Speaking of 'being lower than the reference level' rather than the graph itself.

  • As one answer indicates, often digital audio levels are references to full scale, which is the highest possible level, which means all levels are below that and therefore by most metering schemes, all digital audio levels are negative. Feb 20 '19 at 20:04

With regard to 0dBFS, digital audio can only have non-positive decibel values, so unless it is constant 0dBFS, it will have negative decibel.


I recommend you research what a decibel is, how it works, then revisit this question.

Generally, digital audio samples are measured with reference to "full scale" which allows it to be measured with a unit dBFS which means "decibels with reference to full scale". 0dBFS is the largest sample value possible, therefore peak.

Consequently, every sample value that isn't peak will be metered using a "negative" dBFS value, which indicates it's "below full scale".

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