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Re: Wave File Normalization Software
To: CRTech <crtech@crtech.org>
Subject: Re: Wave File Normalization Software
From: Lamar Owen <lowen@pari.edu>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2018 11:40:20 -0500
Content-language: en-US
In-reply-to: <CAHL64sF3+hFeJjAavRWzpUonuBXsGk2WA-tjnw7qgmGs1YyZLg@mail.gmail.com>
References: <CAHL64sF3+hFeJjAavRWzpUonuBXsGk2WA-tjnw7qgmGs1YyZLg@mail.gmail.com>
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On 02/06/2018 07:33 PM, Kevin Kidd wrote:
Has anybody done a full library normalization (thousands of cuts)?  What software did you use?  Any problems?  How consistent were the levels afterward?  Was there a limit to how much the software would correct the levels?

And as always, free or cheap is good...

Well, Kevin, you've received some great suggestions by others, especially using Audacity in batch mode.  I wish that when I needed to average normalize an over 5,000 song library years ago that I had had some of the more modern tools available; I used Audition 1.5, using handwritten notes as far as presets were concerned, and did the whole library manually.

The tool I'll first mention is just a straight RMS level normalizer (NOT a peak normalizer), and will not do any compression or limiting.  It will do mixed WAV and MP3, and, thanks to a feature of the MP3 format, it doesn't have to recode the MP3, but simply sets the MP3's volume setting (the RVA2 tag in the ID3 header), so no quality is lost.  Well, as long as your playback software honors the RVA2 tag, that is.  This tool, which is command-line and available for Linux and Windows, is called, appropriately enough, normalize. Its README file is at http://normalize.nongnu.org/README.html and will tell you all you need to know about its operation.  Its average level control is as good as RMS-driven normalization can ever be. It is mature software, and does exactly what it says it does, very well, and very quickly.

Now, if you want to do any processing in addition to normalizing, you need other tools.  Audacity would work fine, as you've already read, but my personal favorite batch processor is for macOS and was called 'Sample Manager' by Audiofile Engineering.  This product no longer exists under that name, but is now called 'Myriad' by Aurchitect (URL: http://myriad.aurchitect.com/ ).  It's billed as the 'ultimate batch audio processor' and it really is.  If I needed to do compression and limiting at all, in addition to straight normalizing, I would use this, and buy a few good plugins.  For the smoothest sound, use an LA-2 emulation, or if you want to get more aggressive, any of the Fairchild 670 emulations will sound great (I have and use OvertoneDSP's FC70 on Linux when I need that particular sound).  For the LA-2 sound on Linux I use the bus compressor, in 'Level' mode, of Harrison Mixbus, which is my primary audio production suite these days.  Mixbus is scriptable with Lua, but I haven't checked closely enough to see if if could be made to work in a batch mode.

I haven't needed serious batch mode tools since I started using Mixbus for production; it makes good consistency so easy that the end product is well within the range of an 8200's AGC.

Hope that helps!
References: Wave File Normalization Software
(Kevin Kidd <kkbroadcastengineering@gmail.com>, 7 Feb 2018 00:33:08 -0000)
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