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Leveler vs hard limiter

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dpdenver
Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 1, 2007 at 7:21:46 pm

Another question.....

I have read several postings on the audio process - and I basically have gone through some clips (see other post - removing crowd noise) as follows:
1. Restoration for Clicks, Hiss, and Noise Reduction
2. parametric EQ for a bit of richness
3. Hard Limiter (instead of normalizing)
4. DONE

The hard limiter seems to bring up everything x db's and limits peaks.

Now my question is I have used a filter before (different program) called leveler - and it seems to bring up the quiet parts to the same level as the louder parts. That seems different than the hard limiter - is there a similar filter such as the leveler that I used with my other program ?


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MarkofCain
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 2, 2007 at 2:44:18 am

What you need is a compressor.

Check effects --> VST --> multiband compressor

You might want to check out this as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression



Mark Cain
Sarasota, FL USA


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dpdenver
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 2, 2007 at 1:40:30 pm

Yes - thanks.

I know nothing is written in stone and practice practice is the key, but would the multiband compressor take the place of steps

2. parametric EQ for a bit of richness
3. Hard Limiter (instead of normalizing)

or would it be best performed after (or before) steps 2 & 3 ?


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willie toth
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 2, 2007 at 1:54:08 pm



I would do PARAMETRIC, then HARD LIMITING ......... WILLIE


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MarkofCain
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 2, 2007 at 2:05:15 pm

Most of my work involves voiceovers on a musicbed so here's what I do:

VO:
Multiband compressor -- (focused in the vocal range)
normalize to -1 db
noise reduction -- (slight -- only if needed)
dynamics processing -- effects --> amplitude --> dynamic processing (usually set to drop anything below -27 db -- depends)
eq

Music bed:
Multiband compressor -- (broad musical range -- may skip depands on music)
normalize to -27 db

Then mix in multitrack

This seems like a lot of work -- but I have produced great video content and then have had complaints re: audio and the impression is left that the whole job is sub par even though the content of the video is great. For me sound is like lighting -- it's great when no one notices it and it lets them focus on the content of the video. But there are times where the lighting makes the shot or the sound makes the point.

Regarding your question about eq vs multiband compressor:
There is a sense that the compressor does the same thing as the eq -- but generally the Q is too broad in a multiband compressor to give you the best results. But maybe someone here with more experience will beg to differ.

HTH


Mark Cain
Sarasota, FL USA


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willie toth
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 2, 2007 at 2:25:01 pm



With audio my rule of thumb, "less is more" sounds like you are over processing to me, but then I don't know what you are starting with either ... I can tell you any hard limit or normalizing comes last, noise reduction should be at the top of the list, (if needed of course) then EQ with in most cases requires very little if recorded proberly and then it's usually just pulling a bit of mid range out ... Then as I said do a hard limit at -1db ... You should be recording your VO at between -6 to -15db and you are best off using an outboard compressor/limitor in-lu-of processing after the fact at least this has been very effective for me ........ WILLIE


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MarkofCain
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 2, 2007 at 8:53:36 pm

I'll try to move the order around in a future project to see if I can get better sound.

My primary presentation is done in a church where I can't control the soundboard and the video is played through any one of a couple of different laptops. Seems as though there is always a unique twist to each performance. The sound system there is occasionally plagued by gremlins.

Additionally, the video is rendered for the web and is placed on the church's web site.

Have a listen if you get the chance. I'd love to have your feedback. Here is my latest:

http://www.southshorechurch.com/media/bob_elliott2.ram


Thanks,



Mark Cain
Sarasota, FL USA


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willie toth
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 3, 2007 at 11:24:48 am

Mark,

I hear a bit of distortion, but other then that it's not bad ... It might be a good idea to lower the record volume a couple of db ... Isn't it amazing how one mans story can be your own ....... WILLIE


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Emmett
Re: Leveler vs hard limiter
on Jul 3, 2007 at 8:57:35 pm

A lot of people would disagree with using outboard gear for processing. These days, that's becoming an unpopular practice. If you record without processing, then you have much more control later. That being said, I also use outboard mic processing for voiceovers. I use a Focusrite Voicemaster Pro into a DBX 266XL. The DBX is barely in the chain. It is there as a peak limiter, to control only the most offensive peaks that might exceed 0dBFS...Otherwise, it is inaudible. The bulk of my processing comes from the Focusrite.

Anyhow, I would advise against using the multiband compressor unless you are EXTREMELY familiar with the functions of a single-band compressor. 95% of the time, you can get better results with a single-band compressor. And much of the time, a multiband compressor will make it sound worse long before it sounds better. There should never be a reason to use a multiband compressor on a voice file, unless you are creating a special effect. It creates many more problems than it solves.

I would also advise against use of the hard limiter as much as possible. Every tool has its place, but the hard limiter is an extremely abrasive tool. It is probably the most abused tool on the market. It's something that you might want to use on a final mix, to raise the RMS level a little, but it will be at the expense of your dynamic range. You'll gain loudness, but lose dynamic range and resolution.

If you want to even everything out nicely, you do have some options. The first option is to track down a VST leveler plug-in. They're out there and I'm sure there are free ones. The other option is to use Audition's dynamics processor. Use slow settings to keep a natural result, while evening out the track.

As for EQ, do it after you compress. Compression messes with EQ, but the reverse is not true, in terms of audibility. Cut to correct, boost to create a specific result. The parametric EQ will often yeild the best results. I don't much care for Audition's paramentric. There are better freebies out there, but if you're happy with it, use what you have.

Emmett


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