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Author Topic: Normalization question - best practices  (Read 3870 times)

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Offline lsd2525

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Normalization question - best practices
« on: February 04, 2017, 11:39:46 AM »
OK. Interested in how people deal with this. While taping, first  five seconds way too high, dialed back  to good level. Now, I need to normalize. It's going to read 100 because of the hot levels during the first five seconds. Is there a way to just normalize the rest of the show without splitting the first five seconds into a separate wav? Back in the day that's what I would do and then put it back together with addawav. (which I don't have anymore:)

So, what's your take?
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Offline lsd2525

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2017, 12:36:45 PM »
On an unrelated note, if anyone can suggest a "drunken jackass" filter for the guy right next to me who yelled "Wowie Zowie" into my mic all night, even after Dweezil told him they would be playing the setlist, that would be gravy
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2017, 12:40:38 PM »
You could use the Volume Envelope to reduce the first 5 seconds and then normalize it.

I think most audio editing software can do that. I haven't had to do it in a while luckily.
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Offline badronald

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2017, 01:35:36 PM »
On an unrelated note, if anyone can suggest a "drunken jackass" filter for the guy right next to me who yelled "Wowie Zowie" into my mic all night, even after Dweezil told him they would be playing the setlist, that would be gravy

I'd duck in a 'PUNCH! THUD!' sound effect

Offline Gordon

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2017, 02:00:31 PM »
you could do what mike suggested or in wavelab for example you can put the cursor where you want to start and right click select till end of file and raise gain/normalize as needed.
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2017, 03:45:17 PM »
You could use the Volume Envelope to reduce the first 5 seconds and then normalize it.


Yep, that.

Offline morst

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2017, 04:52:56 PM »
You could use the Volume Envelope to reduce the first 5 seconds and then normalize it.

I think most audio editing software can do that. I haven't had to do it in a while luckily.

you didn't go past zero did you?

I like where these guys are going, but I'll play devils advocate and say to raise the levels of everything AFTER the blowout up as high as you can before you normalize.

On an unrelated note, if anyone can suggest a "drunken jackass" filter for the guy right next to me who yelled "Wowie Zowie" into my mic all night, even after Dweezil told him they would be playing the setlist, that would be gravy
If you have access to enough valium to hand them out, those and a couple rounds of beers usually quiet folks down.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 04:54:30 PM by morst »
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Online ilduclo

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2017, 06:38:44 PM »
sometimes 5 seconds is a decent amount to fade in. I'd do the envelope thing first, from maybe 40% up to 100%, then fade in.  Upload that segment, maybe a minute as a wav file, we can see easier what might help

Offline willndmb

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2017, 03:04:58 PM »
I would cut the five seconds unless it was actually relevant. If so I would just up the rest to match the five secs level and go from there
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2017, 07:04:41 PM »
I would cut the five seconds unless it was actually relevant. If so I would just up the rest to match the five secs level and go from there

If the first five seconds was hot enough to be clipping, though, then raising the levels of the rest will cause it to clip, too.

There is zero reason not to reduce the levels of the first five seconds, unless you're really worried about losing a few bits of information from a brief sample that is, let's not forget, already recorded too hot. If it really bothers you, increase the bit depth of the whole file first, then reduce the levels of the first five seconds. But I seriously doubt you'll be able to tell the difference.

Offline justink

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2017, 07:07:01 PM »
i'd select the entire wav.  compress the entire thing down (really you're just compressing the first five seconds) -6db and go from there.

hard to decide the best path without seeing what you're working with.
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2017, 08:33:40 PM »
i'd select the entire wav.  compress the entire thing down (really you're just compressing the first five seconds) -6db and go from there.


Compression is what you *don't* want to start with here. Especially since that first five seconds is already going to be somewhat compressed if it's clipping.

Think about it this way: If you could go back in time with the knowledge that the first five seconds was recorded too loud, what would you do? Lower the gain on the first five seconds, right? The best way to simulate that is to reduce the volume on that section — no compression, just a straight volume reduction. It can't undo any clipping that occurred, but it's the best you're going to get.

Once you get there, work on equalization, compression, anything else you like. But I'd strongly recommend against doing any of that until you have a file with even-sounding levels across its whole duration.

Offline voltronic

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2017, 09:25:57 PM »
^ I agree with the advice with nulldogmas.  Getting the rest of the concert even-sounding as he said is your priority.

To that end: your "Wowie Zowie" problem may not be "unrelated".  If that guy is much louder than the music in your recording, it will prevent you from raising the level of the overall concert, and whatever amount you do raise it will make his outbursts all the more annoying.

The first step I do in any post work is to go through the entire concert and apply limiting to any places of loud audience noises, applause near mics, etc. so that the non-musical things are knocked down to the level of the music (or at least close to that).  I usually do this in Audacity using the Hard Limiter with the dB limit set by ear, and with the Residue Level set to 0.7 to soften the limiter.  I am very careful to do this such that the music itself is not being affected.  I usually need to experiment with the dB limit to get to this point without introducing clipping.
http://ttmanual.audacityteam.org/man/Hard_Limiter

Once the non-musical noises are knocked down, my next step is to select the entire recording, then use the Amplify affect to raise the max level to near 0 dBFS.  (I could use Normalize for this which is what I'm really doing, but I like to keep track of exactly how much I'm adjusting the level, and the Normalize effect doesn't allow you to see that.)

In your case, the complication is that first 5 seconds which will prevent the second step from happening.  If there's no music or anything significant there, I would definitely delete it.  If you need to keep it, I would do everything I've said above but do the gain raise for the entire concert selected except for those 5 seconds.  Then you could work on those 5 seconds separately, possibly doing a simple gain reduction to match the rest of the concert.
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Offline morst

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2017, 11:56:22 PM »
Why not use the channel gain feature in Audacity? The slider on the left above the pan control, when the track is large enough to see it. I do use the amplify effect as a tool to tell me how much it suggests, but then I cancel it, and then I set the channel gain to a bit less than that amount. If you're going to be exporting anyhow, this takes less processing.

Once the non-musical noises are knocked down, my next step is to select the entire recording, then use the Amplify affect to raise the max level to near 0 dBFS.  (I could use Normalize for this which is what I'm really doing, but I like to keep track of exactly how much I'm adjusting the level, and the Normalize effect doesn't allow you to see that.)
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Offline lsd2525

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Re: Normalization question - best practices
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2017, 10:34:44 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I might try to normalize the section after the clip - which is basically the entire show after the first 5 seconds. Been so long since I've tried to do anything like this that I didn't know it was an option. I thought normalizing was an "all or nothing" proposition on a file.

The "fade in" was another great suggestion. Actually, that might be the perfect solution. If I can fade it in to the portion where I reduced the levels, then I should be able to normalize the entire wav.

Volt, the Wowie Zowie guy didn't bump the levels at all. Just incredibly annoying. It's just between songs. If I knew what I was doing, I would copy and paste the left channel over the right every time he yells just to minimize the jackassery lol.

One other question: The right channel is a couple db's less than the left. There is a way in audacity to normalize each channel independent from each other.......right?

Thanks again guys

 
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