I found out why the cavity bakes come out brighter

It’s the setting in the image texture node of the low poly material. Changing it from non-color to sRGB actually changes the outcome of the bake.

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true, these are just numbers.
But RGB is ranged from red 0…255, green 0…255, and blue 0…255 integers.
While non-color is more or less a vector with a high dynamic range 0…1.

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