Preference option for dB or linear amplitude labels

Currently we have a haphazard mix of linear (0 to +/- 1.0) and dB labels. For example:

  • Track Gain: Linear
  • Amplification: dB
  • Track scale (default): linear
  • Meters (default): dB
  • Pan / Balance: linear
  • Normalize: dB
  • Generators (built-in): Linear
  • Contrast: dB
  • Plot Spectrum: dB

My suggestion is that we have a setting in Preferences where the user can choose either dB or linear (0 to +/- 1.0), and then amplitudes are consistently shown in that form within the Audacity interface.

Here is a mock-up with “dB” selected. Note that this suggestion is only about how the numbers are displayed.
Some of the proportions look a bit weird in this image, which is due to the originating screenshot being made on a fairly high dpi display, and is not related to this proposal.

Cool Edit blue waves are in dB, but 6 is in the middle. I’d welcome not having to constantly tell people that 50% on the waves is -6dB on the sound meter.

Even if the graphics didn’t change a bit, kissing off percentages would be welcome.


You are aware that 1.0 and 0dB both mean “100%” (0 and -Inf meaning 0, respectively)? I admit it makes one think for a while when seen for the first time, but it’s logical.