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Cubase/DirectWave & normalizing samples in 32-bit float domain
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Cubase/DirectWave & normalizing samples in 32-bit float domain

Hope folks here can give me some input into my current quandary:

I record audio/samples in 24-bit, aiming to peak at about -10 dB for percussion and average at -18 dB for more continuous sound.

When I then load samples into DirectWave, I have always let it automatically peak normalize (this is an option in the setup menu). But now I've become more aware of the pitfalls of auto-normalizing when it comes to potential clipping, etc. as well as potential file degradation (however minor).

HOWEVER, both Cubase and DirectWave operate at 32-bit float internally, and this apparently doesn't really affect the bits the same way a lower bitrate might, so.... I'm torn between continuing to use auto-normalizing or just turn off and deal with the fader gain levels manually.

I never really run into clipping issues (and my mixes are relatively quiet overall) so that's not really a factor. it's more just a case of figuring out what my "base" level will be and what I am comfortable with in terms of sound quality (for the latter, the answer is "not much" since a lot of my samples begin their life on 12-bit hardware samplers anyway). The frustrating part is that normalizing happens when you load the sample, so you can't turn it off (or on) retroactively.

Thoughts, opinions would be appreciated!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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Pollo's Avatar
 

Normalizing is IMO never useful. What I would do instead is bring the RMS (average) level to some standard. I would use -18 dBFS but different folk will have different standards. Also be aware of percussive material were the range from RMS to peak level will be greater. You might need to use a lower standard level in that case.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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If the plugin does this directly to the samples then I wouldn't do it, I'd just adjust the level at some other point. It really shouldn't be a big deal.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Thanks for tour replies. This pretty much confirms what I was thinking, but it’s hard to take that initial volume drop when you turn off the normalizing!

But I understand the logic for this overall. I’m not really sure why normalizing is the default option for this program, but I guess it just makes life simpler if you’re not too interested in focusing on the mixing side.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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greggybud's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollo View Post
Normalizing is IMO never useful..
It's very useful. Perhaps not in song recording & production, but very useful in other realms of audio. An example would be the poor sap who has 5 radio spots with an hour deadline before broadcast.

Another example is batch processing hundreds of wave files...however not necessarily to 0 db.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
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Pollo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
It's very useful. Perhaps not in song recording & production, but very useful in other realms of audio. An example would be the poor sap who has 5 radio spots with an hour deadline before broadcast.

Another example is batch processing hundreds of wave files...however not necessarily to 0 db.
I was referring to peak normalization which I think is obvious if you read my whole post. That is what most people think of when they talk about normalization. Your examples are of course very common situations where you would need to adjust levels to some standard. Peak normalization won't get you there.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
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Agree with Pollo.
Peak normalizing does nothing with loudness, only with volume.
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