Start a new topic

Consistant Audio levels and great Segues

PlayIt Live default settings for Track Fading and Silence analysis will provide consistant Segues IF the MP3 or Wave file is saved at it's optimum level. One of the problems with when playing MP3 or Wave Files from different sources is varying audio amplitude. Quieter tracks lead to early transitions and seemingly makes some tracks seem overly loud. Yes, you could use a Compressor/Limiter to control this, but post processing will not change how PlayIt Live responds when in the Playout process.

My experience tells me that you must begin with consistant levels before adding tracks to PlayIt live.

If I hear or see a track is quiet, it's opened in an audio editor, such as Audacity, where the levels are Normalized to peak at -1db. Let me point out that most audio editing software sees the odd peak as the maximum amplitude of the track. The trick to this is to bring these individual peaks down to the overall average. Then Normalise the entire track to -1 dB. To compare, import another audio track that you find acceptable and compare the loudness of the two tracks.

It's not likely that a louder track is actually peaking over -0- db. But if it is, use the idea above to reduce the overall amplitude of the “Hot” track.

Remember: -3db is Half as loud. +3db is double the volume.

Over the years I have known people who use Programs, such as Audacity, to create Chains. Whereas all the titles in a folder are processed to cut silence, Normalize to -1dB and Saved to a separate file that is added to PlayIt Live.

By doing so they feel they have a more consistent sound requiring less Post processing.

I maintain that Original recording have the best fidelity but differ in amplitude. I suggest, if any processing with EQ or compression should happen post digital when being being played as audio, so all tracks are consistently processed at the same settings.

Perhaps these ideas will help you achieve consistent audio levels and great Segues with PlayIt Live.

jpg

For MP3 files it would be better to use a program such as MP3 gain rather than Audacity as this will avoid re-compressing the audio, instead the range bits are adjusted for the track.

1 person likes this

Hmm you are correct re master and Wav.   Although many can't  hear the difference.   In the digital world it's best to "remaster'  at the best level of quality.  

 

Back in the 70s, The early Optimods and Gates AGCs were very noisy, so   we recorded to Cart with  our levels mastered for -0- Db,  so we  pumped up the intro on Virginia Plain to an acceptable level BUT it had a lot of hiss.  I don't recall a Broadcast version.

We had a few problems with Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath also,.  The FM underground  stations preferred no talk over intros, so we could not hide the breathing.

As far as age.   I recall seeing The Stones in Hyde Park in 1969 (I think).  46 years ago. 

In my original writing I was pointing to the need to for control over audio levels to maintain better segues.

MP3 Gain does a very good job.  

Recently, I've been converting Record album tracks to MP3 using a Stanton Turntable(with USB out) and a Shure 44-7  Cartridge. (Stanton 500 series is no longer manufactured)  It   seems to me that old fashioned analogue mixing sounds different and that difference is very obvious  when crossfading from a Digital recording to a A/D Track.  Utilising MP3 Gain post conversion  resolved that issue, 

As a side note.  At Home I use a Yamaha mixer with USB (ASIO) for Voice Production and when I have a need to do things the old fashioned way with a mixer.   

I've become fond of SD cards for recording "canned" material.  So I utilise a Denon SD recorder.  Often I adjust m y clocks and record PlayIt Live for 5 hours while I'm busy on other work.   Then during my long commutes I play it back in my car.   This allows me to get a better feel for real time listening and the adjustment i make in the Ply It live Clocks.    As a program provider to  radio stations in the UK and US,  PlayIt Live has become a tool used to pre-produce these programs.  SD's are the media of choice for storage of the final product, as well as an old fashioned delivery method.  

  


So that I don't use the wrong one, could someone please post the link to MP3Gain ?


I was worried that this would reduce the quality of the audio.  Are you saying that it only adjusts the volume parameters within the file?


Stephen.

Thanks for Sharing.  Opinions do vary, as does expertise. Just because someone says it, doesn't make a fact.      So  I won't argue.   Just use what you think works best and pleases your hearing.

     The point is... levels must be set.    -3 db = half the volume and that's a scientific fact.  Set levels up front  and you won't be spending big money on audio processors where you may loose the dynamic range by over compressing loud audio.    

     


  

.   


Stephen,


I've had my copy of MP3 Gain since 2003 (and not needed to update it) but what seems to be the same programme is now on Sourceforge


http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/index.php


The simple answer to your question is yes but there are some better explanations at 


http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/faq.php


Mark Hawkins

 

This is the best address:   http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/download.php
mp3gain-win-1_2_5.exe   on first line.  In the one most users download.      the others below it are have specific usages if they apply to you.
The basics are: Add  files, Select them, , then Press Analysis ( tells you where the level is and if there is clipping), and then Track Gain to adjust all.  I use the default 89.5 as max.  When the processes are complete  use the EXIT button on the bottom Right.
If you have performed this process and you load the same titles again, the software will let you know.

 

In my radio days, we just cued past things like that, as they tended to disrupt the flow.  This is one of the wonders of digital editing that I appreciate.  It's a simple matter to bring the level up of a quiet intro without raising the noise floor. 

 

One last Comment on setting Levels and perfecting seques....

   

MP3 Gain works without problems when loaded from Sourceforge. 

  

MP3Gain is NOT the same as Mp3  G a i n    P r o    or   MP3 Pro.   

Interweb comments indicate serious problems by  those who have mistakenly downloaded them, 

It's  big Caution Sign. 



If you need to edit levels on songs that have  extremely quiet   intros or segments, you can use Audacity without a noticeable change in quality. 

.   

A fair point. Personally I try to avoid re-compressing MP3 files as each cycle is of the order of halving the bit rate. Broadly consistent subjective level is probably what can be achieved with a large library. With a small library (say a few hundred songs) putting careful adjustment on each file would be practical. I have many thousands of MP3s and a batch process is all I can consider. A post mixer multiband compressor (I have a Behringer) seems to control the overall sound from a random batch of MP3s reasonably well. Incorporating gain adjustment (as MP3 gain) in the library import seems a reasonable addition. Better processing might be better in the streaming module (a poor mans Optimod) with some sort of split band compression and overall limiting. That way the finished programme (including mic) is all processed as one.

I enjoy reading and acknowledging your obvious experience.   For me, I've  35 years around  Audio and Broadcasting.   What we are discussing here is more of a utility from the Pro end point of view.  because of the, yet to be offered , features.


I'm currently using Play It Software for background entertainment, And  also as a Barker utility for Trade Shows.   Announcements sold to various vendors.  a kind of a pay to be mentioned service by the sole sound provider at various shows.  I carry the  appropriate music on a a separate  hard drive and use Play It live to add the announcements that are pre recorded.  Live insertion works well also.  For these shows  I use a Pro VLA2 that has a warmer sound that you realise from Valves.  Using Valves in the audio chain removes some of the

the Raspiness you hear on MP3 recordings. (especially with the limited fidelity on the typical 400 watt PA system)


Mark you sound like you have a similar background and I, for one, would enjoy reading any comments or suggestions that you might like to contribute as new topics.  


That's great.  I will give it a try.  Thanks.


Just so that I am clear .... using MP3Gain does not reduce the quality/fidelity and only resets (normalises) the amplitude parameters; right?

Hey Mark...I was thinking the product you mentioned was another.  I downloaded MP3 Gain and was quite pleased with the results.  While I am cautious about what others recommend and download sites, I find this one to be very good.      Looks like Track gain works best for me.   Do you have any suggestion regarding settings or defaults?   

Stephen,


It would be possible to reduce the quality of the MP3 file by setting a level that produces clipping but yes it changes the overall gain setting.


The key thing to avoid with MP3 and similar is multiple decode - encode cycles and MP3Gain doesn't decode and re-encode.


Normalise isn't a word I would use for MP3Gain as that implies setting peak levels, MP3Gain is about subjective loudness not peak level.


If you want to know more on that subject try:- https://tech.ebu.ch/groups/ploud


Okay so to make better transitions between songs, which one do i adjust to make the transitions tighter, cue in, or cue out?, and i what level should i adjust them to, i really don't want to normilize the audio, as it may take away from the original file, i really don't like using compressors or limiters.


Thanks, Andrew 

Login to post a comment