Peaking at -3dB

Hello all,

This is probably a very easy one, but can’t find the answer.

I am using a ZOOM R8 USB recorder interface to track some acoustic guitars in Cubase 5. On said interface, I adjusted the input gain to be just below 0 dB to avoid clipping.

When I record the song in Cubase and watch the track level meter, and more precisely the peak value, it tops at a sharp -3dB. So my track is always too quiet to my taste and I have to apply Gain.

Since I near 0dB on the USB interface, why is Cubase seeing the peaks as being only -3dB ?

Is there a parameter or other configuration that I am unaware of that is causing this?

I am using Cubase 5 original settings (no pan law), no plugins whatsoever. Just bare bones.

I have the same situation when recording vocals with a SM58.

I doubt that this is coming from the ZOOM.

Thanks in advance for your help!