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Audio Processing - Any good starting point?

Thanks to these forums, there was a time when I used MP3Gain religiously.  However, I was hoping to save the extra step of running new tracks through MP3Gain, especially if I am trying to add brand new tracks quickly for on-the-spot requests.

I was hoping the audio processing plugin would help by dynamically reducing the loudness of tracks that weren't run through MP3Gain, while boosting those that may have been a bit too low.  But even though I have the plugin up and running, I seem to hear little result.

I've tried to review various articles about processing to learn what all the settings mean, but not much luck.  I'll change various settings, yet can't tell if there's really any kind of an impact.

For anyone using PIL's audio processing plugin with success -- what settings are you using on each of the tabs? 

Thanks in advance.

1 Comment

I'm possibly the advocate for MP3 Gain you read in these forums  and I stand by my position.

Processing is different to subjective gain adjustment. Both have their place.

MP3s depending on their age and origin have considerable variation in both subjective loudness and peak level.

For most content, a good starting point is equalising the subjective loudness. Use MP3Gain on a copy of the file for that.

Then and only then, consider processing.

The reason to use processing is to adapt the source material for a different environment to that it was originally mixed for.

Music is often mixed to sound good in a relatively quiet environment and depending on the genre there may be deliberate use of dynamic range for artistic effect.

To then listen to the music in an environment with background noise and a practical limit to maximum level some for of dynamic range reduction is appropriate. Also the transmission medium may have limitations (for example AM radio) so processing is justified for that outlet.

There is no single setting that will work with all material. A start might be some degree of automatic gain control (that is an alternative to MP3Gain although not as good).

A decent overview on the various types of processing is here

Personally (for what is only a hobby stream) I like a hardware processor ( the long out of production Behringer DSP9024 ) on the mixer output. Alternatively some of the software stand alone processors are quite decent I believe.

For anything more serious I would recommend a hardware audio processing unit.