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Old 2013-03-21, 22:24
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marcuswitt marcuswitt is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 167
Originally Posted by selig View Post
I would say the reason no other DAW has done it in over 20 years is demand. If it was necessary, it would have been addressed years ago, I would think. ;-)

I'm still curious why you feel you need to "see" loudness on individual tracks - I can demonstrate why I need to know peak levels (if I haven't already done so). :-)
Hehehe.... good answer and good questions, too.

Well, as you know, every era has it's own "knowledge" and its own "ignorance". When DAWs started to become popular in the late 1980's and early 1990's , virtually nobody had a clue about how to use this kind of stuff the right way. Coming from the analog era I was told that " have to record audio material in the digital domain as hot as possible in order to avoid wasting bits...". Hehe... I am sure you know what I am talking about. And as stupid and inexperienced many recording engineers and hard- and software developers were about how to implement and to use digital recording equipment, we thought that it sounds pretty logical to record "as hot as possible". Well, yes, in times of 16bits that wasn't even a lie, but it wasn't the truth likewise.

And the same dogma that we were riding on, so to speak, has been ridden by many DAW developers, too. As an example, in the 1990's, I remember that clearly, there was an American audio software developer that implemented a linear dB scale in his software, just like "Hmm..... yes, the bit scale is linear from bit one to bit 16, so it's clear that the dB scale in the digital domain has to be linear as well.....".

Do you get what I mean? I am sure you totally get it, Selig, because you're musically and technically well educated and experienced, as far as I can assess you.

I don't say that a peak meter is totally useless, no it is not useless, of course. But I think that many years it is overrated to be THE ultimate gauge to measure and to display a volume level in a Mix channel's signal path. I assume you want to explain to me things like "inter-sample peaks" or so to demonstrate the usefulness of a peak meter. Am I right? Well, yes, in such cases a VU is not the tool of choice to detect and to display such phenomenons. That's clear.

To answer your question: the only need I feel to "see" loudness is for the very first channel of a mix, in 95% it's the bass or the bass drum, it depends on. If I don't have a bad day or "tomatoes in my ears" than I adjust that first channel so that its average loudness is set to -14dB (for some reasons I use the 18dB VU offset scale alongside the Peak scale in Reason), according to the channel's VU. This is my "level reference", or loudness reference", if you like, for all other channels that will be part of the final mix. That is the only reason why I need a VU meter. Whatever I do, at the end of a a mix session the mix's average loudness is between -18dbfs to -16dBfs, depending on the song, which means that everything sounds clean and punchy and warm, there's plenty of headroom remaining and I don't have to fear to get clippings and inter-sample peaks. I don't even use a limiter in the Master channel. Maybe I am too conservative, but peak limiting and loudness increase belong to Mastering - so far my perspective. And that method of making my productions works very well since a long time. Well, RECORD 1.0 was the reason why I said: "Yippie, finally a DAW that gives me VU meters!". And Reason 6.5 is the reason why I sold so many hardware devices...... such as an Urei 1178, a Pultec EQ and such "room heaters". Is that insane?

So, to conclude this topic: yes, to have a peak meter in every Mix channel makes a lot of sense and is surely very useful, as much as a VU. Other opinions will be received very welcome.