Normalising and sound quality?

Posted on

Member Since: Oct 25, 2004

Gonna probably sound stupid

But can normalising a song make a song loose any quality?

Also when is the best place to nomalise a song in the mastering stage?

At the moment I do not normalise and treat maximising as normalising at the final step in izotope.

Cubase--->Izotope---->harbal---->izotope(maximise)

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Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Mar 31, 2005 12:45 pm

normalizing does have a big effect on the "feel" of a recording...when you normalize it hasta recalculate where every sample point is gonna be (level wise) although most ppl do not hear it, it's effecting the "quality" by changing everything. if you record a real quiet signal, and normlize it, then record it at close to 0db you'll defiantely hear what i am talking about. if you do want to normalize, it should be the LAST thing you do...technally this falls into the catagory of gain staging, and should be at the end. IMHO

peace

wyd

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Mar 31, 2005 12:46 pm

ps you can easily skip normalizing with the software you have.

edit0r
Member
Since: Aug 17, 2004


Apr 02, 2005 01:46 am

why would you normalise wyd, and what "exactly" does it do?

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Apr 02, 2005 12:58 pm

if your file (song) peaks at say -4.3db you can normalize to say -.3 or whatever you want, and it brings the whole file up perportionally to that single loudest peak. so now the song peaks at -.3db. with good (carefull) compression and limiting there's no reason to do it.

Hello!
Member
Since: Jan 12, 2004


Apr 02, 2005 01:13 pm

I rarely normalise unless its maybe a sample which is real low in volume..then I'd normalise to say -2db.

I DO maximise often times, which is a bit different methinks (tho pls correct me if I am wrong). Using Wavelab the berg maximiser is great!

Cheers

Coco.

Member
Since: Jul 02, 2003


Apr 02, 2005 01:47 pm

Normalizing shouldn't have any real effect on the quality of the file, it's simply a volume adjustment done with or without gain. Nothing gets compressed, the dynamic's of the music aren't changed since everything gets changed by the same amount.

About the only time I use it though is bring indivdual tracks up to a certain level occasionally. You could use Amplify, but then you'd need to use a compressor/limiter to make sure the peaks don't go over.

Dan

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Apr 02, 2005 02:15 pm

accually it does alot, if it brought up everything the same amount (db's) it distorts (changes) the percieved perportional relationships of the individual tracks...which in so many words "changes the mix"....if you have a snare hit that is the peak of the song, so you bring it up say 2db's, it's not alot, but the bass guitar that was chillin nicely at -6db's is now up to -4 which can be a big change for the low end of your mix. decibles are on a scale that is not equal tempered. so what may seem like a small change, can affect the mix drastically by bringing up other things in the mix (like noize floor) that you don't want. i can see normalizing from -2 to -.3 on a mix, but it's more of a convience thing than a necessity. as for individual samples or tracks, if it's extreme (say 15db's of gain) it'll bring out the grain alot and may not sound as good as it can...that's like zooming in on a small picture and having things get all pixelated. i'm not saying it's "evil" or wrong, it's just something that isn't necessary.

peace

wyd

Member
Since: Jul 02, 2003


Apr 02, 2005 02:26 pm

I'm not following that WYD. Normalizing isn't going to pick out the bass and raise it, it's going to raise/reduce the entire mix by whatever amount you have set it for. I suppose if you added input gain that would cause the peaks to go above your ceiling thus being chopped off, or an extreme setting that would start chopping off even the lower volume parts it would have an undesireable effect, but then you really should be using something besides normalizing, like a maximizer.

Dan

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Apr 02, 2005 02:37 pm

i donno i made it all up! lol j/k

i've read something to that extent in some "digital recording theory" book, i think it was "Home Recording Power"

cheers

jimmie neutron
Member
Since: Feb 14, 2005


Apr 02, 2005 03:42 pm

"Normalizing" also raises the noise floor, along with the desired signal.

Member
Since: Oct 25, 2004


Apr 02, 2005 05:38 pm

right now im maore confuesed than ever

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 02, 2005 07:10 pm

...or, normalizing the can lower the noise floor with the desired signal, it depends which way you are going...

Topman, I'll try to make it simple...normalizing, in theory does not affect quality or anything, all it does is raise or lower the entire audio file or selected section by a given dB. If you want to normalize to -.3db and the current peak of your clip is -1.3, the entire file will be raised a blanket level of 1db...the concept is really quite simple...but the conversation has turned foar more complex that it really is...

Typical geek-speak...take a simple idea and complicate it :-)

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Member
Since: May 10, 2002


Apr 03, 2005 11:01 am

Truefully, I normalize quite often. I do this pre-mixing if I have a track that is recorded at a relitively low volume in comparison to the others. I find that on any track that is 'mic'ed' there is no preceivable degragation of quality to my ear. My noise floor is usually around -73dB and is ambient room noise. Normalizing does not effect the differential between wanted signal and room noise. I have had some tracks effected by 'in chain' noise generated by equipment, however it was mostly because I could not achieve good gain staging between pieces of 'in chain' gear. There again however once it has hit the A/D's it is cast in stone.

Beyond that I always maxamize post mix down, except on that rare occasion where I am being lazy and just printing off a 'working' track for someone to go home and practice with.

Having babbled all that, I would still be interested in WYD's article as I have a lot of respect for the music WYD has produced. I will never preclude the possibility that I could have missed something. There is a lot to this gig!

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Apr 04, 2005 11:53 am

yeah i'll try to dig up that chapter....gimme a day or two....as what DB said, due to the nature of the complex process of raising everything by the same amount, you're changing EVERYTHING you hear...i like to think of it as a signal integrety issue...if you start with the best sound you can, gooin' to the best mic you have, to the best pre you have, throught the necessary plugins (that are designed to "sound good" everything will sound as good as possible. the signal commin' out of the main bus is "pure" as in the wavform that it generates is YOUR waveform. when you normalize, you alter everything, nothing get's by. i'm pretty sure some of the smaller aspects of your signal (that we percieve as "feel") might not make it throught the process. i donno though, i guess you can say "isn't that what you're dooin' anyway with any digital plugin?" i guess when i read about it, i took it to heart and vowed not to normalize at every chance i get. cuz it adds up. i had a friend who, after reading about how bad it was to convert to analogue back to digital, wouldn't even think of re-amping because reconverting is "BAD". i could be dooing the same thing with normalizing, so i donno.

peace

wyd

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Apr 04, 2005 12:12 pm

uh oh, I started typing a reply, and as I thought more and more about this, I've confused myself!!!

When you normalize a master file, and everything gets louder by the same amount of decibels, is that necessarily what you want. For instance if the snare is hitting at 2db louder than your toms, do you want to keep them 2db apart no matter how loud the song goes. Or do you want to keep the same percentages as the song gets louder. So if the tom was 2/3 as loud as the snare, do you want to keep it at 2/3 even as the overall loudness of the song increases. This would lead to a larger difference in decibels between the tom and the snare. Does that make sense?

Which way is better? Anyways, we could make this point practically moot if we were to all agree that it is more ideal to maximize a master rather than to normalize it, and that normalizing should be left to individual tracks, for convenience sake...

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Apr 04, 2005 12:18 pm

yeah you're gettin' your head around what i was talkin' about earlier....the difference between -18db and -20db isn't alot at all but between -2db and 0db, it's alot...

Member
Since: Jul 02, 2003


Apr 04, 2005 03:32 pm

Most normalizing plugin's can operate on a dB scale or percentage, I've never really noticed much if any difference.

But at any rate in it's simplest form it is no different than raising or lowering the volume control in your program, the only difference being normalizing is permanent.

As for whether you'd want everything to keep it's relationship to the other sounds in the mix, you can always preview, before doing the normalizing and see if it needs to adjusted in the mix first.

Dan

Hold 'Em Czar
Member
Since: Dec 30, 2004


Apr 23, 2005 12:16 pm

gearslutz.com/board/showthread.php3?t=31828


veddy interesting.....

a.k.a. Porp & Mr. Muffins
Member
Since: Oct 09, 2002


Apr 23, 2005 03:14 pm

This is how I see it... I don't buy into all this fuss...

Normalization should be the same thing as adding gain, level, or any other volume increase. Normalization is nothing to be afraid of. Yes, if you normalize (or raise the volume in any way) after you record a quiet signal, it will sound a little different than if you had a hot signal coming in in the first place because you will be increasing the noise floor, hence the need for proper, reasonable "gain staging". The difference between normalization and maximization is that a maximization plug-in is designed to compresses the signal as well as boost it to prevent clipping the waveform, whereas if you go overboard with normalizing you can clip through the roof. There is no way that normalizing a single wave form could cause the levels of the separate instruments within that waveform to change-- It's illogical! It can't pick it apart. If you raise the volume on your speakers by 3 db or normalize the wave form by +3db it will have the same effect. It will raise the level you are hearing by 3 db. This includes everything you are hearing, including the noise floor.

a.k.a. Porp & Mr. Muffins
Member
Since: Oct 09, 2002


Apr 23, 2005 03:35 pm

I would add that it seems logical that you might lose some quality by normalizing down and then up again, but not by normalizing up and then down again. It is mostly an unnecessary process, since raising your volume level and then mixing down your project should have the same effect on the waveform as normalizing it. Eventually every waveform, if altered in volume in your project, is going to end up normalized when mixed down. The actual normalize function is just the quickest, most direct way to do it.

Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Apr 24, 2005 12:44 am

Man its no wonder I dont read that forum. Honestly a bunch of self righteous tech heads. They seem to just wanna read themselves writing bable. They appeared to have repeated themselves several times, only using differant words.

Like you said Porp, normalizing when used properly is a perfect tool. Used improperly it is a bad tool.

Ultra Magnus
Member
Since: Nov 13, 2004


Apr 24, 2005 07:40 am

My understanding is the same as porp's. There is one difference though between normalising and pushing up/down the master fader: that you're processing the actual file, which isn't the same as moving a fader or adding an effect, everytime you process or alter an actual file you are allowing for the possibility of errors.

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