How to normalize volume across files
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Billings Mt

    Default How to normalize volume across files

    I've been using platinum notes for years and keeping the originals. I hate how long it takes to process files and I think I've been using the wrong preset. Heard a lot of reviews that it takes the oomph out of the low end and heard it was a good idea to add 2db to the low end. Now my michael buble', jason mraz, jack johnson and old school country twang have bass that hits the resonate frequency of the dance hall and literally shakes the chandeliers and ceiling tiles, however pop music, rap and EDM sounds just fine. Also I find when I process the promo only into edits of certain songs I get a pop on the bass hit. Cheerleader remix by UMI has a definite snap sound to the beat. It also muffs up some select mix remixes where the remixer pegged the redline. It pulls the song down so the vocals can't be heard.

    I could spend a month re-processing 30,000 files on a different pre-set but I don't think that would fix the snap issue on some pop songs, and I'm just not sure it's worth all the work, and having to keep two copies of every song.

    The other issue I have is that I'm just not confident that when I put 30,000 songs through I get that many on the other side. The way it processes stuff in nested folders has no rhyme or reason and I'm constantly finding myself telling somebody I don't have a song that I know I used to have.

    I have heard MP3 gain is good but checked and it hasn't been updated since 2009 and I don't much feel like running a windows program on my macbook.

    I have been so behind on my music workflow (download from promo only, bpm supreme, prime cuts, amazon, select mix, rip CD's from rummage sales, tag in meta-bliss, process in platinum notes, add to iTunes*, import to rekordbox that I haven't been processing in mixed in key at all.)
    *gonna be ditching iTunes soon, like this month

    I know I need to cut iTunes out and import directly to rekordbox, but what other aspects should I change in my workflow?
    How do I normalize the tracks? I love never having to adjust the gain when cueing a track, I don't want to go back to the old way, I'm just not sure if platinum notes is the way to go. I searched and it hasn't been discussed at all in the last year on this forum.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru DJAdeSands's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Lisburn, Northern Ireland


    It'll never be right, I've even found on CD's that I buy, that the levels vary and fluctuate, and to be honest, I'd rather spend a few secs adjusting gain, than the 'unknown' of how any of my 30,000 tracks are going to be negatively affected by an automated digital gain adjustment. There's a certain satisfaction to be gained from having a good level for the mix, sometimes software can be beneficial for this, but as you have found out it can be counterproductive. I can almost gauge the gain required just by looking at the waveform, and generally adjust the track to 0db on the mixer, sometimes tracks need adjusted during play, and on the odd occasion during a mix, I think gain/trim is an essential adjustment, right up there with EQ.
    Denon DJ/MC6000KMK2/Launchpad S/LaunchcontrolXL/Traktor Pro 2/Bringin it since 96.

  3. #3
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Manchester, UK


    There is no non-destructive method for playback on pioneer CDJs, they have no way of adjusting levels.
    Hopefully the new Denon players will implement replay gain.

    Traktor and Serato store gain info in tags or their own databases and adjust on playback, leaving the source audio unchanged.
    Many general purpose media players implement replay gain stored in tags.

    Not so with pioneer CDJs, leaving you with only one option permanently change the source audio as platinum notes does.
    Xone DB4 | Pioneer DDJ-SP1 | DJ Tech CDJ 101 (x2) | Serato DJ
    NI X1 MKII | NI Scratch A6 | MF Twister | Traktor Pro 2
    Sennheiser HD 25 II | KRK Rokit 5 (x2) | Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
    Mixed In Key 8 | MusicBrainz Picard | Mixxx 2

  4. #4
    Tech Guru
    Join Date
    Aug 2014


    This isnt even a problem. The trim knobs, EQ and metering on a proper dj mixer are there precisely for this. Playing old music? Pump up the gain so the peaks hit 0db, goose the bass eq, drop the mids to taste.

    If you do destructive normalisation or use platinum notes to remaster the file, then in my opinion you are completely ruining and overwriting the mixing and mastering decisons of the people who made the music for no good reason.

  5. #5
    Tech Convert
    Join Date
    Jan 2017


    How much damage does it do to the sound quality if you do it in advance?

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor overcast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Portland, OR


    Quote Originally Posted by penners View Post
    How much damage does it do to the sound quality if you do it in advance?
    Depends how much you try to normalize or boost it. Any sort of destruction, clipping, or distortion will be impossible to take back, so if you go too loud, you will permanently damage the file. Don't do it. Just gain stage instead.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru MaxOne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    London, UK


    Quote Originally Posted by DJAdeSands View Post
    There's a certain satisfaction to be gained from having a good level for the mix.
    Club of Jacks are a London based House & Garage production / DJ duo with releases on a number of underground labels including Plastik People Recordings, Blockhead Recordings, Hi Energy!, Pocket Jacks Trax, Soul Revolution Records and their own Club of Jacks imprint.

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