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Getting My recordings to the same volumne!
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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When producing a compilation, I find that getting the vocals to the same level works best.
- James Perrett
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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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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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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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