Does anyone know what are two thin horizontal lines in waveform window in audio editors?
I want to make my sound louder but wo/clipping, e.g. in the image, lines at approx. peaks, is this to mark headroom or something else?
What if sound crosses it, does it mean clipping will occur? I can see in DAW when sound gets clipped but I'm not sure here.

enter image description here

  • Do you mean the thin vertical lines approx. at the peaks? Those are just parts of the time markers, and not specifically related to clipping. There are longer vertical lines near the start of the timestamps, and two more short ones that nearly run in to the time stamp, before the two that are clearly visible by themselves Oct 5, 2019 at 22:21
  • I wrote and mean horizontal lines - ibb.co/q7RFYCT
    – Marky M.
    Oct 7, 2019 at 9:23
  • When I first looked at the posted picture, I'm guessing the colors were off on the monitor which i viewed it, as the horizontal lines near the peaks did not appear at all. When I was able to look at the picture on another PC, they do show up though, so that's my mistake. Oct 7, 2019 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


The lines represent some level. You haven't told us WHICH audio editor you're using, and you haven't shown us the whole screen, so we can only guess WHAT levels.

Here's a more useful screenshot from Wavelab where the labelling shows that the lines are at -6dB. That's a typical level for this sort of line.

The 0dB line, the clipping point, is at the top of the display. Demonstrably, the waveform ISN'T clipped at the -6dB line. It would be at the 0dB line. It's just there as a useful aiming point for the 'bulk' of the signal, leaving room for peaks.

enter image description here


If you were talking about blue lines, then:

I don't know how to describe that with terminology, but when you play quieter the waveforms is thinner and lies near that line. I believe that line is that defines an audio region minimal dynamic range (again, I'm bad at terminology, but I mean the dynamic range, like my audio interface has a -120 dB dynamic range), so your DAW also has that dynamic range and that line represents -∞ dB, so all audio content which volume level is above the minimal dynamic range is shown as waveform. If that line is mixed with audio content like this (below) then it's called a zero crossing:

zero_crossing silence

So if you see only that line with no audio content – it represent silence (still some extremely quiet noises can occur). I believe you're editing a stereo file, so each channel has it's own (because I've shown in mono).

  • Thanks but see this pic - ibb.co/q7RFYCT, I meant these :)
    – Marky M.
    Oct 6, 2019 at 11:39
  • @MarkyM. Another question: is the file editor window tied to to the bottom of the DAW or is it a floating window? What happens with these lines when you resize this section (when tied to the bottom of the screen in DAW) or window? Because those might just be grid lines, which indicate your current waveform zoom level.
    – Eugen Eray
    Oct 8, 2019 at 15:52
  • Ext. wave editor on board, both lines have -6 dB tag.
    – Marky M.
    Oct 9, 2019 at 19:31
  • 1
    @MarkyM. Then those probably indicate the level of -6dB (kinda like threshold), which is actually a good level for audio recording when going to mixing stage (because you've got more headroom). However clipping occurs at 0dB, so you can increase the volume by 4 dB (I wouldn't recommend more, because -1 dB is already very high for mixing) but only if your entire audio file is as balanced as on the picture.
    – Eugen Eray
    Oct 14, 2019 at 7:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.