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Old 22nd September 2011
  #53
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by imdookieatmaster View Post
So then what is the purpose of an RMS, if we can just look at the peak level and get it away from -0 db.
Peak levels don't tell you how loud your track is. They tell you how close your audio is to distortion due to clipping. Your hearing cannot detect most transient peaks; they happen too fast. Your brain and ears measure loudness by the average level of the track; the RMS.

In digital audio, you adjust peaks to avoid clipping, and thus distortion; you adjust RMS to change loudness. In general.

That's why VU meters were generally sufficient to adjust analog audio. Fast audio transient peaks shoot right through a VU meter without the meter showing them, but it gives an OK indication of average loudness. However, digital is 100% unforgiving of peaks over 0dbFS, unlike analog media which is very forgiving of high levels. So peak meters became necessary on digital equipment, because the human ear (or a VU meter) cannot always hear a peak that will distort digital audio.