are only a few tools which can fix peaks that crack the ceiling, and they don't always work very well.

You can always boost a weak signal up when needed and not have issues with the noise floor. You have over 100db between the ceiling and floor tracking digitally at 24 bits so there is no reason to run levels too high. If the meter peaks at 1/2 power you should be fine. When you recorded to tape you have much less headroom and it took allot of work maintain a signal playing in the safe zone. Peaks that went over saturated in a musically friendly way.

The only thing you have to worry about is having enough signal to drive your headphones (if you use them) a weak signal may record fine but many headphone amps built into interfaces and the headphones themselves can be weak making you think you need to record at higher gains. Using a high quality headphone amp and good phones can be like night and day. With a strong clear headphone gain, you can record at lower volumes without much of a problem.