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Old 28th February 2017
Lives for gear
stinkyfingers's Avatar

i tested Span's (numerical) peak meter in Reaper using various tones and noise shapes and it seems to be pretty consistent. it gives a reading that corresponds to the source audio file's peak level, regardless of where i stop and start playing.
i would guess it has something to do with the plug-ins (efx and/or instruments) you are using, or a "buggy" behavior with Span and/or the DAW. i admit that once in a while Span has done some strange things on me in Reaper, but i don't know who's to blame.
there is never a guarantee that everything will always work how it should on every system in every situation, so it's good to test with a more scientific method to be certain. if you keep coming up with different values for something you know should be "x dBFS" then you know you have to start your detective work.
try using audio files with known levels. test tones. but use an actual audio file, not the tone generator, because that can show fluctuation in real time.