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Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD

GUEST,Ed 14 Jun 15 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 14 Jun 15 - 04:50 PM
Stanron 14 Jun 15 - 04:58 PM
Stanron 14 Jun 15 - 05:01 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Jun 15 - 08:15 PM
Mr Red 15 Jun 15 - 03:20 AM
Stanron 15 Jun 15 - 04:18 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Jun 15 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Ed 15 Jun 15 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 15 Jun 15 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrock 15 Jun 15 - 06:59 AM
GUEST,Ed 15 Jun 15 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 Jun 15 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,Ed 15 Jun 15 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 Jun 15 - 08:19 AM
treewind 16 Jun 15 - 08:18 AM
Nick 16 Jun 15 - 04:08 PM
Mr Red 16 Jun 15 - 04:42 PM
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Subject: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 03:49 PM

I'm looking to make a CD compilation of stuff from disparate places. The volumes of the source recordings are all very different. I'm looking for some software that might help me to get a similar volume for all.

I don't need anything fancy, maybe something that just finds the maximum volume and adjusts and so on.

I'm sure that there have been threads on this before, but I can't find them.

Any help appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 04:50 PM

It's a long time since I last needed to burn an audio disc,
but I'm fairly certain Nero CD Burner had a one click track volume normalisation function...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Stanron
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 04:58 PM

Most audio editors have a function called 'Normalise'
This boosts the signal to a set peak, usually with 0db as the default, but this can be changed. Signals above 0db can be expected to distort.

Final mixing usually involves more complex issues than merely level normalisation. However if all your recordings are of, say, one voice and one guitar and none of them have been compressed then normalisation alone might do it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Stanron
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 05:01 PM

I should have added that 'Audacity' is a multi-platform free Audio processor that has the normalise function.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 08:15 PM

I've found it best to adjust each track separately if it's material from lots of sources. The program I've used for years is Magix Audio Cleaning Lab. It costs money, but you can do a lot more with it than adjust levels.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 03:20 AM

Audacity.

I have access to better products but Audacity I can put on a memory stick and run on any PC. For volume as is said above "Normalize" (under "Effect")- you can do it in "selections" if you are confident, but best on the whole song to begin with. Their interpretation of what "equalisation" means is to play with the spectrum and selectively reduce (or increase) certain frequencies, be careful using it and make the curve smooth. Use preview (it may not play it all).

For clicks and annoying noises you can highlight and cut (Delete of backspace will remove it too) - just the worst bit and it won't sound odd, I can't remember the length up to which that is true, it will depend on the content but a few mili-seconds won't be missed, even to the rhythm.
To see these properly you have to magnify (there are magnifying glass symbols and + & -). To hear the section demagnify and select around the area and click play, though space bar will also play and stop playing.

Audacity portable can be downloaded from Portable Apps here. It can be installed in the normal PC system also, if you wish. Just tell it where to go.

It is better to use WAV files for music if you are selling CD's. Audacity will save WAV files but needs lame_enc.dll to save as MP3. It reads MP3 out of the box happily.

For mp3 encoding, you do need to put lame_enc.dll in the same directory as the exe file (or tell it where to find it) I usually trust SourceForge.net but this one claims to be for Audacity. This is a small price to pay for free software.

Best of luck.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Stanron
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 04:18 AM

It's a mini rant of mine that lots of programs today don't want to save files, they insist on saving 'Projects'. Audacity is the same. If all you want a .wav file, and that's all I ever want, you have to 'export' it. Simple enough under the file menu but irritating all the same.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 04:42 AM

Audio Cleaning Lab saves projects, but it's a piece of cake to export it to a folder as a WAV or MP3 (any quality you select), and you keep the project. If you don't want to clutter your hard drive that way, you can burn the project to CD losslessly straight from the program. Cinch!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 04:51 AM

Thank you, people.

'Normalise' was the term that I needed but had forgotten. Google then gives me more than enough


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 04:54 AM

Most of these programs, including Audacity, are intended for multi-track recording and editing. The 'project' files contain the separate tracks together with all the data about your edits. You can then mix it down to a single stereo track in whatever format you prefer.

If all you ever want to do is record a simple wav file with no multi-tracking and no editing then these programs are possibly overkill. Your computer probably has a simple record function which will do this. However is it much of an imposition to choose "export" from the menu rather than "save"?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,punkfolkrock
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 06:59 AM

...to reiterate... I haven't burned an audio CD for years since USB memory became so affordable...

But if I remember correctly, 'back in the day'
Nero v 5 had the facility to compile tracks of mixed wav and mp3 source into a CD running order
then 'auto normalise' the levels prior to burning the disc...???

I'm sure it was as quick and easy as that...

I never used a higher version than V 5 because it was the least bloated and very reliable.

I replaced it with freeware ImgBurn about 4 or 5 years ago,
but very rarely burn any discs..


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 07:11 AM

...to reiterate... I haven't burned an audio CD for years since USB memory became so affordable...

Very good. Are we supposed to bow or clap or something?

I happen to often visit places that don't have a computer. They do however have a CD player. Hence...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 07:41 AM

Ed - Don't be such a spoilt brat tosser, I'm trying to help you..😣

but cautiously qualifying my advice due to time passed and potentially unreliable memory...

I only mention cheaper usb memory because it is the reason why I haven't burned any audio CDs
for such a significantly long time.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 07:53 AM

I don't think that I've been a spoilt brat tosser, which strikes me as a little harsh, but I do thank you for your help


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 08:19 AM

Harsh...? 'tosser' is really soft - almost a term of endearment amongst mates..

'spoilt brat' because I'm still not properly awake
and my brain is not warmed up sufficiently to think of proper grown up big words...

But anyway.. no big deal or problem...

This is a useful and timely thread because the wife recently asked me to burn a disc for one of her friends,
which is a chore I ignored in the hope she'd forget;
because I need to remember how to do it with ImgBurn..


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: treewind
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 08:18 AM

Normalizing peaks is an approximation to what's needed.
There's a command line tool called normalize-audio which by default sets the average level to -14dB and will get a better approximation to equal peceived loudness on different types of music. (it will also limit peaks, if they'd otherwise clip)
For best results you have to use your ears and common sense. A solo fiddle track boosted to the same level as a big band (whether by peak, average or "perceived loudness") is going to sound ridiculous.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Nick
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 04:08 PM

Mp3gain or similar


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Subject: RE: Tech: Equalizing audio volumes for CD
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Jun 15 - 04:42 PM

Ah! Yes! The way to get WAV or MP3 output in Audacity is to "Export" or "Export Selection" (ie highlighted). Yes it is odd, but the program is free. Unless you want to revisit an edite don't "Save". If you have to come back to the edite next day (say) then saving "Project" is an absolute boon. It allows you to undo some of yesterday. But it does eat up memory if you have a lot of changes.

And another word of warning. If you have more than one track in the same time frame then any Save (even with "Mute" on one track) will mix down all tracks. Hence the need for "Export Selection". Of course you may want to mix tracks to add in whistles and bells.

And finally I was burning an Audio disk with Nero and just as I hit the Burn button, I noticed a check box that said "Normalize each track separately" or similar. Just a thought.

Audacity Normalize does not compress (AFAIK).

Best of luck.

PS Please be aware, that lacking visual clues, the banter here can appear (a paradox if ever there ws one) strident, reacting without that clue means you get into a spiral all too easily. People mean well, rather than mean "mean". And they speak from experience which may not be exactly similar to the OPer.


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