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Old 01-24-2020, 09:58 PM   #5
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,666

You've got to pick your headroom target and your average spl target. There are any number of people who will give you any number of answers on what is right. Bob Katz has that K system and I think it's pretty decent rule of thumb. Since I mix mostly music, and prefer things just a bit louder overall, I have my music machine calibrated to -14dbFS ~ 85dbSPL. But then my "living room machine" which is in the same room connected to the same system is for watching movies and stuff and I calibrated that so that -23dbFS ~ 85dbSPL, and listening to music on the living room machine is almost dangerous...

Put the meter as close to where your head is going to be as possible, pointed dead center between the monitors - probably at your computer screen. There's a JS Pink Noise generator. Crank it up until the Master RMS meter reads at your headroom target. Then adjust whatever is responsible for the level of your monitors in the analog world until the meter reads your average spl target.

But then crank it up in Reaper and see if whatever you've got on the analog side starts to peak/clip/overdrive/distort before Reaper's peak meter hits 0dbFS. It would be nice to have at least a decibel after your DAC tops out. Preferably 6. If you can't get that, you've chosen too high an SPL target or too small amp/monitors.

In order to tell you which knobs you should turn in the analog world, I'd need to know what knobs you've got available.
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