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Fission = Normalization without quality loss for OSX?
djv67
post Jun 16 2013, 19:59
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Hi,

I have been researching the issue of normalization for my iTunes music library. It consists mostly of Aiff files (redbook up to 24/192) from cd, vinyl, dvd-a & sacd, with various levels of volume. It would be great if the volume level was constant between albums, but audio quality is very important to me so before messing around I need some opinions.

Fission for OSX at http://rogueamoeba.com/fission/ is a simple audio editor claiming editing & normalization without any quality loss (unlike other solutions). Has anyone tested this and if so is their claim valid?

Thanks
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TomasPin
post Jun 16 2013, 20:18
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Have you tried enabling SoundCheck in iTunes? It only normalizes tracks, not albums, but it's completely lossless (it only stores a tag in the file).


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db1989
post Jun 16 2013, 20:20
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With regards to your talk about quality, good luck being able to hear the effects of normalisation even on Redbook. There are valid reasons for wanting a method that does not touch the audio, but audible quality is not usually one of them.

This post has been edited by db1989: Jun 16 2013, 20:21
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lvqcl
post Jun 16 2013, 20:47
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From the webpage:
QUOTE
Crop and trim audio, paste in or join files, or just rapidly split one long file into many [...] Plus, it works without the quality loss caused by other editors, so you can get perfect quality audio even when editing MP3 and AAC files

I assume that "without the quality loss" only means that it can cut/split/join lossy files without re-encoding.
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AndyH-ha
post Jun 16 2013, 20:50
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All audio editors will accomplish the same thing, unless a program is defective and can't do the job correctly.
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djv67
post Jun 16 2013, 21:20
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QUOTE (TomasPin @ Jun 16 2013, 22:18) *
Have you tried enabling SoundCheck in iTunes? It only normalizes tracks, not albums, but it's completely lossless (it only stores a tag in the file).


iTunes SoundCheck & iVolume get mixed opinions regarding audio quality in the end result. What i'm looking for is a non-destructive way to set a music file's gain just below 0db's without clipping, for playback with any player not just iTunes. Fission claims this is true.
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saratoga
post Jun 16 2013, 21:25
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QUOTE (djv67 @ Jun 16 2013, 16:20) *
QUOTE (TomasPin @ Jun 16 2013, 22:18) *
Have you tried enabling SoundCheck in iTunes? It only normalizes tracks, not albums, but it's completely lossless (it only stores a tag in the file).


iTunes SoundCheck & iVolume get mixed opinions regarding audio quality in the end result. What i'm looking for is a non-destructive way to set a music file's gain just below 0db's without clipping, for playback with any player not just iTunes. Fission claims this is true.


There will never be quality loss from normalization unless its horribly broken, but it won't be lossless either. If you want lossless, use soundcheck. If you just want no quality loss, it doesn't matter what you use, although some kind of replaygain-based algorithm will likely give you the best results.
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AndyH-ha
post Jun 16 2013, 22:37
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If you look closely at their web page, you will see that Fission does not claim lostlessness for normalization, nor for many other functions. They claim they can cut and paste mp3 and AAC without re-encoding, which is what other mp3 editors also do. They do this in the tricky way lawyers and advertisers are wont, to give a false impression without actually saying anything that can be legally held against them.

This post has been edited by AndyH-ha: Jun 16 2013, 22:38
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TomasPin
post Jun 16 2013, 22:53
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QUOTE (djv67 @ Jun 16 2013, 17:20) *
iTunes SoundCheck & iVolume get mixed opinions regarding audio quality in the end result. What i'm looking for is a non-destructive way to set a music file's gain just below 0db's without clipping, for playback with any player not just iTunes. Fission claims this is true.


If you have access to windows you could try MP3Gain which applies ReplayGain-based normalization to your files in a reversible process. It changes the file, so not exactly lossless, but as saratoga said you won't lose any quality. And then there's an OSX compatible modification of the program that supports AAC files but loses the reversible aspect of the former.

That way you have files ready to be played anywhere. Don't know where it was stated that the quality is affected, perhaps you could refer us to it. smile.gif

This post has been edited by TomasPin: Jun 16 2013, 22:55


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djv67
post Jun 16 2013, 22:54
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 17 2013, 00:37) *
If you look closely at their web page, you will see that Fission does not claim lostlessness for normalization, nor for many other functions. They claim they can cut and paste mp3 and AAC without re-encoding, which is what other mp3 editors also do. They do this in the tricky way lawyers and advertisers are wont, to give a false impression without actually saying anything that can be legally held against them.


Correct, but is there any other solution that won't affect the resulting quality?
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saratoga
post Jun 16 2013, 23:12
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QUOTE (djv67 @ Jun 16 2013, 17:54) *
QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 17 2013, 00:37) *
If you look closely at their web page, you will see that Fission does not claim lostlessness for normalization, nor for many other functions. They claim they can cut and paste mp3 and AAC without re-encoding, which is what other mp3 editors also do. They do this in the tricky way lawyers and advertisers are wont, to give a false impression without actually saying anything that can be legally held against them.


Correct, but is there any other solution that won't affect the resulting quality?


For the 3rd or 4th time, none of these options will reduce quality at all.
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RobertoDomenico
post Jun 16 2013, 23:56
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This may help you http://tipperlinn.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/...r-mac-os-x.html
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AndyH-ha
post Jun 17 2013, 02:47
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I often think that this common run around is due to the lack of any stated definition for "quality". So many people must have a vague, somewhat magical feeling floating around in their head without anything in particular to which they can attach it.

Whatever ones concept of unchanged quality is, normalization will make the most definite change in the sound of the audio of anything most people are likely to do with their music. More loudness tends to sound better, less loudness tends to sound worse, if comparing two bits of audio that are otherwise the same.

If the question was framed in terms that actually had any dimensions, such as distortion, noise, phase, or timing, it might be easier for people such as the op to understand and accept the answers he/she receives. As it is, there seems to be a vague fear that something awful will reach out of the dark and snatch away a precious but unknowable aspect, like an everlasting soul being claimed by a demon. Simply saying that normalization does not degrade quality doesn't compute because he/she can not understand just what that might actually mean.
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dhromed
post Jun 17 2013, 09:15
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There's a table with five legs; four on the corners, one in the middle. In a lossy process, I remove the middle leg. The table stands firm. Quality loss is absolutely zero.

Let's hope I'm not going to regret using a metaphor. emot-pseudo.gif
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AndyH-ha
post Jun 17 2013, 21:29
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And if you added three more legs, each of equal length to the first, the table would still be as stable but you could have trouble getting you legs comfortable when seated at it.
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DVDdoug
post Jun 18 2013, 00:41
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Let's back-up a bit...
QUOTE
It would be great if the volume level was constant between albums...

...editing & normalization without any quality loss

... What i'm looking for is a non-destructive way to set a music file's gain just below 0db's
"Normalize" has a couple of different definitions... Usually, it means to set level so the peaks are at (or near) 0dB. That will NOT make your songs equally loud!

Algorithms like ReplayGain, SoundCheck and EBU R128 all (try to) match the perceived loudness. After running these algorithms, most of your songs will have peaks below 0dB. Depending how the software is configured, some quiet-sounding songs with a few big peaks will either be normalized to 0dB and still might sound quieter than the other songs, or they might be boosted into clipping.

QUOTE
Fission for OSX at http://rogueamoeba.com/fission/ is a simple audio editor claiming editing & normalization without any quality loss (unlike other solutions).
When you edit a lossy file with a standard audio editor the file has to be decompressed first. If you re-save in a lossy format, you are going through a 2nd lossy compression step. There are a few special-purpose audio editors that can do some limited editing without decompressing.

QUOTE
What i'm looking for is a non-destructive way to set a music file's gain just below 0db's without clipping,
There is a difference between "destructive" and "lossy". Most volume changes are mathematically destructive, since they are not byte-for-byte reversible. A digital volume reduction (or change) to an integer format will result in loss of resolution and/or (very-tiny) rounding errors. Similarly, if you reduce volume with an analog volume control, you reduce resolution. But, you cannot hear the loss of resolution unless you re-boost the volume. And realistically, you are not going to hear any loss of quality/resolution if you reduce the level by 6dB or so, and then re-boost it. If you are worried about this, save your original file.

As long as your digital file doesn't "try" to go over 0dB, you will NOT get clipping (in the digital domain).

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