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audio leveling

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Dennis Allynaudio leveling
by on Oct 26, 2007 at 6:28:40 pm

I need some help leveling my audio. I have several audio clips and the volume is up and down. Is there a way to balance (level) the audio so it doesn't go real and loud and the lower volume gets raised some. I'm using Sony Vegas 7.0
Thanks, Dennis


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Rick MacRe: audio leveling
by on Oct 27, 2007 at 12:45:33 am

[Dennis Allyn] "Is there a way to balance (level) the audio so it doesn't go real and loud and the lower volume gets raised some."

Yes. You need to adjust the compressor on your audio track.
What it will do is level out your volume.

Click on the Track FX Button that is in the Audio Track Header. That will bring up three plugins, Noisegate, EQ,
and Compressor. Select the compressor tab. Play your
audio and adjust the ratio to betwwen 4 and 6. Now adjust
the threshold slider until you see 4-6 db of gain reduction on your meters. You may have to lower your output slider if the output level gets to high. The volume raises because the
compressor adds makeup gain as you lower the threshold level control.

Regards, Rick.

Rick Mac
Director of Audio Production
TCT Network - Directv 377


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dennis allynRe: audio leveling
by on Oct 27, 2007 at 2:35:57 am

I really don't understand the ratio thing 4 to 6 or the adjusting slider until I see a gain reduction on meters. Please explain for I am new at the audio.
Thanks so much, Dennis


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Rick MacRe: audio leveling
by on Oct 27, 2007 at 3:43:20 am

[dennis allyn] " really don't understand the ratio thing 4 to 6 or the adjusting slider until I see a gain reduction on meters. Please explain for I am new at the audio."

OK. Let's first explain what a compressor does.
It is a device that will average out the volume of
your audio. Let's talk controls and terms.

Gain Reduction - Is how active the compressor is in reducing
the volume once the threshold volume is reached. It is measured on a db scale.

Threshold - The volume at which the compressor becomes active.
Below the threshod no reduction, above the threshold reduction becomes active.

Ratio - Once your reduction becomes active the ratio is how
much reduction the compressor does. It is also measured on
a db scale. The higher the ratio the more it holds back the volume once the threshold volume has been hit.

Makeup Gain - Since you are compressing the signal your overall volume goes down. Makeup gain brings this back up for you, minus some of the loudest parts of the original signal.
Hence, quiet passages become louder while the loudest parts are tunred down. Your audio is now more consistant.

Gain Reduction Meter - This meter tells you how active
the gain reduction is. It is a db scale meter. The more active the meter the more you are compressing.
4 to 6 db of reduction during the loud stuff is about right.

A good rule of thumb is to set your ratio slider around 4 to 6. Play the audio and adjust the threshold slider till you see 4-6db on the gain reduction meter. Then adjust your output slider for good level on your vegas meters.

Be sure that your loudest peaks do not hit 0 on your meters.
In the digital world that will cause distortion.

Did this help or is it still as clear as mud?

Regards, Rick.




Rick Mac
Director of Audio Production
TCT Network - Directv 377


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Dennis AllynRe: audio leveling
by on Oct 29, 2007 at 3:51:16 pm

It is clearer, and I really appreciate your time. Could you please tell me what you believe to be the best settings for these. I have been using one of the default ones, I think the -3 one. What about the boxes at the bottom, gain and smooth, should they be checked?

Thanks Rick, Dennis


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Rick MacRe: audio leveling
by on Nov 3, 2007 at 3:02:25 am

[Dennis Allyn] "Could you please tell me what you believe to be the best settings for these. I have been using one of the default ones, I think the -3 one. What about the boxes at the bottom, gain and smooth, should they be checked?"

Sorry for taking so long to respond. I have been out of town all week.

The gain box - applies automatic makeup gain. As you adjust the threshold slider you will hear the makeup gain raising the volume. I like to uncheck this one. I adjust my threshold for 4-6db of gain reduction (on the peaks) and then manually adjust the output slider for the makeup gain.

The smooth box - as the name suggest has a warmer smoother sound that might help fatten the sound (if that is what's needed use it). Unchecked gives a more transparent sound.

As far as presets there is no one setting that works for everything. My suggestion would be to start by using one that has a description that matches what your compressing, such as vocal. Then fine tune it using the threshold and ratio sliders (till it is what you want).

Most of the time I take a less is more appraoch to compression. The more heavy you compress somthing the more you will hear the compressor affect the timbre of the source. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. Recording enginner's use compressors to not only control dynamics but to color the sound a certain way.

Play around with some sound sources and push those sliders around. Use your ear and before long you will know exactly what you like and what you do not.

Regards, Rick.



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