It’s a deep subject, But i casually aim for -6db being my upper limit, -12db being the target/average if i can. Many others will have their own targets, that’s why i posted the question really. For vocals i’m compressing them coming in, so i can actually aim for an approximate high/low band quite easily which really helps later in the process as slight compression can just take the edge away from unwanted peaks.
But really, the targets depends on other factors, such as if you’re recording wide dynamic instruments (i.e. that fluctuate across a wide amplitude) - in which case i just make sure that -6db doesn’t get breached. For some reason i’ve been much higher with the initial meters default colours in Cubase as it wasn’t immediately obvious how close i was to clipping/0db (I came from Logic Pro previously which throws up a red light), hence why i looked into changing them, and it certainly is much better - but Cubase doesn’t seem to clip like other DAW’s, i can’t quite work it out, it doesn’t seem to break up so bad.
It’s most important if you’re recording external sources into Cubase, if you’re only using digital/vst instruments, being digital you haven’t got to worry about relative noise floor (Unwanted noise vs wanted) or clipping (When 0db is breached). Behind the scenes the digital computations means that the actual audio hasn’t broken up for VSTi’s- until it’s finally played back/processed as an audio signal… If that makes sense.
i.e. You can hit a VST instrument full gain so you distort that channel audibly, but if you route the output of that channel(1) into a group channel(2) and bring the gain down on channel(2) the signal from channel(1) will come through clean. The same doesn’t apply for external signals, if they come in hot there’s not much you can do about it afterwards, likewise if they’re too quiet you can hit noise floor issues, and reduce dynamic range.
But, mixing most music genres should benefit if you allow a bit of headroom on each track, and using colours to create a structure and deliberation towards reference levels can never be a bad thing.