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GoldWave Inc. • View topic - Maximize vs. Loudness
Page 1 of 1

Maximize vs. Loudness

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:24 am
by crobannon
1. The problem that I am trying to correct is that various tracks seem to be recorded at varying volumes. Since I am usually listening to my library with random/shuffle, I can't be running back and forth to the stereo to change the volume. I have one recently downloaded, purchased mp3 of modern classical/new age music that was so quiet my remote speakers shut off.
My understanding is that maximize/normalize looks for the loudest sound and adjusts the volume and that loudness looks at the average volume and adjusts. It occurs to me that if, say, I'm processing the 1812 Overture with real cannons, normalize would result in a very quiet play until the end, but that loudness would result in blowing my speakers at the end. So, if my goal is to have all my music play at the same volume, which is the better process: loudness or maximize?
2. I have been sharing tracks with an audiophile friend who just yesterday flipped out when he found out that I had been maximizing/normalizing volume on everything I sent him. "Normalizing causes distortion!" Does it? I must say that all my tracks sound fine to me and he did not complain about distortion until he found out I had been maximizing. So, do loudness and normalize cause distortion? Can the human ear hear it?

Re: Maximize vs. Loudness

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:38 am
by crobannon
I have been advised that I shouldn't be asking if volume processes causes distortion, but whether it changes the sound. One friend says that volume controls causes "compression" so that everything will sound like AM radio-- decreased dynamics, no highs or lows, and muddy sound, which is not technically "distortion". Please comment on this.

Re: Maximize vs. Loudness

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:03 pm
by GoldWave Inc.
Maximizing a file to 0dB does not cause distortion. In fact it can prevent distortion if the file you are working on has peak amplitudes above 0dB (which can happen when mixing and applying various effects). All samples are scaled uniformly, so there is no compression. For lower volume sounds, Maximize potentially can increase dynamic range when used with the Noise Reduction effect.

When using the Loudness effect, you'll need to be careful applying the same LUFS value to all files. It is possible that a high value may cause the volume to exceed the maximum for a particular file, which could cause clipping distortion. You'd need to select the appropriate "Clipping control" setting to avoid that or choose a lower value.

Re: Maximize vs. Loudness

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:06 pm
by DougDbug

Re: Maximize vs. Loudness

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:46 pm
by 2leftfeet
Ii have been using the "maximise" function for many years because this function alters the whole file in the same way. This preserves the dynamics of the music especially with classical music. As far as modern music today is concerned it has already been altered in some way by the recording studio and then by the broadcasters. I just maximise all the tracks to 90% of maximum (no reason really but my choice). This is the LAST thing I do after any other processing which might be needed. Now, when I play any or all the tracks, I know that I will not have to mess with the fader on the mixer!
I have found that, in amateur dramatic theatre setting if I use Videomeld to play, I can always use the "fade" function if I need to make adjustments to cater for artists singing or talking during the playing of an audio track. Again, I don't have to adjust the fader :) BTW, I put my cues in a text box on another Videomeld track.