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#22426 - 05/07/09 06:30 AM [Off-Topic] Advice on sound levels
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
I've done about a dozen songs using BIAB/PT/RB over the past year or so, and a old muso friend of mine asked me to send some through to him. I've put them on a CD (in MP3 format) however, due to the "learning curve" of mixing & mastering, there is often quite a variation in the levels of various tracks.
Apart from remastering, does anyone have suggestions for a shortcut to get the levels a little more uniform ? I also have Goldwave, but I'm not really proficient in using it.
Thanks in advance.
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Keith

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#22427 - 05/07/09 06:41 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
rharv Offline
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See if your burning software has a check box for 'auto normalize before burning'.
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#22428 - 05/07/09 06:46 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: rharv]
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
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Loc: Australia
You can normalise in Goldwave too. That's what I use. Sometimes you need to look at the overall wav file and see how the bulk of the wave amplitudes fall because excessive peaks can affect normalisation interpretation.
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#22429 - 05/07/09 06:48 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: rharv]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
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Loc: NSW Australia
Hi Bob,
I have a copy of Nero Express, and I've noticed a checkbox marked "Normalize All Media Files". I'll give that a try. Will it work for MP3's as well as audio files?
Thanks for your advice.
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Keith

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#22430 - 05/07/09 06:54 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
rharv Offline
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Posts: 18968
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It's just a quick fix, not a true balancing, but that seemed like what you were looking for.
Yep- it shopuld work on mp3 too
Nero Wave Editor, if you happen to have it, is a nice tool too. Sometimes they throw it in a package, sometimes not...
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#22431 - 05/07/09 07:06 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: rharv]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Thanks again Bob.
Hi Noel,
I had a look on Goldwave but I couldn't find a normalise option. I have version 5.25 (2008). Do you have a later version?
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Keith

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#22432 - 05/07/09 07:35 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Hi again,
The 'normalise' check box did the trick.
Thanks again Bob & Noel
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Keith

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#22433 - 05/07/09 07:41 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
silvertones Offline
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Registered: 05/13/03
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Normalize is not really the tool to use. If you have two songs one that is HEAVILY compressed and one that is not but has a loud spike the tracks after normalization will still sound way out of kilter.
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#22434 - 05/07/09 07:57 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Sorry guys, another question (I'm a bit out of my depth here)
The MP3 files were converted to .cda files by Nero, and have reduced from around 3Mb to 46kb.
Does this sound correct?
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Keith

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#22435 - 05/07/09 08:39 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 13722
Loc: Australia
Hi Keith,

I have Goldwave 5.06. The button you are looking for is called "Maximise Volume". It's a dial with an exclamation mark next to it on my version; located on the second row of buttons. In my version, I can also access it from the "Effect" menu under "Volume".

Noel
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#22436 - 05/07/09 08:55 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: silvertones]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Thanks Noel,
I've found it (I was looking for "Normalize").
BTW I'm pretty sure that if you go to the website (www.goldwave.com) you can get a free upgrade if you wish.

Quote:

Normalize is not really the tool to use. If you have two songs one that is HEAVILY compressed and one that is not but has a loud spike the tracks after normalization will still sound way out of kilter.




Thanks Silvertones,
It was not really spikes that were the problem, rather the overall volume differences in the track(s).
_________________________
Cheers,
Keith

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#22437 - 05/08/09 08:02 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Powderman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 262
Loc: TEXAS, USA
If you are working with MP3 files you might google for a program MP3 Gain - I think it is free. I have tried it a couple of times - and it did not do too bad for what I was trying to do at the time.
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#22438 - 05/08/09 09:08 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Powderman]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Thanks Powderman, I'll give it a try.
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Cheers,
Keith

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#22439 - 05/08/09 10:07 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Don Gaynor Offline
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Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 8005
Loc: Oklahoma, USA
keith, i like mediamonkey (qv) at www.mediamonkey.com because it will level ALL files in a folder. one caution... its not reversible so make backup copies first. mediamonky is a free replacement for ms media player with many additional enhancements. i've been using it for about 2 years.

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#22440 - 05/08/09 10:51 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Glenn Kolot Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 2296
Loc: Victoria BC home of PG Music
Quote:

Thanks again Bob.
Hi Noel,
I had a look on Goldwave but I couldn't find a normalise option. I have version 5.25 (2008). Do you have a later version?




Keith:

Goldwave 5.51 became available today - my system notified me automatically this afternoon.

As for "normalize", it's called "maximize" in GW (which I've been using for about six years now).

To get files to "sound similar" in overall volume, I use two methods:

1. Adjust the wave files, and listen to them simultaneously - a good tool for this is Window Media Player - I run it, then while doing something else, I kind of listen to the songs in the background. If a song is too loud or too soft, it jumps out at me, and I adjust accordingly.

2. Now I can usually look at the wave files in GW, and by looking at the overall waveform, I can tell if a file will knock my ears out. For this, the files must be of similar length so that the waves (which are fit into the width of the screen) are "scrunched" together a similar amount. The larger a file is, the more scrunched it will be, and hence it will look more like an over-compressed file.

If a file has had the crap compressed out of it, I can spot it immediately without listening to it for one second. Files that appear solid green and red (green = left, red = right channel), are heavily compressed and will sound louder even if the maximum is the same as a less compressed file. This is the old TV station trick - compress the ads so that the maximum volume is no more than the main program, but the compression increases the overall loudness or "punchiness".

Keep in mind that I'm usually dealing with piano solo music, and this doesn't "fill up the wave" the same as music with numerous instruments (hope you can understand this).

Essentially, if a wave fills up the screen, then it's likely been compressed quite a bit, and will sound louder than a more open wave that has the same maximum volume. An over-compressed file will have all the wave peaks at or near the same level (this of course destroys dynamics, so IMO compression should be applied carefully). I've said it before on this forum, but a few of the songs posted over the years for review here seem to be compressed "quite a bit".

As an aside, I usually maximize my piano stuff to -0.3 dB which is pretty close to max, but that's after I've done everything else. For classical piano (Chopin has some horrific ranges of volume) put to a CD for listening in the car, I first maximize to zero, then compress in GW with the following parameters: Reduce peaks no attack or release, Multiplier -6dB, Threshold from -4dB to -6dB, depending on the height of the spikes above the rest of the song. I don't want to compress anything but the extreme peaks or the result will be distortion. IMO, this is a good thing to keep in mind: compression = distortion.

I also compress my own stuff, using the same approach (the Chopin files are from the internet - I can't play at that level).

Glenn

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#22441 - 05/09/09 06:49 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Glenn Kolot]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Quote:

keith, i like mediamonkey (qv) at www.mediamonkey.com because it will level ALL files in a folder. one caution... its not reversible so make backup copies first. mediamonky is a free replacement for ms media player with many additional enhancements. i've been using it for about 2 years.



Thank you Don; I've downloaded Media Monkey & I look forward to playing with it.

Hi Glenn,
Thank you for your informative response. I've downloaded the GW upgrade - thanks for the tip.
I must admit that I don't use Gold Wave to it's full capacity. I primarily purchased it some years ago purely as a recording medium to get my music from BIAB to a CD (this was pre-Powertracks.) Now I only use it to convert my finished songs in Real Band to an MP3. I should really play around with it more and start using its full capabilities.
Thank again for your advice.
_________________________
Cheers,
Keith

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#22442 - 05/10/09 02:19 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
Glenn Kolot Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 2296
Loc: Victoria BC home of PG Music
Quote:

Hi Glenn,
Thank you for your informative response. I've downloaded the GW upgrade - thanks for the tip.
I must admit that I don't use Gold Wave to it's full capacity. I primarily purchased it some years ago purely as a recording medium to get my music from BIAB to a CD (this was pre-Powertracks.) Now I only use it to convert my finished songs in Real Band to an MP3. I should really play around with it more and start using its full capabilities.
Thank again for your advice.




Keith:

I couldn't do any music without it. It's a full fledged wave editor that is worth the effort to learn about.

Glenn

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#22443 - 05/10/09 03:12 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Glenn Kolot]
Keith from Oz Offline
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Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 2202
Loc: NSW Australia
Thanks Glenn; I will.
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Cheers,
Keith

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#22444 - 05/10/09 06:58 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: Keith from Oz]
joan Offline
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Registered: 12/19/02
Posts: 901
How do you rate the "Normalize" function on Audacity. That is what I have been using with my MP3's, but wonder if there is a difference among software programs.

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#22445 - 05/10/09 12:31 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Advice on sound levels [Re: joan]
Glenn Kolot Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 2296
Loc: Victoria BC home of PG Music
I tried Audacity once, but because I had already been trying Goldwave (and was therefor "attuned" to its controls), didn't particularly care for Audacity even though the price was right.

There are a number of wave editors available, and I suspect they all use similar algorithms (or whatever the term is) to maximize a file.

I have found that I can record a wave file with GW that has "gone over the top" a bit and I can't seem to hear any clipping. For example, a couple of days ago I was rendering a Chopin midi file (from the internet) to a wave file in Pianoteq, and when I ran Maximize, I noted that one channel had a plus value which can't be recorded. But the program indicated that the level while recording had in fact exceeded 0 dB (actual values were +.10 and +.14 dB L/R channels). I might just try and see how far I can push it.

In my limited knowledge (Mac will know better than I), this seems to indicate that there is a built-in limiter in GW - on the other hand, this may be a standard feature of all wave editors.

When I first started with PowerTracks, I read about "thwack" in the manual, and didn't quite grasp the concept. One day I pushed the output level a bit too much (past 0dB), and the noise I heard was a wonderful lesson in what THWACK is.

Glenn

EDIT:

Just tried pushing the output a bit more (not hard to do with a Chopin piece and the dynamics can vary widely), and the results are: +0.26 and +0.22 L/R respectively. Will push a bit more and check back.


Edited by Glenn Kolot (05/10/09 12:35 PM)

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