Since we so often rescale our signals to suit various needs (avoiding overflow, reducing quantization noise, making a nicer plot, etc.), there seems to be little point in worrying about what the dB reference is--we simply choose it implicitly when we rescale to obtain signal values in the range we want to see. In particular, dB relative to full scale ( ), abbreviated dBFS, is perhaps the most commonly used case in the digital audio world. Thus, 0 dBFS means maximum amplitude, and typical amplitude levels are negative in dBFS. In addition, there are a few specific dB scales that are worth knowing about, mostly for historical reasons, such as to understand VU meters in vintage audio gear and virtual analog plugins.