Best way to make a mix-CD w/ tracks at similar volume levels?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Carlo Medina, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    First off: all music that goes on my mix CDs are fair use. I own the original CDs, I do not burn from MP3s.

    Okay, I have hundreds of CDs from the past 15 years. Some are recorded at volumes way lower than others. When I want to make a mix CD of older/newer songs, what is the best way (program I would guess) to balance the volumes without introducing a lot (or any) distortion?

    Back in the days of mix tapes, I would make the little red LED meters peak at similar levels. But I can't do that with Easy CD Creator or Nero. Is there any freeware that can do this without introducing too much "junk" into the original digital data?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Some CD-rippers have a function to "normalize" audio. That will adjust the loudest peaks to be at the "digital zero" level (the maximum non-distorted volume level).

    However, the perceived volume level will still vary. Tracks that seem "loud" are likely dynamically compressed (not to be confused with MP3 / lossy compression). Tracks that are dynamically compressed have a smaller difference between loud & soft portions. The result: a higher AVERAGE volume level throughout the track.

    I dont' recommend dynamically compressing your non-compressed tracks to even things out. Dynamic compression degrades sound quality, resulting in dull-sounding drums and an overall lack of impact. The track will be loud but have mediocre (at best) sound quality.
     
  3. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    Nero does have a level normalization feature that works quite well. Right-click on a song and select Properties, click on the Filters tab and you'll find the option Normalize.

    You can also select all the songs on your CD and perform the same steps.

    I find it works very well.
     
  4. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    Also, you might want to take a look at Goldwave. With it you can adjust the levels, add bass boost, fade in/out, pretty much what you want. Personally, I have had good luck with it and would recomend it to anybody. On the downside, it is shareware, but the registation is like $40 I think.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I definitely don't want to compress, and I know about its effects. But some CDs are just overall recorded lower - as in: if you take the loudest passage in that CD (the peak) it's still lower than the average passage in another CD.

    That "normalize" sounds like the trick. I'll try it out in Nero, but I don't know what sort of (if any) distortion it will introduce.

    I definitely don't want to do anything like bass/treble boost. I'm a flatliner at heart (no bass/treble adjustment to the sound) but just want to stop having to turn the volume up/down in the car because an old and a new song are next to each other.
     
  6. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks guys! Buzz, I'm going to give that Pro Tools a try later this week. Sounds very promising by what the website says.
     

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