Hello. I am new to Audacity. Been playing around with it for a couple of weeks, trying to get the hang of it. I have a couple of questions about the EQ. is there a function that analyzes the eq of mp3 files? I guess what i am looking for is an eq “normalizer”. My goal is to get my music all eq’d the same, to get it all sounding the same. Do I have to do this one file at a time, trying to get them to sound the same manually? If Audacity doesn’t do this, is there a program that does? I am trying to eliminate the problem of one track having no low end and then the next track having massive bass (as an example).
“Analyze > Plot Spectrum” will show you the frequency make up. Audacity Manual
I’d suggest that you set “Axis” to “Log Frequency” to get a meaningful display (otherwise all of the important information is squashed in at the left edge of the graph).
It’s difficult to make a precise comparison between one spectrum and another because Plot Spectrum automatically scales the graph to fit, but you can get a good sense of the overall “shape” of the spectrum.
It will probably get a bit tedious if they are all EQ’d exactly the same, but I get the idea that you want to avoid extremes.
I don’t know of any way to automate this process, though it would not be impossible for a plug-in effect to be able to “normalize” the frequency spectrum to a specified “profile”. Even if possible to automate, better results can probably be achieved by manually EQ’ing each file.
Note that MP3 is a “lossy” format, which means that each time the audio is encoded to MP3 format there is some loss of sound quality. Where possible it is better to work with original WAV files rather than MP3s.
Maybe if you always listened to the same type of music and successive ones were recorded a little off, but even then, you’re going to run into two problems almost immediately. Hum from a bad amplifier and hiss from bad microphone preamps are both going to get a vote. 60Hz is power line, but it’s also A# way down on the left side of the keyboard.
I bet you start applying rules as you go and it will turn out that it only works with one band and doesn’t completely smooth out all the variations. The live concert is never going to sound like the studio album.
Can you do it by hand? If you can’t do that, then chances are the automated equalizer isn’t going to be able to do it, either.
“Make This Sound LIke That” comes up every so often and almost never succeeds. It’s harder than it seems.
I wouldn’t expect good results doing something like that automatically & “blindly”. Most audio editing/processing requires human judgement.
iZotope Ozone ($250 USD) includes a [u]Matching EQ[/u]. There may be other simlar plug-ins (maybe free), but that’s one I happen to know of. (I don’t own Ozone.)
Assuming most of your music collection is modern digital recordings, 80-90% shouldn’t need EQ. If you have a personal preference (for more bass or more highs, etc.) or if your playback system has a weakness, you should EQ at playback time rather than modifying all of your files. I’d recommend re-equalizing your files only when you feel it was poorly-produced.
…the eq of mp3 files?
Just FYI - MP3 lossy compression. If you open an MP3 and equalize it, it needs to be de-compressed first and you go through a 2nd lossy-compression step when you re-save it. You may not notice any quality loss (especially at high bitrates/quality settings) but the potential is there and you should be aware of it. Sometimes you don’t have the original CD and you don’t have a choice, but it’s another reason to only mess with the files that really have a problem (or at least keep a copy of the original and minimize the number fo times you re-compress). There are some special-purpose MP3 editors that can do some limited editing without decompressing first, but they can’t EQ.
From your composite posts, you should stop using the phrase “MP3” right away. Just stop. If your original workflow was with Music CDs and you’re graduating to a fully computerized system, then WAV is the quality equivalent. MP3 is a reduced quality delivery or internet format. You give someone an MP3 to play on their tiny Personal Music Player with bad earphones – full stop. You can’t then edit or filter or process that MP3 into anything else without significant sound damage. Use WAV for your archive, too.
I don’t think there is a convenient way to bulk equalize your music. As in the other answers, making the music come out with the same tonal values means you have to first find out what the tonal values are, then try to correct them. That’s two very different tools and a third if you count Batch or Chain. That one may be hopeless.
You can Batch or Chain “Effect > Amplify” and that will get you in the ballpark for loudness. Choose a New Peak value of -1, not the default of 0.
I’ve never used Chains, but here are the instructions:
There is a way to automatically cut silences, but I think the tool cuts silence everywhere in the song, not just at the top and bottom. There’s two tools: Analyze > Sound Finder and Analyze Silence Finder. I don’t know if they can be used automatically. I’ve never used Chains or either of the Finders. Use them manually on a real-world song and see how they do.
If your old system used physical CDs to produce the show, how are you going to produce the show with WAV files – even if you do get them all to sound the same?
thanks for the input. I am going to DJ with a DJ program using my laptop, straight out to an amp. I am contemplating using a mixing board because of the ease of volume control and the EQ issue. Unfortunately, i ripped all of the cd’s to mp3; and I no longer have a lot of them; so i am stuck with them unless i can reconvert them to wav with Audacity. I still do not know how to import multiple songs into Audacity to normalize them several at a time. Also, what exactly happened to my last post?
Hello. this is my third post. I was told to post this in the same, related post; so I cut and pasted it here. (Sorry, I am new to this).
I am struggling to understand this program. I have read - or tried to read - all the help material; but i apparently cannot grasp it. For years I used a very simple editing program (Music Editing Master (MEM) by DanDans) which did the few things I needed to do quite well. When I purchased a new laptop this year with Windows 8, that program pretty much stopped working. I was very exited about discovering Audacity because it also has the capacity to add EQ, which I really need; but I cannot even understand how to do the simple things I used to do with MEM. Will someone please take the time to tell me step by step how to do a few things? People have responded to my other 2 posts, but i did not really comprehend their responses. (man, I really feel dumb).
I am a DJ, and I have 3 Terabytes worth of music, all CD rips.
All I really need to do is
- Normalize the volume;
- edit the silence in the intro and outro of each track;
- Try to normalize the EQ.
I was doing this manually on MEM, one track at a time. This takes forever (it took me 2 years to do 8,000 tracks). I see how to normalize in Audacity, but I cannot figure out how to do several tracks at once. Every time I try it, they all open up in separate windows. How would I load several tracks and then normalize them all? How many could I load at a time? (please explain step by step)
I was also doing this one track at a time in MEM. I need the songs to start instantly, the absolute least amount of silence at the into. I have learned how to do this one track at a time in Audacity, but is there a way to do multiple tracks at once?
In my second post I asked how I could “batch EQ” several tracks at once. I really did not understand the answer.
I want to do this because as a DJ, I need to have the EQ about the same when I am playing live. This has been a constant problem for me, going all the way back to the 1970’s when I first started. It would be much easier to EQ the music BEFORE it was played than attempt to adjust it once I start playing it.
- I want to be able to set my output EQ on my system where every song will sound about the same as far as the EQ goes when I play it.
- I want to stop having to adjust the output EQ for every song. (with playing records or CD’s you are forced to adjust as it is playing. With MP3 or WAV I am hoping I can alter the files and therefore do it before).
- I want to load several songs (the answer to question #2 will be helpful here I would think), then apply a set EQ to them. I am thinking i would need to analyze them somehow to adjust each batch to be the same.
A step by step answer to this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this. I am 50 years old and not all that computer hip, but I see a potential with Audacity to make my DJ hobby a whole lot better than it currently is - I want to switch from DJ’ing with cd’s to DJ’ing with computers, with the best sound possible.
You really are going to have to put some blank lines in your posts. Nobody wants to read nine inches of solid words. That looks like an insurance policy. Can you go back and edit that post and put idea breaks, paragraphs and blank lines in? There should be a little “Edit” button in the upper right.
See that blank line right there ^? It’s really rough trying to follow you when you write bunched up like that.
i am stuck with them (MP3) unless i can reconvert them to wav with Audacity.
MP3 compression sound damage is permanent. You can convert the songs into WAV in many different programs including Audacity, but the music will have the MP3 damage burned in. If you used a very good quality for the MP3 creation, then it will probably be OK. Do you remember the quality setting you used?
johnkthedj, I have added some punctuation, bullet points and paragraph breaks to aid readability of your previous post. Please check that I have not changed your intended meaning.
ok. thanks for the edit. it does read a lot better! the mp3 files are 192.
- Normalize the volume.
This is easy.
How to do it one file at a time:
- Import the file, (File menu > Import > Audio)
- Ensure that the track is selected (http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/audacity_selection.html), then from the Effect menu select “Normalize”.
- Recommended setting:
- Remove DC offset: Enabled (selected)
- Normalize maximum amplitude to: -3.0 for best quality or 0.0 for maximum loudness.
- Normalize stereo independently: Disabled (not selected)
More info about Normalize: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/normalize.html
- Export (File menu > Export). More information here: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/file_export_dialog.html
Normalize can also be used in a “Chain” for batch processing.
See here for more details: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/chains_for_batch_processing_and_effects_automation.html
There is a plug-in available here that can automatically delete silence from the start and end of tracks:
Instructions for installing plug-ins: Missing features - Audacity Support
This plug-in can be used in a Chain.
This one is difficult, but also it begs the question, why do you need to do this?
Professionally produced recordings should be already correctly equalised so that they have the tonal balance that the artist/producer want. There should be no need to equalize tracks other than to compensate for deficiencies in the playback system or room acoustics.
If you are using bad recordings or amateur recordings that have not been correctly “mastered” then to get the EQ right they should be individually EQ’d.
thank you so much Steve for your help. I understood, and did, your first two responses - worked like a charm. Just one question here: How do you load multiple songs to apply the chain too? (and how many can I do at a time?)
to answer you question about the EQ - cd’s are produced differently, mostly by genre. I play everything from 1950’s to hard rock. There can be dramatic swings in eq, mostly in the low end. when playing live, if i set the eq for a disco song, which is bass heavy, and then play a classic rock song; there is no bass. the difference in the low end db can be damaging as well, and “clip” the speaker off. (especially if i eq to the rock song and then play the disco song). if you listen to kanye west’s new cd, and then listen to ac/dc dirty deeds; you will instantly see what i am talking about; and that difference is amplified by the loud volume i play at. i control this at the board currently with an eq, but it can be tricky changing tracks and eq-ing at the same time. this is why i would like to try to get all the music eq-ed about the same.
mp3 files are 192.
That’s a good thing. Audacity default is 128. Terrifically excellent would be 256 or higher.
You can prevent the sound from getting any worse by exporting to WAV and not back to MP3. The trip back to MP3 creates the problems.
“How come my song sounds honky and bubbly when I make a new MP3…?”
There’s a WAV export setting you need to change. We discovered you can make WAV files sound even better than they do already by changing the dither to “Triangle.”
Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Quality > High Quality Conversion: Best Quality, Triangle.
If it’s just the bass end that you’re concerned about you could use a multi-band, or side chain compressor in your signal chain (as a “channel insert” effect) to limit the amount of bass before it hits the EQ section.
ok Steve. How would I do that?
A multi-band compressor is able to apply different amounts of compression/limiting according to the frequency that is passing through it, thus a multi-band compressor between the audio source and the EQ section of your equipment can be used to reduce the level of excessive bass so that it is more in keeping with other types of music.
Whether or not this is a viable option will depend on what equipment you already use, and what your budget is.
John, a word of advice from a fellow - albeit former - DJ who has considered not only a digital comeback but also normalising my collection of music; don’t make any hasty knee-jerk global changes to your music collection without researching the implications much more deeply.
I can see you want to get this done quickly, but the reality is that the unintended consequences of your contemplated actions are likely to pose a whole new set of new problems with sound quality. Furthermore, if you don’t work off backups what you are trying to do will quite likely casue irreparable damage to you collection.
I don’t know what software you are using and where you play, but I use Traktor software along with the S2 controller. That has simple hi/mid/low EQ that you can quickly set on the fly, and Traktor’s playlist management features will automatically normalise levels for you using something called replaygain, which is worth your time looking into.
This requires some investment up front, but will allow you to protect your major investment in your music collection; think of it as an insurance policy.