Monitoring recording and playback levels

Level meters overview

To monitor the amplitude of incoming and outgoing signals during recording and playback, you use level meters. The Waveform Editor provides these meters only in the Levels panel. The Multitrack Editor provides them in both the Levels panel, which shows the amplitude of the Mix output, and track meters, which show the amplitude of individual tracks.

You can dock the Levels panel horizontally or vertically. When the panel is docked horizontally, the upper meter represents the left channel, and the lower meter represents the right channel.


To show or hide the panel, choose Window > Level Meters.

The meters show signal levels in dBFS (decibels below full scale), where a level of 0 dB is the maximum amplitude possible before clipping occurs. Yellow peak indicators remain for 1.5 seconds so you can easily determine peak amplitude.

If amplitude is too low, sound quality is reduced; if amplitude is too high, clipping occurs and produces distortion. The red clip‑indicator to the right of the meters lights up when levels exceed the maximum of 0 dB.


To clear clip indicators, either click them individually, or right-click the meters and choose Reset Indicators.

Effects Rack Input/ Output monitor

In the Effects Rack, the two level meters display the signal level of the Input (the clips and tracks being routed through those effects) and the Output (the signal level leaving the effects chain).

Many effect will have some impact on the overall level of the signal, either amplifying it or reducing it. By seeing the levels, you can adjust the knobs next to each to fine-tune the amount of signal going into the effects (which can have impact on how the sounds are processed) or exiting the effect (making sure the effects aren't clipping or are loud enough to be audible).

Customize level meters

Right-click the meters and select any of the following options:

Meter Input Signal

In the Waveform Editor, displays the level of the default hardware input. (See Configure audio inputs and outputs.) To quickly enable or disable this option, double‑click the meters.

Range options

Change the displayed decibel range.

Show Valleys

Shows valley indicators at low-amplitude points.

Tip: If valley indicators are close to peak indicators, dynamic range (the difference between the quietest and loudest sounds) is low. If the indicators are spread far apart, dynamic range is high.

Show Color Gradient

Gradually transitions the meters from green, to yellow, to red. Deselect this option to display abrupt color shifts to yellow at -18 dBFS, and red at -6.

Show LED Meters

Displays a separate bar for each whole decibel level.

Dynamic or Static Peaks

Change the mode of peak indicators. Dynamic Peaks resets the yellow peak level indicators to a new peak level after 1.5 seconds, letting you easily see recent peak amplitude. As the audio gets quieter, the peak indicators recede. Static Peaks retains peak indicators, letting you determine the maximum amplitude of the signal since monitoring, playback, or recording began. However, you can manually reset peak indicators by clicking clip indicators.

Tip: To find out how loud audio will get before you record it, choose Static Peaks. Then monitor input levels; the peak indicators show the level of the loudest part.

Adjust recording levels for standard sound cards

Adjust levels if recordings are too quiet (causing unwanted noise) or too loud (causing distortion). To get the best sounding results, record audio as loud as possible without clipping. When setting recording levels, watch the meters, and try to keep the loudest peaks in the yellow range below ‑3 dB

Adobe Audition doesn’t directly control a sound card’s recording levels. For a professional sound card, you adjust these levels with the mixer application provided with the card (see the card’s documentation for instructions). For a standard sound card, you use the mixer provided by Windows or Mac OS.

Adjust sound card levels in Windows 7 and Vista

  1. Right‑click the speaker icon in the taskbar, and choose Recording Devices.

  2. Double-click the input source you want to use.

  3. Click the Levels tab, and adjust the slider as needed.

Adjust sound card levels in Windows XP

  1. Double‑click the speaker icon in the taskbar.

  2. Choose Options > Properties.

  3. Select Recording, and then click OK.

  4. Select the input source you want to use, and adjust the Volume slider as needed.

Adjust sound card levels in Mac OS

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.

  2. Click Sound, and then click the Input tab.

  3. Select the device you want to use, and adjust the Input Volume slider as needed.

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