What am I missing Optical SPDIF output Level

Hi, I opended a ticket with Denon but did not receive a response. Setup is (2) SC5000 and (1) X1800 Mixer. I tried to sue Serato a bit but its just terrible coming from Rekordbox. Does anyone know why the level output on the optical connection seems to stay at -17db? It super low compared to RCA cables. When I look at my audio interface its always right around that same low DB with everything “Zeroed” out. Digital out level = 0, digital link = off link level = 0 Trim levels are set around 10:30 and are no higher than 0 on the meter.

In the end just trying to record but the levels are super low.

Thank in advance DBA

On digital gear, zero dBVu on its meters is usually about -18dB below Full Scale (dBFS) clip. Totally normal. Bounce your meters around the meter zeros, troughs a little below and peaks a little above when music’s in full swing. Some dynamic tracks will need a little more gain/trim than others, but with it bouncing like that you’ll always bounce around the zero regardless of a track’s dynamics as more dynamic tracks that need more oomph will just have lower troughs and higher peaks. Try to stay out of the blue (treat them like red on a Pioneer DJM). Lower blues are your accidental safety. You notice blue hitting on the meters, back it off a bit to ensure you preserve a nice >10dB of headroom from the brick wall for when you’re not noticing. The second-to-top LED on Pioneer, Rane, Denon, etc, usually encompasses a whole 10dB prior to max. Top meter LED on gear is usually max level or clip which is -0dBFS on the digital stuff. I think on Pioneer digital DJMs they oddly max out at -5.5dBFS. I don’t think anyone else does that.

Also, make sure you either leave your master volume knob at its 0 or go into the mixer utility and set the master and booth to 10dB less so you can just stick master at max. You want the master meter to match your channel meter when one fader is all up and CF is off.

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Thanks for the feedback. to be clear you are saying increase the trim for each channel beyond zero until desired level is reached prior to noise or distortion? Is that correct?

Yes. When the music’s in full swing, peaks should be at or above the zero mark on the X1800 dBVu meters, depending on how dynamically compressed or dynamically spread-out the music is. Every track should not necessarily peak at the same level. Sparse stuff will often need more gain/trim to sound as loud as music that’s very dense… this has to do with the perception of loudness. The top LEDs on the meters is the hard limit. The LED right below that, though, is usually about -10dBFS. So second-to-top LED you shouldn’t intentionally go into, but it won’t technically clip yet until the very top LED.

You also don’t have to worry about noise, exactly, as if you’re doing all this you’re maximizing the signal to noise ratio on the mixer’s master output while not doing anything stupid. The input stage noise is moot, since with SPDIF there is no analog input stage, and the only brand of digital DJ mixers you have any control over the signal level into the analog-to-digital section is on Pioneers. On every other brand of fully digital DJ mixers the gain/trims are entirely digital domain in the DSP and the actual analog input trims are fixed with a big, healthy headroom built in for most signals.

By the way, these SPDIF connections are electrical over (optimally coaxial, but irrelevant at these short lengths) RCA cables, not optical ones that are light over fiber. :wink: We all know what you mean, though.

Also make sure you update to all the latest firmwares and check back frequently for those.