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Normalize questions.


Kronk

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When bouncing out, should I normalize? Are there any tricks to it? It seems that when I do bounce a track with normalize selected, it screws the levels all up and the volume of the recording is really low compared to a normal CD.

 

Am I doing something wrong? Should I just bounce without normalization? Is it really a big deal?

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The normalize feature just makes sure your mix doesn't clip. If you enable the checkbox your mix will peak at -0.1. So if your clipping your master bus, Logic will lower the output of your mix so it doesn't clip. This could account for why your mix sounds louder in Logic than the bounced file.

 

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it screws the levels all up and the volume of the recording is really low compared to a normal CD.

 

Mastering engineers use (and sometimes abuse!) a process of compression and limiting to increase the apparent volume (and decrease the dynamic range) of program material... If you're not doing this, your stuff is going to sound 'quieter', even if it is printed with peaks to full sample.

 

AFA screwing up all the levels, normalizing arbitrarily scales the sample values of the file based on the level of the highest peak relative to full sample. This process is basically mathematical, rather than musical.

 

I would caution you to try to avoid any arbitrary, uncontrollable processes like this. A good hardware or software limiter on your mix bus will do what you are after with better results, if used properly.

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As for screwing up the levels, if completely rolled back the guitars. The levels on the guitars didn't peak at all but it pretty much killed them.

 

How can I raise the volume of the song that's being bounced without compressing it to hell and back?

 

I had a mix that I really like, but the output in logic peaks. If I lower the main output so that it doesn't clip, then the overall sound of the song is very quiet when compared to a "professional" CD.

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The normalize feature just makes sure your mix doesn't clip. If you enable the checkbox your mix will peak at -0.1. So if your clipping your master bus, Logic will lower the output of your mix so it doesn't clip. This could account for why your mix sounds louder in Logic than the bounced file.

 

skip

I'm pretty sure that the normalising happens AFTER the bounce... so if your mix is clipping the master outputs, it's clipping the master outputs. Normalising won't prevent that, so you have to make sure your mix isn't pushing over 0db.

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From the Manual:

 

Normalize

Turn on this option if you want to normalize your files before the bounce. Normalizing

scans the incoming audio for the highest amplitude peak. The level of this peak is

increased to the maximum possible level (without clipping), and all other incoming

audio is also increased by this amount.

 

 

Kronk what are you using on the master bus now. Which plugins and how much compression are you using.

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personally, I think it's worth the money to get the song professionally mastered. You probably need to do more compression on each individual track so the song doesn't have as much varying levels. There are so plug-ins that would help. Personally, I really like Ozone. But the levels would still never be up to "mastered" level.

 

As for screwing up the levels, if completely rolled back the guitars. The levels on the guitars didn't peak at all but it pretty much killed them.

 

How can I raise the volume of the song that's being bounced without compressing it to hell and back?

 

I had a mix that I really like, but the output in logic peaks. If I lower the main output so that it doesn't clip, then the overall sound of the song is very quiet when compared to a "professional" CD.

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The normalize feature just makes sure your mix doesn't clip. If you enable the checkbox your mix will peak at -0.1. So if your clipping your master bus, Logic will lower the output of your mix so it doesn't clip. This could account for why your mix sounds louder in Logic than the bounced file.

 

Not exactly. It does make sure your mix doesn't clip. But the primary function is to make sure the loudest part of your bounce peaks at 0 dB (but not over). It ads overall gain to the entire bounced track to get there. If your mix is clipping it won't prevent it from doing so. It actually won't do anything because your peak is already at 0.0 dB.

 

The reason your mix doesn't sound as loud as some professionally mastered CDs is that the average volume of those CDs is much louder. Mastering is an art but if you want to experiment with getting maximum loudness put the Adaptive Limiter (or Waves L2 if you have it) on your master bus, put it in lookahead mode, leave the output ceiling at 0 dB and start adding gain. When you start to hear the limiter distorting or making your music too flat and undynamic, pull it back.

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If your mix is clipping it won't prevent it from doing so. It actually won't do anything because your peak is already at 0.0 dB.

 

 

Actually it will prevent you from going over. Try it, blast a mix thru your master bus and look at the waveform afterwards. No clipping, just the loudest peak at -0.1.

 

 

I was trying to explain the Normalize feature, not really saying anything about its use for or in mastering. Yes you needn't worry about it if you are using an L2 or the Ad Limiter.

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Here's a chance to share my video:

 

 

This is a greatly simplified explanation for the layperson. While it glosses over the specific controls of a compressor or limiter (multiband settings, attack/release, threshold, etc.) it does explain what happens to a track when it is "mastered" by current standards.

 

There is a growing agreement that this is sucking the excitement out of music, but producers and artists are too scared to release a record that has dynamics because it'll be too quiet and then it won't compete!. As if radio stations didn't have compressors and other processors that make Dire Straits sound at the same level as Avril Lavigne.

 

It's really pathetic.

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There is a growing agreement that this is sucking the excitement out of music, but producers and artists are too scared to release a record that has dynamics because it'll be too quiet and then it won't compete!.

 

This is true and why I think normalizing can be a good thing. You still hit the peak, but the song doesn't have to live up there.

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From the Manual:

 

Normalize

Turn on this option if you want to normalize your files before the bounce. Normalizing

scans the incoming audio for the highest amplitude peak. The level of this peak is

increased to the maximum possible level (without clipping), and all other incoming

audio is also increased by this amount.

 

 

Kronk what are you using on the master bus now. Which plugins and how much compression are you using.

 

Just the compressor under the dynamics section.

 

I'm just putting together a demo for a band, but I want it to sound ok. With normalize, it really pulled down the volume. To get the guitar track from where I wanted it, I had to go from -13 DB's to 3DB and it still didn't do anything, it kept the volume on it the same. I had a decent mix that I really like, but then went and screwed it all up trying to sound right. After that, I tried bouncing it without normalization and got all kinds of distortion from clipping. I have to go and mix it again and try and bounce it without normalization.

 

I normally do hip hop as that's what most of our clientele is, but I'm foing a favor for a friend's band.

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As if radio stations didn't have compressors and other processors that make Dire Straits sound at the same level as Avril Lavigne.

 

TBH, I don't think you should decide whether to master a track (i.e. maximise its loudness) or not based on things like radio compression. How closed-minded would that be?! I don't write music for radio playability, so I definitely wouldn't *mix* it like that. The issue that most people face is that the majority of released music *has* been mastered and you don't want your own music to sound poor in comparison.

 

I would NEVER normalise (normalize as good-ol' US English puts it) a track, especially not one that's already too loud. If you can hear it clipping the outputs during playback, bring the level of the main outs down to a suitable level. Otherwise, leave it there and judge the resulting bounce instead of processing the audio any more than necessary. I would recommend using a level meter on your main outs anyway, so that you can judge its loudness yourself...

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If your mix is clipping it won't prevent it from doing so. It actually won't do anything because your peak is already at 0.0 dB.

 

 

Actually it will prevent you from going over. Try it, blast a mix thru your master bus and look at the waveform afterwards. No clipping, just the loudest peak at -0.1.

 

I stand corrected. That is strange and not really "normalizing." But you are correct. Your mix can be distorted and clipping the mixer but if you check "normalize" in the bounce window it will adjust your mix and it will no longer distort. Very interesting.

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There's a definite line here...

 

When you mix, you should be aiming to bring out the music and dynamics of the material.

 

When (and if) you master, you should be aiming to preserve as much as possible of the music and dynamics of the material while bringing it to a level that both resembles other reference examples of the medium, and takes best advantage of that medium.

 

Two very different and intentionally separate processes.

 

If you don't get many chances to hear how summing and headroom work on a real (analogue) mix bus, you are probably going to have to work much harder to find where that line lies for you. It's an experience I would recommend to all. A good mix, just like a good rhythm section, sits right in the 'pocket', taking best advantage of the headroom and power of the board while never overstepping its limits.

 

When it's right, you can just feel it.

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hi guys.

i think the most important element, is the targeted delivery medium.

any mix will sound loud if your monitors and power amp are capable of ~90db spl

RMS.

not peak.

peak could make RMS ~ 18db lower.

a very powerful system is needed to make playback realistic sounding.

bookshelfs do not, and never did cut this.

but are need for translation checks.

there is no point in wedging your mixes up the spout.

uncondition you ears and minds.

try to get dynamics and space into your mixes.

impact is more important than mud.

DR9.

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I forgot an important part. They're a hardcord metal band and for the most pat, their only dynamics consist of loud and louder. There's really not much range in their songs. There's one or two out of the six that have changes from full throttle super loud to semi loud.

 

Like I said above. I had a really good mix but started screwing with it because the normalize wouldn't bounce right.

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