Red Output in AR TG Mastering Chain, how bad is that?

I’m a big fan of AR TG Mastering Chain and I have a question as I try to optimize my process:

I know the importance of hitting AR TG at the right level on the input (using the Bridge meter plugin) — but how bad is it to go red on the output meter?

I’m working in Reaper (64 bit processing) using L1 Ultramaximizer+ as a final limiter… That should reign in the overage, right?

Does the peaking-to-red in AR TG actually matter, as long as my processing is floating point and I’m catching the overage in L1+?

My ears tell me everything is OK, but at age 48 (or is it 49 now?) I don’t exactly have the ears of a dog!

Thanks for your advice.

To answer my own original post – I realized I can check this in Plugin Doctor…

As it turns out, you can boost to the max on the output of AR TG Mastering Chain, going into the red, and it doesn’t distort or saturate in any harmful way. In a 64 bit float DAW, this overage is handled without any issue and if you use a limiter to safely bring the level back down to 0 or below, everything is fine when you render.

So the simple wrap up is — YES, you can set your final output level in AR TG Mastering Chain to whatever you need it to be… but if you’re peaking into the red you do need a final limiter to handle those floating point overages.

This is pretty much what the manual recommended, but I have since confirmed there’s no additional saturation or distortion added by the output circuit. (In fact, all the “color” in AR TG comes from the Compressor/Limiter stage, so if you want “the sound” of AR TG, it’s recommended to turn that section ON even if you’re not actually compressing/limiting.)

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I imagine there is some headroom as is most likely in the original gear. Beyond that I would have thought it would have modelled distortion.

It kind of makes sense that it doesn’t, though, as nothing is switched in. If nothing were to be switched in the original gear it just wouldn’t pass audio through. In the plugin it seems that audio passthrough would be a more intuitive approach.