Term: Dynamic range

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Dynamic range describes, in decibels, the difference between the loudest possible amplitude of a signal in a system compared to the noise floor of the system. The maximum dynamic range of human hearing is about 100 dB, from about 10 dB SPL (quiet breathing) up to about 110 dB SPL (where pain begins). High-quality analog recording equipment should have a dynamic range of over 120 dB and 24-bit digital audio provides a dynamic range of 144 dB.