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Getting My recordings to the same volumne!

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Getting My recordings to the same volumne!

Postby forumuser781934 » Wed May 14, 2008 12:58 pm

Now, I've always had a problem with getting all my music to the same volume, seemingly its not as easy as it may sound!

I write all sorts of music for various licensing and media projects and can mix all my music to a sound that i am happy with but normalizing the tracks is such a pain.

I've used waves L-2 and positioned the "out-ceiling" to around -4 whilst keeping the "atten" flicking at the 0. I assumed if i did this with all my tracks they would all be just the same but thats not the case! Some are pretty close whilst others are not! Is it just a case of tinkering to get the desired volume?????? trial and error>??

This is an area I would love to know more about and how it really works and the best way for me to go about it.

An example is say my classical tracks sound super loud compared to say a dance track i made when using L2.


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Re: Getting My recordings to the same volumne!

Postby James Perrett » Wed May 14, 2008 2:02 pm

There's no substitute for listening to the tracks and adjusting by ear. The ear's response to sound isn't easily modelled so there's no simple and automatic way to do this in software.

When producing a compilation, I find that getting the vocals to the same level works best.


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Re: Getting My recordings to the same volumne!

Postby abba_x » Wed May 14, 2008 2:20 pm

I think the problem you are encountering is the difference between peak level and average level. Normalising a track makes the maximum peak in the music reach 0dBFS. However this does not relate to our ears perception of loudness, this is actually a function of the average level. This is why even a normalised track can be made louder using the L2 limiter you speak of.

You can't achieve what you want by setting the L2 the same every time because the relationship between average and peak level for every track is different based upon it's instrumentation and recording/mixing methods.

What you may want to do is find in your DAW (or 3rd party plugin) an RMS (averaging) level meter. You can try some existing material that you like and see what RMS value it comes out at. You can then master all your subsequent material relative to this level.

As stated before, it is best to use you ears to set the volume but we don't always have time to import a reference track to compare.
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Re: Getting My recordings to the same volumne!

Postby Martin Walker » Thu May 15, 2008 11:03 am

Yes, that's a good suggestion from abba_x, and exactly what I do - setting similar RMS levels provides a good ballpark figure for similar loudness that you can then tweak by ear, although this technique will only work for music in similar genres and 'density' of instruments.

In other words, if you have a band with the same instrumentation playing every track then RMS levels will give good results, but if you have interspersed electric and acoustic tracks then the acoustic ones will probably sit better in an album if they have lower RMS levels, since the listener expects them to sound quieter. In this case I suspect adjusting the vocal levels to be similar between tracks is a better approach, although one again an acoustic ballad will tend to have quieter vocals.

Ultimately as James says there's no substitute for listening to the tracks and adjusting by ear.

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Re: Getting My recordings to the same volumne!

Postby Ian Shepherd » Thu May 15, 2008 6:59 pm

Here's a great (free!) tool for measuring loudness:

Orban Loudness Meter

It includes a PPM meter, VU meter, ITU BS.1770 meter and CBS Technology Center loudness - it's great to have access to these less common metering systems, which offer measurements of perceived loudness, which can be more useful than pure RMS.

( Plus it runs well under Parallels on my MacBook Pro ;-)

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