Final Cut Pro 6 - About Analog Audio Levels

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About Analog Audio Levels

There are six basic kinds of analog audio levels found on most equipment:

 Microphone level: Around 50 or 60 dB less than line level. When you use a

microphone, the level is very low, requiring a preamplifier to raise the signal to line
level before it can be recorded or processed. Most audio mixers, cameras, and
professional portable recording devices have built-in preamplifiers.

 Instrument level: Between microphone and line level, around –20 dBV or so. Guitars

and keyboards usually output at instrument level.

 Line level (consumer): Consumer line level is output at –10 dBV.
 Line level (professional): Professional line level is output at +4 dBu (or dBm in older


 Speaker level: This signal varies considerably depending on the amplifier used, but it

is very strong compared to the others because it is used to drive speakers.

 Headphone level: This signal is like speaker level, but much lower. The sole purpose of

this signal is to drive stereo headphones.