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Applying Gain to 16-bit Recordings
post Jul 18 2012, 11:07
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I have a few questions regarding some 16/44.1 recordings I have that could be a bit louder. I wanted to boost the gain to somewhere around the point where peaks will be around -1dB without clipping. (It seems that typically the peaks are around -3dB and the meat of the recording is around 6dB and often lower.)

The files will first be upsampled to 32-bit(float)/44.1 and edited in iZotope RX2 Advanced. (Editing consists of light declicking, some possible noise removal between tracks, etc. and then resampling/dithering back.) My questions are these:

1. Is there any reason why applying gain would effect the quality of the original recording in the resulting product? (Would it have just been better to get the level set closer in the first place tongue.gif ?) I know that reducing the volume is "losing bit depth," as I've read this from members in older threads while searching earlier. Is there a reduction in bit depth (or perceivable sound quality) when increasing the volume when using a quality program at the upsampled bit rate?

2. Should the gain be applied before or after the editing (or does it even matter) assuming that number one isn't a boneheaded way to approach this with respect to quality?

Basically I believe it would be ideal to make this...

...look about like this. (About 3dB louder.)

(Sorry if these questions are a bit noobish. I've been reading my ass off through the archives and still can't quite get a grasp.)

The Loudness War is over. Now it's a hopeless occupation.
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post Jul 19 2012, 10:21
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Here's the first track of the "Black Triangle" 1983 Toshiba CD release of the Beatles' Abbey Road album, long regarded by some as the 'holy grail' version of the album. Note the levels, over 6dB down on the left channel:

In fact, many albums in the 80s were mastered at these sorts of levels and no-one complained. So I don't think you've much to worry about.
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