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Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

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Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Kolakube » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:39 pm

In these days of infinite everything and technology one thing really urks me.

I listen to MP3's on a PC or Apple or PS3 or anything and there all different levels. The louder ones are twice as loud as the quiet ones.

Back in the days of tape and vinyl you set your own recording level on the tape deck. So if you recorded 3 different pieces of vinyl to one tape you could get the levels similar and listening on a tape deck was way more consistent that ripping CDs to MP3 that basically all have different levels of volume.

Has anyone ever made a piece of software that turns up and down the volume level of tracks so they all match? Surely this cant be that hard? And surely I am not the only guy on earth that finds this annoying.

(Please note - I do not mean I want a compressor or limiter, something that achieves the above at the expense of zapping the dynamic range.)
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Chevytraveller » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:36 pm

What you are almost certainly hearing is the 'perceived' loudness which is something we now have to contend with thanks to the loudness wars..
The louder MP3s are almost certainly more mordern masters which have been pumped to within an inch of their lives to sound louder (at the expense as you correctly say of their dynamic range).

This is a problem we are continuing to battle in TV land as advertising Tw*ts insist on pumping their adverts to be much louder than the programs.

Unfortunately there is no easy fix for this as as far as metering goes, they will appear to have the same peaks and most leveling algorithms work by analysing peak level.
There are a few intelligent algorithms starting to appear now from companies like Dolby and Junger to try to combat this but I have only seen them in high end(very expensive) broadcast gear

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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:41 pm

If you're using iTunes and iOS devices, turn on the 'sound check' option which adjusts the loudness of each track to around -16dBFS.

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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Kolakube » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:43 pm

Cheers for the info Chevey.

In honesty I didnt expect a solution to be out there. How I wish there was though.

If im in the bath listening to my tunes (I love this, few candles on, dark room, hot water, bliss) one MP3 is half power the next is (or sounds) twice as loud then the next is ok.

The solution of course is to use my wet hands to change the volume manually. I was hoping someone could make some code that could do that for me.

Yeah I hear ya on the adverts on TV. But its counter productive I think. I mean I certainly just mute the ads because of this. Where as before I wouldn't have. So in our house there is less noise from adds than more.
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:40 am

In Foobar you can setup replay gain and Media Monkey will normalize tracks.
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:31 pm

Kolakube wrote:Yeah I hear ya on the adverts on TV. But its counter productive I think. I mean I certainly just mute the ads because of this. Where as before I wouldn't have. So in our house there is less noise from adds than more.

I was reading recently about a regulation which comse into force in 2014 to limit Tv & radio advert volume to a fixed percentage of the programme volume. I can't remember whether it was UK or US legislation though. It's the you tube adverts that irritate me most, although at least those of us monitoring through an external interface can mute them.
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And of course there must be something wrong. In wanting to silence any song.


Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:35 pm

I wrote a Windows program for this very purpose, although it only works on WAV files, but you can create MP3 files if you have LAME installed. It measures short sections of each file (by default five second sections) and calculates the RMS value filtered through a B weighted curve, and also the RMS of the entire file and you can select whether to amplify/attenuate based on the overall level or the level of the loudest section. It has a basic peak limiter to prevent clipping.

If you're interested it is at www.plompy.co.uk/software

Other options would be to get a player that supports ReplayGain, although your MP3 files have to be encoded with it.
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:01 pm

The legislation you are talking about is based around the ITU-R BS.1770 'loudness standards' which are being introduced in European TV broadcasters as the EBU R-128 standard, and in America under the CALM act using the ATSC-A/85 variation of BS1770 (which came into force last week.) Most European broadcasters will be using loudness normalisation based on these standards well before the end of 2013, and the Americans are already there.

The same standards -- albeit with a slightly different target loudness level -- will be introduced across radio, probably in 2014. The standards are currently being discussed.

Apple's iTunes includes a very similar system under he name of 'soundcheck' which measures the loudness of individual song files and writes some metadata into the file header to offset the replay level to ensure consistent loudness between tracks on playback.

I would encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with loudness metering -- it will become the default standard for all audio production within the next couple of years -- and it will finally bring an end to the loudness wars. Hurrah

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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:02 pm

Hairy Ears wrote:I wrote a Windows program for this very purpose

I would suggest that it would be well worthwhile re-visiting it and adjusting as necessary to make sure it conforms with the K-weighting filter and averging window times of the BS1770 standard.

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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:08 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Hairy Ears wrote:I wrote a Windows program for this very purpose

I would suggest that it would be well worthwhile re-visiting it and adjusting as necessary to make sure it conforms with the K-weighting filter and averging window times of the BS1770 standard.

hugh

Well, I never really wrote it with that sort of thing in mind. More to prevent my ear drums from being surprised when listening on shuffle
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Santarosa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:30 pm

Hello,

there's a software I used called MP3gain. It did a good job on that regard. Simple to use as well. Just read the manual, which is also simple.

http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/

I've just watched a video on youtube explaining how to use it.

I think it's only for Windows. But once you get them processed, that's it.

Cheers,
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:45 am

Hairy Ears wrote:Well, I never really wrote it with that sort of thing in mind. More to prevent my ear drums from being surprised when listening on shuffle

I realise that... But it sounds like a useful program and it's not that far away from the new standard, so updating it would probably be fairly simpler and increase its usefulness and compatibility significantly.

Just a thought.

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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Rich Hanson » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:44 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Hairy Ears wrote:Well, I never really wrote it with that sort of thing in mind. More to prevent my ear drums from being surprised when listening on shuffle

I realise that... But it sounds like a useful program and it's not that far away from the new standard, so updating it would probably be fairly simpler and increase its usefulness and compatibility significantly.

Just a thought.

H

Well, I might consider it because it does need an update as some file headers cause it to sulk (I hadn't encountered BWAV when I first wrote it, for instance).

But right now, it will have to be a fairly low priority what with one thing and another.
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Rich Hanson » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:12 pm

Rather annoyingly I thought I would make these adjustments to the code, so I looked on my work laptop where I had written it. I've only gone and deleted the source code! What's worse, somehow I managed to delete them from my backups too!!

So unless I can find the time to re-write it from scratch I'm afraid that Wave File Leveller shall remain bereft of K meter functionality!
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Re: Any way to keep many MP3s from various sources so they all play back at same volume??

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:31 pm

Ha! Found a mislaid memory stick!

I shall indeed now make a K-meter based version of the program, and hopefully sort out the sulking it does with files with certain less common headers.
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