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What ceiling (-1 dBFS or -0.1 dBFS) to use for master prior to audio normalization?
Old 2nd February 2018
  #1
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What ceiling (-1 dBFS or -0.1 dBFS) to use for master prior to audio normalization?

So, when I normalize the audio, some files will have a ceiling of -1 dBFS (e.g. mixes for streaming), and some tend to have one of -0.1 dBFS (usually CD and demo mixes).

The file that gets normalized is the master file. When doing the mastering (prior to audio normalization), should it be mastered to a ceiling of -0.1 dBFS or -1 dBFS? In other words, would there be any issues from going to a mastered file hitting -0.1 dBFS up to -1 dBFS, or from going down from -0.1 dBFS to -1 dBFS? Is it better to have the volume "turned up" or "turned down" during audio normalization?

Conversely, should I just have two masters? One capping out at -1 dBFS and another at -0.1 dBFS; the files would then be normalized accordingly.

Also, if it matters, my masters seem to sit around -17 LUFS and I normalize it to -14 LUFS for streaming, around -9 LUFS for CD, and around -7.5 LUFS for demos.
Old 2nd February 2018
  #2
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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There's no difference. Either way you'll have to dither again.

In 2018 where everything will eventually hit a codec, I set my limiter at -1dBFS for everything.
Old 4th February 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
There's no difference. Either way you'll have to dither again.

In 2018 where everything will eventually hit a codec, I set my limiter at -1dBFS for everything.
Sorry, but I do not follow. What does dithering do here? I was expecting to only either after normalization prior to converting down to 16 bit.
Old 4th February 2018
  #4
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Just export 2 versions (streaming / CD) at their respective settings, setting the limiter and dithering accordingly.

Or export at -0.1dbFS with dither (16-bit CD)... then also export without dither (32-bit FP) - re-import the export, turn volume down -0.9db and re-export for your streaming version (24-bit dither).
Old 4th February 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MogwaiBoy View Post
Just export 2 versions (streaming / CD) at their respective settings, setting the limiter and dithering accordingly.

Or export at -0.1dbFS with dither (16-bit CD)... then also export without dither (32-bit FP) - re-import the export, turn volume down -0.9db and re-export for your streaming version (24-bit dither).
Okay, got it. Thanks!
Old 4th February 2018
  #6
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MogwaiBoy View Post
Just export 2 versions (streaming / CD) at their respective settings, setting the limiter and dithering accordingly.
This.
Old 4th February 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
This.
Okay, I’ll will have two types of masters then. One at -0.1 and another at -1. I’ll normalize those separately from there. Thanks!
Old 5th February 2018
  #8
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Why -0.1? It's guaranteed to clip when the end user converts it to MP3.
Old 6th February 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
Why -0.1? It's guaranteed to clip when the end user converts it to MP3.
Oh, really??? I didn't know this. I thought -0.1 was the standard for things like CD. What would be a safe ceiling then? Thanks!
Old 6th February 2018
  #10
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Greg Reierson's Avatar
 

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Google "codec clipping." Search her on GS and elsewhere. Discussed to death, ad nauseum, etc...
Old 6th February 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glo View Post
Oh, really??? I didn't know this. I thought -0.1 was the standard for things like CD. What would be a safe ceiling then? Thanks!
Even the "CD standard" was largely considered to be -0.2dB back in the day. It was only a matter of time before it was discovered that -0.2dB wasn't enough for mp3, AAC, and other lossy encoding.

I commonly use -1.0dBFS as the output ceiling with a good true peak limiter.

Apps like Sonnox ProCodec can help easily tell you if a WAV is going to clip after mp3 or AAC encoding.

Use the Google.
Old 6th February 2018
  #12
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XKAudio's Avatar
 

pardon my ignorance...

is normalizing post mastering something that is common? Wouldn't this affect the noise introduced by dithering? I have never heard of normalizing in any way other than giving the fader some extra room? Could someone clarify?



thanks
Old 6th February 2018
  #13
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Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
Even the "CD standard" was largely considered to be -0.2dB back in the day. It was only a matter of time before it was discovered that -0.2dB wasn't enough for mp3, AAC, and other lossy encoding.
The CD standard back in the day (PCM 1610/1630 masters) was no overs* (defined as 4 consecutive words above 0dBFS). Any overs and the 1630 Master was literally rejected at replication. Hence a final (real-time) pass via the DTA-2000 (Sony analyzer) and a dot matrix printer was also standard. And we don't miss any of that much at all.

*This was later considered lowered (eg -0.3dBFS) to play it safer with oversampling DACs in CD players.

Last edited by Adam Dempsey; 6th February 2018 at 10:32 AM..
Old 6th February 2018
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by XKAudio View Post
pardon my ignorance...

is normalizing post mastering something that is common? Wouldn't this affect the noise introduced by dithering? I have never heard of normalizing in any way other than giving the fader some extra room? Could someone clarify?



thanks
I also got a little confused. Why normalizing after bouncing?

PS: I think I got it, the OP normalizes loudness to 14 dB LUFS. Not peak normalization
Old 6th February 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stardustmedia View Post

PS: I think I got it, the OP normalizes loudness to 14 dB LUFS. Not peak normalization
Ah that makes sense.
Old 6th February 2018
  #16
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Dempsey View Post
*This was later considered lowered (eg -0.3dBFS) to play it safer with oversampling DACs in CD players.
yes, i remember when the late Michael Gerzon sent out an email in the mid 90s advising evryone using his “new” L1 limiter plug-in to set the peak ceiling at -0.3dB to avoid clipping on playback.

eons ago :~}

best, jt
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