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MP3Gain - getting overall library averages
BFG
post Jul 30 2012, 19:02
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I have a quick MP3Gain question, for those familiar with the tool.
I know how to use Track Analysis, Album Analysis, etc. to get overall "sounds like" decibel levels for a given track or album.

But I'm interested in seeing what the overall "sounds like" level for my entire pre-ReplayGain library is. The only way I know to do that is to copy my entire collection into a single folder, treat it as an album, and do an Album Analysis. Is there a quicker way?

(I'm doing this because, rather than using the recommended dB levels of 83 or 89, I'd simply like to move everything to the "average" for my collection.)
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Dynamic
post Jul 30 2012, 19:46
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This won't give you a meaningful average anyway because the original Replay Gain method sets the measured loudness at the 95th-percentile of the sorted list of loudness measurements, not anywhere near the middle, which is going to be about the level of one of your loudest albums, ignoring entirely those albums that are very quiet and dynamic. That's very likely to cause severe clipping if you apply it to dynamic albums that haven't suffered from the Loudness War.

89 dB is a level that rarely causes any clipping in popular genres, and when it does it's usually very brief and difficult to hear. For those who have a loudness-limited audio player that's too quiet at 89 dB, a few people use 92 to 94 dB to get reasonably good loudness normalisation with occasional clipping (or if clipping is prevented, with modest variation in loudness).

If it's still too quiet and better-isolated headphones/earbuds or turning up the volume aren't an option (again this applies to some portable players and phones), then you really need to join the loudness war, sadly, though in a more subtle way than the latest hit factories do it. Running a DSP like a compressor-limiter in foobar2000's Converter DSP selection prior to sending it to the MP3 encoder may be the least bad option for bringing old material or quiet passages up to bearable loudness for a noisy listening environment. I've found ToneBoosters' TB_Compressor 2.4.0 DEMO VST plugin to do a decent job at its default settings (seems to suffer from very little pumping, for example), although my purpose was in making quiet background music of consistent lowish volume without losing the quiet intros on a number of tracks, so I varied the settings from default. I did try it occasionally to boost the loudness from my standard laptop speakers and found it did well for that too, near the default settings. I think there's a TB_Barricade processor that simulates radio-processing and works similarly, but I've not played much with it. (These both need foo_vst component to work in foobar2000, but fb2k gives a much simpler workflow for mass encoding after DSP is applied than using VST plugins in a sound editor like Audacity)

This post has been edited by Dynamic: Jul 30 2012, 19:52
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db1989
post Jul 30 2012, 20:07
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Without wanting to detract attention from the rest of Dynamic’s very good explanation, I’d just like to emphasise its opening summary:
QUOTE (Dynamic @ Jul 30 2012, 19:46) *
This won't give you a meaningful average
Can I ask why you thought it would?

This post has been edited by db1989: Jul 30 2012, 20:08
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BFG
post Jul 30 2012, 22:53
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Jul 30 2012, 14:07) *
QUOTE (Dynamic @ Jul 30 2012, 19:46) *
This won't give you a meaningful average
Can I ask why you thought it would?

The short answer is my lack of understanding on how MP3Gain calculates "perceived loudness" smile.gif

The long answer: there's several different ways a "95th percentile" could be calculated--by mean or by mode, and probably other ways. For example, if you have 9 tracks that are analyzed at 100dB and 1 that is analyzed at 40dB, the 95th percentile by average would be 97dB while the 95th percentile by mode would be 100dB. For that reason, I thought the overall "album analysis" of my entire collection could change based on which tracks were included in the "album". Obviously I was wrong.
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