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Sounds level indicators- don't know how to trust them!

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Max PalmerSounds level indicators- don't know how to trust them!
by on Nov 1, 2012 at 2:28:34 pm

Hi guys- I seem to have this problem all the time, let me see if I can explain this. I always wear headphones where I work, because I don't really have a choice. When I listen, no matter what software (premiere, after effects, soundbooth) the level indicator indicates that the volume levels are at an acceptable place (not clipping, generally staying in the midrange). However, I always find I have to turn up my system volume in order to hear clearly, which makes it obnoxious when background sounds happen, such as email. Also, if I output to dvd, I get complaints that others can't hear it very well. Are my audio level meters lying to me, or is there some sort of adjustment I need to make?

Thanks.


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Chris WrightRe: Sounds level indicators- don't know how to trust them!
by on Nov 4, 2012 at 9:42:55 am

normalizing at 0db should raise the digital amplification. Then multiband compressor should keep it from spiking hard.


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Steven TalleyRe: Sounds level indicators- don't know how to trust them!
by on Nov 4, 2012 at 1:45:28 pm

If you have existing MP3's that you want to normalize without re-encoding, give MP3gain a try.
http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/
You can batch a whole folder of MP3's at once. And it's FREE.


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Angelo LorenzoRe: Sounds level indicators- don't know how to trust them!
by on Nov 8, 2012 at 2:56:49 am

There are different ways to measure amplitude. The peak meters are just that, they measure the peaks.

One way of doing things is to compress your signal so it squashes the peaks, then to raise the overall volume. The peaks aren't there to clip and the "body" of the sound can be adjusted louder.

Please know that while doing hard compression and normalization to 0 may be acceptable for mastering music, if you mix dialog for broadcast, there is a more concise way of measuring volume called dialnorm; dialnorm standards usually put the average power of a spoken voice at -22-24db which allows headroom for louder sound fx as well as enough room from the noisefloor to add music beds, etc.

Angelo Lorenzo
Fallen Empire Digital Production Services - Los Angeles
RED transcoding, on-set DIT, and RED Epic rental services
Fallen Empire - The Blog
A blog dedicated to filmmaking, the RED workflow, and DIT tips and tricks


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