Through advising Melosity I lately had to have more detailed look into the input metering of a DAW. My early experience with recording was on an eight track Tascam tape machine, in a small studio back in Finland. It was a great learning curve, and I think if you ever get a chance to work with analogue recording set up, do so! It is fantastic to see the tape operate, and get an understanding how it all happens. It definitely has helped me immensely in my studio work, even in the digital world.
So here’s one thing that I learned the hard way. The input meters in analogue world are very different animals than in the digital world. Most of us use the meter in our DAW only to make sure there is no digital clipping. As a result most of us record everything way too hot! Your mastering engineer will hate you for this. They need more headroom to work with, so back off on the faders a bit. Your recorded signal should fall between -10db and -18db in your meter in DAW (every DAW varies a bit, so take this as a guide only). You see the old analogue input meters work very differently than the ones on your DAW. You need to allow for a sufficient headroom in the DAW.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE