OK, I admit it - I’m somewhat of a n00b audio engineer (though not a horrible musician/composer). But this forum is so helpful, I don’t mind submitting basic questions like this. You guys are always helpful. This post goes in a few directions (several questions), but it’s all kinda related.
I understand that clipping is bad… so I bring levels down to avoid it and make sure there is no clipping even after export. But I don’t really understand what is considered the “ideal” level, if there is such a thing, or even the negative values on the meters. Meaning I don’t know how close to the clipping line I should be pushing my music to. For instance, in SoundForge, why do they show level markers at -6.0 (see screenshot). Is that a meaningful number, or just a guideline? If my audio is say at -0.5, is that bad? I actually have some background music at -0.1 after exporting, is that crazy stupid?
I do music/sfx for games. Isn’t it possible that some combination of background music + 1, 2 (or more) sfx playing at the same time could cause “clipping” dynamically, even though each of those didn’t have clipping individually? If so, I guess it’s as simple as testing the music/sfx at once in the DAW and ensuring there is no clipping, but with so many combinations to test… is this the way others do it?
I know you can blow speakers by applying too much power (pushing more than what the speaker is rated for). But can’t it also happen from clipping, because the speaker is not oscillating correctly?
CONCLUSION: My iPad recently has blown speakers (just recently and I’ve playtested on it for years), and it could be complete coincidence, but I’m kinda worried that maybe it’s because of some dynamic clipping occurring in a game I’ve done music for… nothing that I can nail down specifically, because like I said everything is exported below clipping line. But perhaps the levels are too close to the clipping line individually, and combined… a problem? Usually I run through a mastering tutorial (that I hardly understand), that I know brings the overall level down a bit. But this recent game, I did not do that, and so perhaps (combined) the levels of my music and sfx are too much at certain points in the game?
If it is something I’ve done, obviously I want to fix it before launch to prevent blowing speakers on anyone else’s device.