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Normalize Vs Volume increase
tinpanalley
post Jun 29 2011, 23:08
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I'm having trouble figuring out which of the two is better for me to create a vinyl recording at the highest volume without clipping.

I capture a record via my preamp into Audacity, and I get what seem to be relatively low levels even though I make sure the levels are right when I record (Peak: -6.4db, RMS -24.6db). Am I doing something wrong? Or are those levels right? These recordings don't seem as loud as mastered CDs.

Anyway, to get the most accurate sound possible, should I use normalize or just increase the volume? If normalizing makes everything sound the same at a peak level, doesn't that completely screw with the dynamic range of the music?

Thanks!
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AndyH-ha
post Jun 30 2011, 20:51
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A recording made with proper equipment should not have any DC offset to fix. The DC offset is your evidence of a hardware problem in the recording chain, or a bad soundcard. I have seen a DC offset in a few LP recordings that was on the LP itself, part of what I got off the disk, not introduced by my recording process.

I have no idea if Audacity or Sound Forge contain tools that can easily tell you if there is anything to concern yourself with, but that isn't a strange or uncommon software function.

Removing the very low frequencies (a rumble filter) will eliminate small amounts of DC offset. Any recording from a TT has a major amount of very low frequency noise you will be better off without anyway.

Normalizing to 0dB, or any other particular value, will not effect the dynamic range of the recording. Doing each channel independently could alter total dynamics but will not change the dynamics within the channel, no matter what the factor (of course that doesn't apply to something really stupid like working in integer format and amplifying enough to drive many peaks into clipping).

Some people like to break a recording into individual tracks and work on each separately. I find it more convenient to record both sides of the LP into one file and keep it that way until I am done with all processing. Normalizing, at the proper time, is then a single operation against the entire album. There is no possibility of altering the album's dynamics.

My LP recording chain is of fixed gain, which is to say I cannot adjust amplitude in the recording step. I normalize almost all recordings, usually to -1.0dB. I suppose there aren't many DACs these days that will clip the analogue output for peaks at or very near 0dBfs, but there also isn't anything to be gained by pushing to 0dB.

Normalizing should be done after any and all filters are applied, especially if you intend to use 0dB. Even when the filter is removing something (e.g. a rumble filter), it may push some peaks past 0dB, which means clipping. Of course if you do the more reasonable thing and work in floating point format there will be no clipping and you have the opportunity to apply a negative amplification to bring the peaks back down below 0dB before finally converting to integer (i.e. to the 16 bit final product), but it seems silly to apply a positive amplification early on just to have to reverse it later.



32 bit, floating point, is a data format, not a hardware format. Any soundcard can record into floating point format, the recorded data is the same as from recording into integer format, but is more convenient to work with. Regardless of all the discussion about 16 bit being enough, the convenience, the lower noise level, and the much smaller quantization errors from any post recording processing all are markedly in favor of using floating point unless you have really puny computer resources.



Nothing looks unusual in your recording. If the other side is much the same, if looks like you can apply about 6dB of amplification, but using actual program measurements to choose the factor is the proper way.

This post has been edited by db1989: Jul 1 2011, 13:22
Reason for edit: Is there a reason that you triple-posted?
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musicollector
post Nov 28 2011, 04:30
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 12:51) *
Some people like to break a recording into individual tracks and work on each separately. I find it more convenient to record both sides of the LP into one file and keep it that way until I am done with all processing. Normalizing, at the proper time, is then a single operation against the entire album. There is no possibility of altering the album's dynamics.

Normalizing should be done after any and all filters are applied, especially if you intend to use 0dB.


I was one of those people! No more! I also like the idea of processing each file BEFORE breaking them up as it saves time and effort.

Thanks for the reminder.


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Harry
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Posts in this topic
- tinpanalley   Normalize Vs Volume increase   Jun 29 2011, 23:08
- - DVDdoug   Audacity's Amplify effect has an option of set...   Jun 30 2011, 00:43
|- - db1989   tinpanalley, your observation matches tracks that ...   Jun 30 2011, 12:31
- - tinpanalley   Thanks so much for the thorough reply. So, 2 quest...   Jun 30 2011, 01:06
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE 1. What do you recommend I do with my settin...   Jun 30 2011, 01:52
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jun 29 2011, 20:52) CDs ...   Jun 30 2011, 02:05
- - AndyH-ha   There is no "need" to amplify or normali...   Jun 30 2011, 02:55
- - tinpanalley   But doesn't normalizing in making all loudness...   Jun 30 2011, 03:09
|- - tropicalfish   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jun 29 2011, 21:09) ...   Jun 30 2011, 05:15
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 00:15)...   Jun 30 2011, 08:31
- - tinpanalley   Well here's what I have... I think this will h...   Jun 30 2011, 17:51
- - tropicalfish   Record with Audacity. Go to Normalize, and check O...   Jun 30 2011, 19:25
|- - db1989   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 19:25)...   Jun 30 2011, 19:43
|- - tropicalfish   QUOTE (db1989 @ Jun 30 2011, 13:43) QUOTE...   Jun 30 2011, 22:51
|- - db1989   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 22:51)...   Jul 1 2011, 13:25
- - tinpanalley   Perhaps I should have also stated that the way I r...   Jun 30 2011, 20:31
- - AndyH-ha   A recording made with proper equipment should not ...   Jun 30 2011, 20:51
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 20:51...   Jul 1 2011, 18:19
|- - musicollector   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 12:51...   Nov 28 2011, 04:30
- - tinpanalley   Ok, how about if I just control that from the phon...   Jun 30 2011, 20:55
- - mixminus1   I'll second AndyH's advice on recording bo...   Jun 30 2011, 21:01
- - tinpanalley   I basically already do what you're suggesting ...   Jun 30 2011, 21:06
- - AndyH-ha   The gain is normally set to leave plenty of headro...   Jun 30 2011, 21:24
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 16:24...   Jun 30 2011, 21:30
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE How do I know if my sound card can handle 32...   Jun 30 2011, 21:36
- - mixminus1   Audacity has the option to export to bit depths gr...   Jun 30 2011, 21:40
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Jun 30 2011, 16:40) Of...   Jun 30 2011, 21:43
- - AndyH-ha   Audacity is FREEware. If may also be adequate for...   Jun 30 2011, 22:15
- - tinpanalley   Ok, I'm trying Sound Forge now. Aiming for -6d...   Jun 30 2011, 22:16
|- - mixminus1   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jun 30 2011, 14:16) ...   Jun 30 2011, 22:36
- - AndyH-ha   It may be true that most editors work in floating ...   Jun 30 2011, 22:25
- - tinpanalley   No, just that when I choose 32-bit (IEEE float) it...   Jun 30 2011, 22:39
- - tinpanalley   You see, that's what I thought.   Jun 30 2011, 23:05
- - tropicalfish   There are no 32-bit devices, so why use it? You mi...   Jun 30 2011, 23:22
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 18:22)...   Jun 30 2011, 23:52
- - tropicalfish   So you want to record in floating point, and then ...   Jul 1 2011, 01:15
- - tinpanalley   I don't really care how I record. I just wanna...   Jul 1 2011, 01:28
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE 1. What do you recommend I do with my settin...   Jul 1 2011, 01:53
- - tinpanalley   All the 24 and 32 bit stuff still has me really co...   Jul 1 2011, 04:08
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jul 1 2011, 04:08) I...   Jul 1 2011, 18:25
|- - tinpanalley   Thanks for the wonderful feedback. Just wanted to ...   Jul 1 2011, 19:51
- - AndyH-ha   There exist a continuously varying analogue signal...   Jul 1 2011, 06:06
- - AndyH-ha   QUOTE Come on Andy - think that one through proper...   Jul 1 2011, 20:36
|- - DVDdoug   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 1 2011, 12:36)...   Jul 1 2011, 22:12
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 1 2011, 22:12) We...   Jul 4 2011, 12:34
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE It's the bits I don't get.OK, I...   Jul 1 2011, 21:46
- - AndyH-ha   My experience is based on CoolEdit Statistics repo...   Jul 4 2011, 20:32
|- - 2Bdecided   I think you may think I might be being clever than...   Jul 4 2011, 23:34
- - AndyH-ha   Perhaps I am just too ignorant of what is involved...   Jul 5 2011, 08:38
- - 2Bdecided   Vinyl is an intrinsically AC-coupled format. It ha...   Jul 5 2011, 14:08
- - pdq   Think of it this way. If there is a DC offset in t...   Jul 5 2011, 16:14
- - tinpanalley   Hey all, I've been absorbing everything you g...   Jul 6 2011, 22:37
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE - 32-bit IEEE Float? - 32-bit PCM? Floating ...   Jul 7 2011, 01:34
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 6 2011, 20:34) [b]Do...   Jul 7 2011, 05:06
|- - AndyH-ha   I'm curious about this inability to record in ...   Jul 7 2011, 09:31
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 7 2011, 04:31)...   Jul 7 2011, 17:56
- - tinpanalley   This is probably like asking if there is one way t...   Jul 7 2011, 18:37
- - AndyH-ha   There are many descriptions of the process publish...   Jul 7 2011, 19:20
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 7 2011, 19:20)...   Jul 8 2011, 12:01
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jul 8 2011, 07:01) The...   Jul 8 2011, 15:49
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE but is there any series of processes that ar...   Jul 7 2011, 20:36
- - tinpanalley   Here's a comparison of the 32-bit, higher gain...   Jul 7 2011, 21:04
- - tinpanalley   This sounds great to me as I'm hearing it even...   Jul 7 2011, 22:16
- - greynol   No you're not crazy, just know that 32 bits fo...   Jul 7 2011, 22:34
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE And normalising... if I get good levels on t...   Jul 7 2011, 23:38
|- - tinpanalley   Couple of things: QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 7 201...   Jul 7 2011, 23:48
- - greynol   No, they aren't contradictory at all. DVDdoug...   Jul 8 2011, 00:03
- - tinpanalley   Ok, my bad. I misunderstood. I have some people te...   Jul 8 2011, 00:08
|- - greynol   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jul 7 2011, 16:08) I...   Jul 8 2011, 00:55
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Then what is the difference to just doing a ...   Jul 8 2011, 00:39
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 7 2011, 19:39) But a...   Jul 8 2011, 01:57
- - AndyH-ha   The Sonic Foundry Noise Reduction plugin 2.0 has b...   Jul 8 2011, 02:46
- - greynol   I simply wanted to let you know that I respect tha...   Jul 8 2011, 02:53
- - AndyH-ha   I made an inquiry elsewhere. I got back that your ...   Jul 8 2011, 03:04
- - tinpanalley   Ohhh!!! Well, why didn't someone j...   Jul 8 2011, 07:34
- - AndyH-ha   Because Sound Forge has such an unusual approach (...   Jul 8 2011, 08:19
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 8 2011, 03:19)...   Jul 8 2011, 15:45
- - tinpanalley   This is the info from a download from the site (wh...   Jul 8 2011, 16:08
- - 2Bdecided   Nothing automatic there, just "manual click r...   Jul 8 2011, 20:30
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Is Audacity totally a lame program? Vinyl ca...   Jul 8 2011, 20:32
- - AndyH-ha   I 've paid no attention to Audacity for some y...   Jul 8 2011, 20:36
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 8 2011, 15:36)...   Jul 8 2011, 21:09
|- - greynol   Um, no, The Beatles were recorded to tape and the ...   Jul 8 2011, 21:16
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 8 2011, 16:16) Um, n...   Jul 8 2011, 22:46
||- - greynol   Denying that vinyl was the most common medium back...   Jul 9 2011, 00:07
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 8 2011, 21:16) Um, n...   Jul 9 2011, 12:30
- - Juha   Couple questions: Would normalization be more sec...   Jul 9 2011, 09:31
- - AndyH-ha   What one gets by normalization is independent of t...   Jul 9 2011, 09:40
- - tinpanalley   If I'm going through a recording process with ...   Nov 12 2011, 23:24
|- - mjb2006   Why did you bump this thread? Your question has no...   Nov 13 2011, 00:20
||- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Nov 12 2011, 19:20) Why ...   Nov 13 2011, 05:09
|- - botface   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Nov 12 2011, 23:24) ...   Nov 13 2011, 10:24
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (botface @ Nov 13 2011, 05:24) by s...   Nov 13 2011, 22:24
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Nov 13 2011, 22:24) ...   Nov 15 2011, 11:23
- - AndyH-ha   It also depends on the channel balance. Some cartr...   Nov 15 2011, 11:36
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 15 2011, 11:36...   Nov 16 2011, 13:43
- - botface   Yes, I wasn't suggesting recording in mono as ...   Nov 15 2011, 17:27


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