… for Apple Final Cut Pro X
Tip #193: When Can Audio Levels Exceed 0 dB?
Audio levels must NEVER exceed 0 dB, except…
When can audio levels exceed 0 dB? Smile… this is a trick question. Why? Because there are two types of audio levels: Relative and Absolute.
When we adjust the levels of a clip, we are adjusting the audio levels of the clip relative to the level at which it was recorded. Most dialog is recorded at lower levels to prevent distorting the audio during the original performance. Music, which is highly processed, is mastered within a few tenths of a dB of 0. So, we generally boost levels for dialog and reduce levels for music.
Unlike clips, the levels displayed by the audio meters are the absolute audio level of your project.
So, the answer to this question is that when we adjust audio levels on a clip, we often go far above 0 dB. However, during export, audio levels displayed on the audio meters must never exceed 0 dB, or the audio on the master file will distort.