One measurement of a signal’s amplitude is to determine the peak. This process involves analyzing and comparing each sample to find the one with the greatest amplitude.
Audio signals can have a positive and negative amplitude. Therefore, the amplitude peak is actually based on the sample with the largest deviation from zero, positive or negative. This is specifically called the signal’s peak magnitude.
Here is a two step process to determine the peak magnitude. First, take the absolute value of the signal. This will allow for a simple comparison between both positive and negative values. Second, go through the samples to find the maximum amplitude.
Now that we can determine a signal’s peak, let’s look at normalizing the amplitude of the signal such that the peak equals a specified level.