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Author Topic: mp3 Audio OUTPUT volume normalizer? Any such thing?  (Read 18091 times)
Mr.Fancypants
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« on: March 27, 2008, 03:08:05 AM »

My neighbor works with thousands of mp3 audio files.  The volume control needs constant attention when he plays them one after another.  One might be low volume and the next would be blaring loud.

Is there some software solution that could automatically regulate the volume output???

He's seeking something where he doesn't have to tinker with each individual mp3 file.

When I mess with my own mp3 files, I use either the freeware called MP3Gain or the freeware MP3DirectCut to change the volume within the file itself. 

Again, he's seeking something where he doesn't have to tinker with each individual mp3 file.

Any ideas or experience with this?

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kfitting
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 05:40:28 AM »

Quintessential Media Player (QMP, www.quinnware.com) has a feature called replaygain that does this sort of thing.  QMP is not the only player that uses this, I just know it because I use it.  dbPowerAmp music converter will process files and put replaygain tags on them. 

In short, search for stuff on replaygain.  I've used it on ogg, wma, mp3... it's just a tag your music player has to be able to read.

Kevin
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Ampa
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 06:23:47 AM »

Changing the actual audio level of the individual files is BAD as this will entail re-encoding them MP3s, causing further loss of quality - plus it is slow.

Replaygain is the best solution, but this will entail scanning all the files and adding a replaygain tag. MP3Gain is the freeware app to use in this situation.

xmPlay is not only tiny with superb sound quality, but supports both track and album replaygain. It also has Auto-amp...

Quote from: the xmPlay help file...
This causes the amplification level to be automatically reduced whenever clipping occurs. With fade-in enabled, it will fade-in new tracks until they clip, then it'll behave the same as normal. Dynamic mode continues to increase and decrease the amplification level throughout playback.
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Hirudin
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 09:02:48 AM »

MP3Gain (aka replaygain) is really the way to go.
...
Again, he's seeking something where he doesn't have to tinker with each individual mp3 file.
...
So, is it that he doesn't want to have to mess with the MP3s on an individual basis, or does he want to avoid having to change all his files?
... If that's not clear, let me say it a different way: Would a program that will batch process ALL his MP3s at once be good enough? I'm sure there's plenty of programs that will batch process MP3s, but if not I could dig up the script I made for "The GodFather" music manager which will do it.
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Mr.Fancypants
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 10:57:44 PM »

I  *assume*  he doesn't want to risk any of his files.  His life savings is wrapped up in his system and all those files.   And it would be a serious problem if the audio quality was lessened.  I'm not sure if changes in the file creation/modified dates is an issue. 

Batch processing MIGHT be something, but he doesn't have the capacity to back up all the files at this point.

He's heavily invested in specialized WinAmp add-ons, and can't/won't consider other players.

Ya know how how most audio recorders have for decades had automatic volume level control?   I think he's wondering if there's anything like that on the audio OUTPUT side.  If not, then something like mp3gain is bound to be the only solution.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 11:09:38 PM »

MP3Gain says it doesn't alter the quality of the music file. It just changes the volume, it doesn't re-encode the file. I downloaded it and have been just performing an initial scan of the changes that need to be made to my music to normalize them. It's been going for hours and only at 60%...
« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 12:01:09 AM by Deozaan » Logged

vitalyb
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2008, 04:41:43 AM »

iTunes prefernces -> Playback -> Sound check

As simple as that smiley
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the3seashells
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2008, 07:04:43 AM »

You may also use a dps plugin in winamp.

For years I have used Compressor and Wider available at the following URL

http://www.winamp.com/plugins/details/104516

Unlike normalizers, such as the gain options listed above, the compressor will adjust the volume throughout each individual song so the music is always at approximately the same volume.
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Curt
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2008, 07:34:57 PM »

For years I have used Compressor and Wider available at the following URL: http://www.winamp.com/plugins/details/104516

- seems not to have been updated since January 2003.
Notice limitation:

Quote from: user
well done
good stuff here, but you've got to make it understand higher resolutions like 24 bit and 32 bit. That'd be a great fix for an update.

- Thad Rydell, Jul. 2nd, 2003
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Curt
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2008, 07:39:59 PM »

You (your neighbour) might be a lot better off with the all new Breakaway

Breakaway for Windows - Breakaway remasters your digital music...

Edit: It is $30, 30 days trial.

Quote
Author's Comment:

Breakaway remasters your digital music library as you play your tunes on Winamp
From the creator of Volume Logic, presenting a new, broadcast quality system to revolutionize your listening experience. Now, all your music, movies, and sound will be presented to you with the highest level of quality, consistency, and depth. Multi-band audio processing will bring out the punch and balance in all of your audio, while detailed and authentic metering let you see it in action. Never again will you have to reach for your volume control to crank up that tune that\'s just too quiet, or turn down that hot track that pumps a little too hard- just sit back and enjoy the sonic bliss! Other features include a fully sizable, and dockable interface, accurate Oscilloscope and Metering, Windows Explorer extension, and setup wizards to squeeze the top performance from your system.

- Leif Claesson


Notice this user feedback, and the date:

Quote
Random Review:

Best audio processer, period.

The core technology behind this product is as good or better than the $30,000 radio station processers on the market. This product could easily be marketed at several hundred dollars. What does this mean? It will change the way you listen to music forever. It's that simple. For people who are not familiar with audio processing, it might be confusing at first. After you listen for a few minutes, you'll wonder how you ever lived with out it. Yeah, it's that good.

- Nick Roberts, Mar. 25th, 2008
http://www.winamp.com/plugins/details/213353
« Last Edit: March 29, 2008, 08:07:01 PM by Curt » Logged
Deozaan
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2008, 08:02:48 PM »

Well I let MP3Gain do it's thing and am going through several of my songs. It did a nice job. Volume seems relatively consistent. Techno, loud rock, and quiet music all feel about the same volume. I think overall it feels a bit quiet, but since my primary computer isn't working, I'm not hearing it from my good speakers. I'm listening to it from built-in speakers on my monitor that crackle if the volume is up too loud. I'm sure it would sound much better on my good speakers and subwoofer.

I didn't play around with any settings and I wasn't really sure what I was doing. It was easy for me, but the process of scanning and saving changes to all my files took several hours.

Looking in the settings, apparently it's designed to run as a background process with "Idle" priority, so that's probably why it took so long. I could have made it use more priority which most likely would have resulted in a faster scan time.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2008, 08:33:00 PM »

Breakaway is available in a form to be used with all players, not just as a winamp plugin.
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Hirudin
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2008, 10:50:30 PM »

...
I think overall it feels a bit quiet
...
Good ear (I think)!

I'm pretty sure ReplayGain normalizes to 97% volume... I can only offer guesses as to why...
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Deozaan
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2008, 12:55:36 AM »

...
I think overall it feels a bit quiet
...
Good ear (I think)!

I'm pretty sure ReplayGain normalizes to 97% volume... I can only offer guesses as to why...

According to the website, it normalizes to about 89db. And yeah, most of my music was in the 90-96db range.
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Mr.Fancypants
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2008, 03:56:18 AM »

I knew it wouldn't take much for this topic to get over-my-head deep.  However, I also noticed mp3gain was always inclined to turn down the volume a bit.  And  I believed it would not otherwise compress out the fullness of the audio files. [lossless.]

That Breakaway plug-in sure got some impressive reviews already.  The author couldn't even hire someone to write a better review than a couple of those.

I'll take screenshots of all theses posts (and the linked pages) for my neighbor. 
I can't think of anything more to add that might be relevant, except that I know he uses gigantic speakers and amplifiers, none of which would fit in the back seat of my car.  So I'm sure the words LOUD and CLEAR apply here somewhere.

I'm just sittin' back watchin' and trying to absorb what I can.  All the input of your experience and your ideas is much appreciated.   

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PhilB66
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2008, 09:46:39 AM »

Have a look at The Levelator and HeadAC3he (lots of other useful tools listed on that page). Download HeadAC3he
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Target
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2008, 07:20:49 PM »

and on the flipside, anyone know a tool that will do the opposite, ie batch gain changes (boosting)

I have a number of (MP3) files where the volume is too low - I've done some fiddling with a couple of apps and it seems boosting the gain by about 10db does the trick nicely

2 problems with this -

    1) it has to be done on a file by file basis (very tedious)
    2) it entails reencoding to a new file (or has done in the apps I've tried) - this is a no-no as the files are already in a lossy format and re-encoding cannot be a good thing...

any suggestions/ideas?

Target
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J-Mac
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2008, 11:44:59 PM »

MediaMonkey, a great media player that has both a freeware and "Gold" (pay) version, has a volume normalizer setting in its menu.  Seems to work well, at least for me.

Jim
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Curt
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2008, 09:11:51 AM »

... That Breakaway plug-in sure got some impressive reviews already.  The author couldn't even hire someone to write a better review than a couple of those.

- some (most?) of them are from the Breakaway beta testers.
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Curt
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2008, 09:44:12 AM »

Have a look at The Levelator
FYI:
- does not support .MP3 (WAV and AIFF only).


... look at HeadAC3he
FYI:
- has not been updated for 6 years, and homepage closed.

FYI:
One may need the AZID DLL to make HeadAC3he work. Read >here<.


I have not been able to get through to www.doom9.org today
- anyone else with this problemtellme Problem solved  thumbs up
« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 09:46:01 AM by Curt » Logged
Jimdoria
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« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2008, 10:46:09 AM »

Not to be a fly in the ointment, but I just gotta comment on this:

Quote
His life savings is wrapped up in his system and all those files. And it would be a serious problem if the audio quality was lessened... but he doesn't have the capacity to back up all the files at this point.

The technical term for this condition is MASSIVE STUPIDITY.

Your friend has "speakers that won't fit into your car" but he can't be bothered to go to an office supply store and drop $60-$100 on a external USB drive? That would hold 80-120GB of data?

Removable media has never been as cheap, copious, and easy to use as it is right now. There's really no excuse for having one and only one copy of ANY critical file sitting around without a backup. Much less an entire collection of them.

Do your firend the biggest favor you could ever do. Sit him down, and ask him how important the sound quality of his audio files is to him. Then ask him to imagine that the sound quality of every one of those precious files has suddenly dropped to ZERO. Ask him to imagine how he would feel if, after hearing a weird little click from inside his computer, he found that in that fraction of a second his entire music collection was simply GONE, corrupted, hopelessly unrecoverable. It can happen. No, actually IT WILL HAPPEN. Statistically it's just a question of when.

Then offer to go with him to the computer store or the office supplies store and pick out a nice, cheap, large USB hard drive, take it home and help him set it up. Don't leave him by himself until you're sure the backup software has run successfully.

Friends don't let friends compute without backups.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2008, 10:57:56 AM by Jimdoria » Logged

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rpyron
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2008, 09:20:25 PM »

and on the flipside, anyone know a tool that will do the opposite, ie batch gain changes (boosting)

I have a number of (MP3) files where the volume is too low - I've done some fiddling with a couple of apps and it seems boosting the gain by about 10db does the trick nicely

2 problems with this -

    1) it has to be done on a file by file basis (very tedious)
    2) it entails reencoding to a new file (or has done in the apps I've tried) - this is a no-no as the files are already in a lossy format and re-encoding cannot be a good thing...

any suggestions/ideas?

Target

MP3Gain is your friend. By default, it normalizes every file (or album) to 89 dB, but you can change that.

You can select a bunch of files and have them all normalized to the same level. I do this with old-time radio files.

Or you can select all the files in an album, and have MP3Gain adjust them all by the same relative amount. This is particularly useful for classical music.

BTW, the original poster's friend, who does not have enough room to back up everything, doesn't have to convert everything all at once. Copy 10 or 100 or 1000 files to a new directory and convert the copies; if he is pleased with the results, copy them back over the originals. Lather, rinse, and repeat until done.

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f0dder
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« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2008, 05:57:19 AM »

Does mp3gain re-process the audio stream, or does it just add a 'gain' tag to the files? And wrt. normalizing to different dB levels, does this require re-processing, or just changing some player settings?

Imho you'd need both per-track and per-album gain levels, and choose one depending on the mode you're currently listening - trackgain can be horrible if you're listening to an entire album, if it hasn't been "loudness-mastered" smiley
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« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2008, 08:07:09 AM »

fodder: mp3gain writes both a track gain and album gain tag to the file. It does NOT change the audio in anyway.

target: mp3gain will not only reduce loud tracks, but also boost quiet tracks.
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Target
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« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2008, 05:59:45 PM »

gain will not only reduce loud tracks, but also boost quiet tracks

COOL!! - I've had this in my kit for years, but never thought about using it this way   huhembarassed

Leads me to wonder what else I've got that I'm not really using (at least not 'fully')??  undecided

Target
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