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Heavily reducing peaks across audio files

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Harry Wright
Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 12:03:19 am

I've got several 1-2 hour long audio files that have peaks of over -3dB, and I need to make it so that there are no peaks higher than -3dB.

I've got around 15 hours of audio here in total, so using envelopes or adjusting the volume is unfeasible. How would I go about bringing all of those peaks down to below -3dB, while still keeping the rest of the audio at the same volume?


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Graham Bernard
Re: Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 2:51:45 am

[Harry Wright] "How would I go about bringing all of those peaks down to below -3dB, while still keeping the rest of the audio at the same volume?"
Hi Harry! You’ve asked a simple and reasonable question. The answer/s are more complex than we’d like. In essence bringing down Audio Peaks and keep the underlying Peaks the same makes for a type of local compression that you may not like. You will loose the dynamic of relationship between the lower and higher peaks. It’s that organic Analogue appeal. You could get unwanted Phasing or Pulsing. It’s tricky.... Are there any Peaks above 0dB? And by how much? You could have end up with Clipping, which you really don’t want!

Having said all that you may find a simple and effective result good-enough for your purposes there are several Plugs and methods for attempting this:
1/ - VegasPros own Wavehammer

2/- Loudness Metering

3/- The 3rd Party The Levelator look this up at: https://www.videohelp.com/software/The-Levelator
Lastly, here’s an offer: Could you ZIP a small section of “Peaky” Audio and -3dB for me to have a go?

* Grazie

Video Content Creator and Potter
PC 10 64-bit 64gb * Intel® Core™i9 - 3.3GHz * 40Gb NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
PC 7 64-bit 16gb * Intel® Core™i7-2600k Quad Core 3.40GHz * 2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 Ti
Cameras: Canon XF300 + PowerShot SX60HS Bridge


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Harry Wright
Re: Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 3:09:46 am

Hi Graham, thanks for the response.

Hmm, that sounds mildly problematic. There are bits every now and then that peak above 0dB, but they're less common. I'm currently tampering with a Compressor to try and force the peaks down, which is being somewhat successful, but more testing is needed.

Another constraint I'm working under is that I need to get the file to measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS. Basically it needs to be of consistent loudness, which I think also falls within the power of a Compressor. This is my first time working with audio with such specific constraints!

Lastly I'm greatly appreciative of your offer, and at the bottom is the link to a short sample with some louder audio and quieter audio for you to have a go at if you like. Apologies I couldn't upload it directly, the CreativeCow file uploader wasn't behaving right.

https://www.mediafire.com/file/e1ng01f16tpv9x1/Peaky_Audio_Sample.zip/file

- Harry


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Graham Bernard
Re: Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 5:29:24 am

[Harry Wright] "Apologies I couldn't upload it directly, the CreativeCow file uploader wasn't behaving right."
Lol! 😂. OK, I’m on the case. Standby.

* Grazie

Video Content Creator and Potter
PC 10 64-bit 64gb * Intel® Core™i9 - 3.3GHz * 40Gb NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
PC 7 64-bit 16gb * Intel® Core™i7-2600k Quad Core 3.40GHz * 2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 Ti
Cameras: Canon XF300 + PowerShot SX60HS Bridge


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Graham Bernard
Re: Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:21:16 am

Well, that's very interesting. There are several Audio points of attention.

1 - I can't register anything above 0dB, it's very close which not too bad, there isn't enough Headroom for my liking.

2 - The Voice has that atypical Male Voice issue of HIGH Peaks away from the Median:

Original revealing Male Voice issue:



Inverting Phase:



3 - I've also applied WaveHammer (VP) using Scan Mode set to "Peak". RMS may use other bits of math for a more accurate assessment. But I believe you wish to keep it as organic as possible?

Conclusion: Inverting the Phase may get you what you want. Try it out. It does depend on the final Delivery specs - yeah? However, WaveHammer does and can wrangle-in wayward peaks. Be warned, use it sparingly! A little goes a long way.

This is a very absorbing issue.

* Grazie

Video Content Creator and Potter
PC 10 64-bit 64gb * Intel® Core™i9 - 3.3GHz * 40Gb NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
PC 7 64-bit 16gb * Intel® Core™i7-2600k Quad Core 3.40GHz * 2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 Ti
Cameras: Canon XF300 + PowerShot SX60HS Bridge


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Graham Bernard
Re: Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 6:45:50 am

I also had success using my iZotope RX Advanced Adaptive Phase Rotation. It's pure VooDoo - yeah, and it sounds terrific:



You can clearly see the reduction in that Peaky Phase:



If you wish me to "sheep dip" some more just drop me a message?

* Grazie

Video Content Creator and Potter
PC 10 64-bit 64gb * Intel® Core™i9 - 3.3GHz * 40Gb NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
PC 7 64-bit 16gb * Intel® Core™i7-2600k Quad Core 3.40GHz * 2GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 560 Ti
Cameras: Canon XF300 + PowerShot SX60HS Bridge


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Harry Wright
Re: Heavily reducing peaks across audio files
on Jan 9, 2020 at 12:55:17 pm

Graham, what can I say, you've been a fantastic help. I'll run through your solutions and try them out as best I understand them. Again, working with audio this precisely is new to me, so as you put it yourself some of it does seem like voodoo!

I'll get back to you if/when I have any further issues, and thank you so much for your time and effort.

- Harry


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