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Windows 7: Sound level equalization on recordings

20 Nov 2010   #11
mickey megabyte

ultimate 64 sp1
 
 

but if you had a bunch of mismatched files all of different volumes (like the op), and didn't want to constantly adjust the volume control during playback (like the op), normalization would be the way to go. it will bring them all to a very similar level.

i'm not saying that everyone has to normalize every single file on their pc - i was advising the op with his very specific problem.

why can't you believe that it doesn't harm the quality? it doesn't. not at all. not even a teensy weensy little bit. it just makes a slight change to the volume of the file. it is just as if the recording engineer had his master volume slider at a different level during the mix process.

i wish i could think of a good metaphor to convince you, but i can't right now.

it's great that we can all believe what we want.


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20 Nov 2010   #12
linnemeyerhere

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

We all are free to do as we like and I think for the OP's needs normalize away. Car's and portables it's perfect. Any manipulation of the signal will degrade it so for my system, my speakers, my headphones I'll ride the gain. To each his own and I'm no way slamming anyone who's opinion may differ from mine. I trust my hears through a high end system which maintains sound staging, hall effect and imaging. You mileage may vary !
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20 Nov 2010   #13
mickey megabyte

ultimate 64 sp1
 
 

i'm sure you do have a very nice hi-fi - but that doesn't change the fundamental principles of digital audio.

let's agree to disagree, eh?
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20 Nov 2010   #14
linnemeyerhere

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

+1 on that......it's all good as they say.
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21 Nov 2010   #15
trahcwolf

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Sounds like some expert advice
I only use Windows 7's built in ripper to grab
songs from cd's at the moment
In the past, I used Soundforge's WaveHammer, but being a
newcomer to audio at the time, I had no clue what I was doing
I'm probably still a novice based on the credits you guys have
I'm not an audiophile, just find it distracting to drive while constantly having to readjust what should be a relaxing background
I am willing to try audiograbber or anything else...
Not upset at spending an hour or two to make a good comfortable listening
experience--just don't want to spend a day on each cd
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21 Nov 2010   #16
trahcwolf

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Fireberd and Mickeymegabyte, thanks for all the info

It seems from what I see in your replies that I need to seek normalization.
I have noticed the terms
Audacity, audiograbber and media monkey
mentioned as possible solutions

My questions now are
which is better and user friendly
Which would allow fewer steps from rip to finished product

Is it possible to normalize while ripping, or must the operation involve ripping tracks to a directory, then batch normalizing , then burning?

I'm looking at my next project being around 3 gb - Music files going from my cd collection onto the hard drive, somewhere between 400 and 600 tunes as MP3 files -- then burning the MP3's to a dvd which I will copy to my car's jukebox

Most would say I'm being a bit too nitpicky and should leave things as they are. As I said before, constantly switching the volume instead of listening comfortably can be tiresome.

Looking forward to your advice.
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21 Nov 2010   #17
Aphelion

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mickey megabyte View Post
what negative effect are you going to get from normalizing? you're just making it louder - imagine raising a fader on a mixing desk, or twisting a volume control - so long as you don't clip the signal, you aren't affecting the quality at all.
There is a very slight degradation when normalizing, with 32-bit audio subsystems it's actually better to raise the gain as there is less distortion. **
This is especially true of 16-bit (CD-Quality) audio files, 24-bit survive normalization with less impact.

If you're making an mp3 it doesn't make any difference as far more bits are mashed when converting to mp3.

** However... to hear any difference between a normalized file and riding the gain you must have first and foremost, an audio card with fairly decent converters and a low noise floor, this lets out all motherboard audio (Realtek...etc..) and most anything else in the under $500 range.

What often is heard as sound degradation is a slight overload from the source material after being normalized. Just as a guitar with "active" electronics and high signal output can cause an amp to clip at a much lower volume, a file that's been normalized to 100% (Almost any CD after 1998) will cause many computer audio systems to add a small amount of distortion from the input stage.

Most listeners (99.9) could not tell the difference between normalized or not at the same gain level, pro audio engineers have failed double blind tests trying.

If you have a choice, better not to normalize if you don't mind riding the volume control, however.. if someone chooses to normalize files for the sake of convenience... nobody will ever know, especially through most computer audio systems.

Ap

Edit:
Where normalization might have a noticeable effect is mixing a multitrack recording.
If 24 audio files are normalized before mixing there might be an audible bit of graininess added, -depends on the source material-. Modern digital recording systems like Sonar, Cubase, ProTools...etc have internal resolution of at least 32-bits, when mixing it's best just to raise the volume of a file rather than normalize.
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21 Nov 2010   #18
trahcwolf

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Aphelion said: If you have a choice, better not to normalize if you don't mind riding the volume control, however.. if someone chooses to normalize files for the sake of convenience... nobody will ever know, especially through most computer audio systems.

Don't mind riding the volume control?
Ok, I'm not sure if this answers my most recent question
Basically confuses me
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21 Nov 2010   #19
Aphelion

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by trahcwolf View Post
Aphelion said: If you have a choice, better not to normalize if you don't mind riding the volume control, however.. if someone chooses to normalize files for the sake of convenience... nobody will ever know, especially through most computer audio systems.

Don't mind riding the volume control?
Ok, I'm not sure if this answers my most recent question
Basically confuses me
Sorry, I just looked at your question!

Sounds like media monkey is what you want, if it can normalize files during the rip that's the way to go.

However, some files have different RMS values, normalization may balance some of your output levels but others still may require adjustment in the car.

If a song has a lot of high waveform peaks (percussion, snare...etc) normalization balances to that peak, the overall loudness of this file will not seem as loud as a normalized file with a uniform wav level.

see pic.. the second file has peaks, it's normalization brings the file up to a certain level, the first file with it's uniform wav level will be MUCH louder.

To get them even the second file would have to be compressed which ruins dynamics and musicality (my opinion) and for me is more difficult to listen to for any length of time.

Sound level equalization on recordings-peaks.jpg

Ap


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21 Nov 2010   #20
trahcwolf

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

OK, thanks
I'll check out media monkey and see what happens

Problem with text: Can't express humor, intonation or emotion
Translation: I never yell
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 Sound level equalization on recordings




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