Great write. Thank you.
Although we are concerned here with playback on commercial recordings where mastering has already taken care of high peaks, VU meter readings is much lower from Peak meter dbs. With classic and opera works, Peak meter readings are between 12db and 18db higher than VU meter dbs .
I’ve seen up to 24db difference.
Therefore, the 6db overhead that is mentioned, it should be applied to Peak meter indicators. If the instrument is a VU meter, the overhead has to be a conservative 20db.
That the meters are implemented in the software, it doesn’t mean that they are designed to respond to the signal's impulsive content instantaneously.
Even when one is monitoring through the digital bit depth meter (dbs rel dbFS ) , he has to know the “ballistics” of that particular instrument. Not every SW supporting documentation makes things clear on this.
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