Confusing things on Decibel

HI! Thank for reading!
I’m recently studying, downloading well-done project templates from several sites. And have some curiousity.
I checked one good EDM template. It was ready-mixed, and mastered. But I found that gage in the master track contiousely reaching pick level and turns to red. Isn’t it surely ‘not well mastered’ thing? But when I export them into audio, It doesn’t have any picknoise. I wonder how the picknoise doesn’t exist, dough the level meter shows it’s reaching picks.

And there’s more.
I rendered that track into audio file. And opend it in the audio-editing window of cubase. And the graph shows the track has vertical limit line at 0db. (meaning, the height of wave doesn’t get higher than 0db, always.) However, as I watch the EQ wave analyzer, It reaches +12db constantly. How this can be possible? What’s the difference between EQ DB meter and wave editer meter? Moreover, as the meter reaches +12db in the analyzer, isn’t it Too much going over the pick level?

I’ll address the 2nd part of your question (what you’re seeing on the meters). This is all related to fundamental digital audio concepts, and it can get deep quickly, but there are 2 things at work:

1) Digital audio records instantaneous peaks, not the signal that will result when those peaks are turned into an actual waveform. Meaning, it is entirely possible to have data that maxes out at 0dBFS, but when reconstructed in another environment, exceeds 0dB. These are often called “intersample peaks.”

Have a look at this diagram, from http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/issues-with-0dbfs-levels-on-digital-audio-playback-systems:
peaks.jpg
The white dots represent the actual samples that were recorded. Those samples don’t go above 0dBFS. But, when the waveform is reconstructed (interpolated), the peaks (tops of the waveforms) go substantially above 0dBFS.

(Important to note: had the samples lined up such that the peaks were sampled, and not the “sides” of the waveform, this problem would not occur - which is an argument for using higher sample rates).

2) There is an internal resolution and headroom for the DAW (what you see on the meters of an individual channel), and then there is the external one (what you see on the master fader). Example: you can have individual channels go waaaayyyyy into the red, but if you just turn down the master fader, the project won’t exceed 0dBFS. The two are not the same.

Understanding those 2 things will get you on the path to understanding what you’re seeing, but it will also take some more reading. I would suggest reading the article I mentioned above - it’s somewhat old, but still relevant :slight_smile:

There is no such thing as the EQ DB meter.

If you are looking at the EQ analyser the db figures you see are the adjustment range for the EQ, not a level reference of any kind.

If that’s not it can you post a screencap or something?

I assumed they meant the level meter on e.g. the Frequency EQ, which does show an actual output level meter on the right side, and can easily exceed 0dB on a single channel - but maybe they’re looking at the scale on the left side, which shows EQ gain - which means my pedantic explanation is now hilarious :smiley: :smiley: Yeah we need more info :slight_smile:

Thank you all buddies!
I’ll dig into them

Sorry for the (probably) dumb question, but I ran into this today. What is it about Frequency EQ that makes the levels read differently than the channel EQ? In the attached screenshot, Frequency shows a 1kHz sine wave hitting +18 in the spectrum, but the channel EQ is showing it hitting at ~+8. Thanks in advance for any education on the topic.
Frequency EQ vs Channel EQ.png

It doesn’t indicate level…these numbers are the adjustment range of the EQ.