Tracking Levels

with regards to engineering my own recording of vocals, how loud is too loud on both input levels as well as my output through my headphones? As far as I know I’ve read that -12db avg is pretty normal for vocal recording levels but that usually requires me to crank my audio interface up fairly high on the output side of things. All this to say, I’m unsure as to whether I should be focusing my attention on recording at a hotter level and reducing my headphone output to balance things out, or merely just monitor through my cans at a lower volume to prevent any longstanding hearing issues.

I would say the best rule of thumb is to try to get the best signal recorded without distorting. The better the recording, the less you’ll have to do on the back end. I’m not one to stick to numbers, I honestly haven’t recorded much since the late 90’s…I pretty much only mix.

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Thanks so much! Very much appreciated