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Author Topic: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?  (Read 5050 times)

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Offline stantheman1976

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Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« on: July 15, 2008, 01:28:03 PM »
I usually try not to amplify a file too much so that some dynamic range still exists, but if I want to push a file to be louder not have the louder parts be distorted how would I best go about that?

I use Adobe Audition 1.5 and usually use hard limiting, trying not to add too much, but occasionally some songs might start out really low and then get higher later on.  My recordings are usually board RCA record out and I just leave the recorder at 0dB and amplify in post.

I also use Vegas 8 for video so I'm familiar with it if a plugin would be best.

Offline 3-Fan

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 02:40:14 PM »
How about normalizing the whole file to say 0 or -0.2db?  That way it still retains the original dynamics.
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Offline stantheman1976

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2008, 04:41:55 PM »
From what I've always understoood normalizing looks at the peak value and adds the amount it takes to get that peak to what you choose.  So if my peak is -3dB and I normalize to -1dB it only adds 2dB to the whole thing.  I want to be able to add 10dB or more and not have the louder parts overload.  Maybe there's a method or plugin that can analyze the source and find where it can be amplified that much and smoothly add that to the parts that need it?

Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2008, 07:56:10 PM »
There are two types of normalization:  peak and RMS.  Audition performs peak normalization, and this doesn't impact the dynamic range.  RMS normalization will change the dynamic range, though I forget which apps support this feature.

As you note, stan, plain old amplification raises the level of the entire waveform by the same amount, thereby preserving dynamic range.  What you're looking to do is decrease the dynamic range by lowering peaks that rise well above the rest of the music, so you may then raise the overall levels without those peaks overloading.  Several options:

<1>  hard limit  --  quick & dirty, doesn't sound as good as the other options, but it can be easy / useful on transients

<2>  compression  --  a softer way of reducing peaks, and therefore dynamic range, takes a bit more work to find the right settings depending on the source

<3>  volume envelope  --  the most flexible of the options, but more effort than <1> and <2>, depending on the source

Alternatively, you could use one or more options at different spots in the source WAV.  If there are a lot of peaks I want to lower throughout the source WAV, I'll often apply compression to the entire waveform, and adjust the threshold and ratio to get the right mix of compression.  If I only need to adjust a small number of peaks, or need to apply variable settings to achieve the results I like - e.g. using X settings on peak A to achieve the results I want, while using Y settings on peak B to achieve the results I want - I'll apply one of thet three options on a spot basis.  Hard limiting is quick & dirty, and doesn't sound as good;  compression and volume envelope sound better, but take a bit more time to sort out the best settings.

In Audition, main menu access to the above options:  hard limit = Effects | Amplitude | Hard Limiting, compression = Effects | Amplitude | Dynamics Processing, and volume envelope = Effects | Amplitude | Envelope.  I find Audition's envelope function difficult to use - one manipulates the envelope in a pop-up dialog window, instead of in the main waveform view, making it difficult to map specific changes in the envelope to specific sections of the waveform.
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Offline polewka

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 08:30:22 AM »
great thread and responses, was going to ask the same Q myself.

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Offline Dede2002

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 09:30:43 AM »
There are two types of normalization:  peak and RMS.  Audition performs peak normalization, and this doesn't impact the dynamic range.  RMS normalization will change the dynamic range, though I forget which apps support this feature.

As you note, stan, plain old amplification raises the level of the entire waveform by the same amount, thereby preserving dynamic range.  What you're looking to do is decrease the dynamic range by lowering peaks that rise well above the rest of the music, so you may then raise the overall levels without those peaks overloading.  Several options:

<1>  hard limit  --  quick & dirty, doesn't sound as good as the other options, but it can be easy / useful on transients

<2>  compression  --  a softer way of reducing peaks, and therefore dynamic range, takes a bit more work to find the right settings depending on the source

<3>  volume envelope  --  the most flexible of the options, but more effort than <1> and <2>, depending on the source

Alternatively, you could use one or more options at different spots in the source WAV.  If there are a lot of peaks I want to lower throughout the source WAV, I'll often apply compression to the entire waveform, and adjust the threshold and ratio to get the right mix of compression.  If I only need to adjust a small number of peaks, or need to apply variable settings to achieve the results I like - e.g. using X settings on peak A to achieve the results I want, while using Y settings on peak B to achieve the results I want - I'll apply one of thet three options on a spot basis.  Hard limiting is quick & dirty, and doesn't sound as good;  compression and volume envelope sound better, but take a bit more time to sort out the best settings.

In Audition, main menu access to the above options:  hard limit = Effects | Amplitude | Hard Limiting, compression = Effects | Amplitude | Dynamics Processing, and volume envelope = Effects | Amplitude | Envelope.  I find Audition's envelope function difficult to use - one manipulates the envelope in a pop-up dialog window, instead of in the main waveform view, making it difficult to map specific changes in the envelope to specific sections of the waveform.

Is there such features on Audacity? I can find Hard Limit and Compression, but not Volume Envelope. Thanks in advance  ;)
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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 12:07:53 PM »
Is there such features on Audacity? I can find Hard Limit and Compression, but not Volume Envelope. Thanks in advance  ;)

Yes, there's an envelope in Audacity.  It's not as easy to use as some other apps, but it does work.  To enable the tool, in the top left group of toolset icons, click the top row's middle icon, i.e. the one directly above the one that looks like <-->, and, I just realized, is already depressed in the image below.

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Offline Dede2002

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Re: Best (or good) method for strong amplification?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 01:18:16 PM »
Is there such features on Audacity? I can find Hard Limit and Compression, but not Volume Envelope. Thanks in advance  ;)

Yes, there's an envelope in Audacity.  It's not as easy to use as some other apps, but it does work.  To enable the tool, in the top left group of toolset icons, click the top row's middle icon, i.e. the one directly above the one that looks like <-->, and, I just realized, is already depressed in the image below.


Thanks a lot, Brian ;)
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