Reply To: USB – B Stream on QU-32

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The level is dBFS – if the desk is running at a nominal 0dB (as you would have done in an analogue world) then the signal will be at -18dBFS.

This is good, you have 18dB of headroom.

The signal is 24 bits deep, so you can amplify it later trivially – there is plenty of bit depth available.

The bit depth (8 bits more than a CD, which is as much as the human ear can hear) can be used in two main ways:
– a super low noise floor for recording in a studio where you can have multiple takes and expect to make thousands of post production modifications.
– a decent headroom for live situations, where you really want to avoid digital clipping – there is enough depth to have headroom enough for the most exuberant drummer and still have a very low noise floor.

You balance your signal levels between these extremes as appropriate for your situation.
If you want a ‘hot’ signal coming back to the PC then run the desk extremely hot – risk clipping, but have negligible dithering noise.
Else just boost the level in post production.