I read once where someone said,"The best upgrade you can do for your equipment is to get your levels correct". I have found this to be true in every aspect. Have you found yourself listening to music and are constantly increasing volume or having to lower the volume, decrease the output of your DAC or increase the input of ADC to achieve some type level that works? Now this may not apply for all persons,especially if your ripping music off a CD and Mastering in the box,but you still need to get your DAC at the right level for Monoriting. If your are using a combination of Digital and Analog outboard devices then getting levels correct can be quite perplexing. Out of all the info on the net,and some were from some reputable Mastering sites, I finally found an article that opened my eyes,and the thing was it was just a little more than a paragraph long.http://www.audioamigo.com/articles/budbremner1.html
The thing was nobody was clear about the amplitude of the test tone that I was using which was 1khz @ "0" db. The Mixer Controller I am using states that "0"= +4dbu, so I figure if I put a
1khz test tone @ 0db into the input of this mixer then when I increase the slider or trim control to the specified meter reading that this board states is 0db then I am set....WRONG!!! Not all recordings are created equal in volume,so that is why I was constantly adjusting to compensate, I was finally at the point of pulling my hair out. Since reading this article and getting my levels correct I have noticed that I am getting the same or more percieved loudness without driving RMS levels to ungodly amounts,thus losing dynamics, possible distortion and it sounds cleaner. That just makes it so much nicer when bringing it into Harbal as well. Anyway Just wanted to share this with all and Happy Mastering.