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Original Message

RE: LP recordings: Normalization and limiter

Posted by flood2 on November 12, 2021 at 19:28:22:

Hi Tom

I really wouldn't be worrying about losing "resolution" with the LP when setting the level. I would be more concerned about clipped samples and the effect of overload on the input buffer to the ADC.

The maximum dynamic range for human hearing is 20 bits. A typical consumer 24 bit ADC only has about 21 bits dynamic range and this still vastly exceeds the capability of a vinyl LP/phono stage when looking at the signal level relative to the noise floor.

I don't bother adjusting the input sensitivity per record - I set it once according to the cartridge output relative to the worst case maximum output from a test disc so that the overload margin is never hit even on clicks and pops. Typically I would look for a maximum output of -3 or -4dBFS.
I use RX so the functions have slightly different names - "Normalize" in RX is a little different to what you might expect in that it calculates the gain to hit a desired maximum level. However, I essentially do what you do (without the limiting) after editing/processing my file; I set a maximum level of -4dBFS for all my recordings so that I don't risk intersample overs when downconverting my files. I wouldn't go above -3dBFS myself, but you can choose what you want if you aren't using a DAC that does funky curve fitting.
If you really wanted to maximize fidelity, then you would transfer with flat gain and apply EQ digitally as we have talked about in the past.