Apologies if this has been asked before…
I am making personal compilation playlists for my mp3 player, and have dragged numerous audio files from different albums and artists from my collection. Without getting too technical (for my limited technology level), I was hoping to somehow ‘normalise’ (if that’s the right description) all these files in each folder; so that they all play at the same volume without me having to keep adjustment the volume setting on my player.
I have read some of the replies given to other questions on this forum ,and understand that any alteration to the mp3 files, lessens the quality of the original file. Hence I have deliberately duplicated the files I wish to amend, so not to ruin the quality of my original files.
Would I be better off importing all the files per folder, then ‘selecting all’, and then using the ‘amplify’ effect? If so, do I need to set the 'New Peak Amplification (dB) target? Or should I leave this alone, and the software itself determines the level required by scanning each audio file in question? Furthermore I assume that I should leave the ‘Allow Clipping’ box unchecked. I assumed that by perhaps not setting a New Peak Amplification target, and not allowing clipping, the software would increase the quieter songs in volume; and or leave the louder tracks / or reduce the volume of these as necessary.
Any advice on this would be gratefully appreciated.
I am using Audacity version 2.3.0 and macOS Mojave 10.14.6.
Sorry for such a long winded post!
What MP3 player are you using - it may well have some auto-levelling.
In iTunes/iPod/iPad in the Playback preferences you can enable “Sound Check”.
Thanks for your quick response. I was completely unaware of the ‘sound check’ facility on the apple portable media products, so that is a help; for a short term solution.
I have read a post on here about a ‘ReplayGain’ plug-in, which in essence seems to be ‘the kind of facility’ a ludite like me would possibly be able to fathom; though there’s no guarantee with me!
Thanks for the initial suggestion.
Anyone who can give me a basic / simple guide to using the ‘ReplayGain’ plug-in, for amending multiple audio files at once rather than individual files; please provide me with a process.
Cheers WC once again appreciate the advice.
The ReplayGain plug-in is based on a feature in some media players that is called “ReplayGain”. It is intended for cases where the real “ReplayGain” feature is unavailable (for example, when making cassette tapes).
The real “ReplayGain” is very similar to Apple’s “Sound Check” feature. I’m not sure which came first, but I think it was ReplayGain, and then Apple made their own proprietary and incompatible version of it for Apple products.
If you intend to use the recordings on Apple products (iTunes, iPhone, iPlayer …) then, as the developer of the ReplayGain plug-in, my recommendation is to use Sound Check. Similarly, if someone is making audio files to play on a device that supports the real “ReplayGain”, then my advice is to use the real ReplayGain.
One of the main advantages of using Sound Check or ReplayGain (the real one), is that applying it makes no changes to the actual audio data, so the process is fast and totally lossless. How it works is that you use an application (such as iTunes) to scan the file and add metadata to the file. The metadata tells the player how to adjust the playback volume so that it plays at a standard loudness (the same loudness as other audio files).
There’s an article here about using Sound Check on an iPhone: https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-sound-check-on-iphone?r=US&IR=T
For MP3s there is another option called [u]MP3Gain[/u]. It “permanently” adjusts the level of the file itself so there are no compatibility issues and it’s lossless because it works without decompressing/recompressing the file.
Due to limitations of the MP3 format, adjustments can only be made in 1.5dB increments so it’s not as “precise” as the other methods. But, in most cases that will get you within 3/4 dB so it still works pretty well.
I assumed that by perhaps not setting a New Peak Amplification target, and not allowing clipping, the software would increase the quieter songs in volume; and or leave the louder tracks / or reduce the volume of these as necessary.
Most commercial music (including quiet-sounding songs) is already maximized/normalized. That means you can’t (always) boost the quiet-sounding songs without clipping so no matter how you do it, the only way to match volumes is to make the loud songs quieter. Usually, most of your music ends-up quieter.
The default target volume has been chosen so that most songs can be matched while trying not to make your music too quiet. There will still be some quiet songs that can’t be brought-up to the target but overall it seems to be a good compromise.
Hi Steve & DVDDoug,
Thank you both for your knowledge and advice, much appreciated; and duly noted for transferring my audio files to my portable player.
However, I would still like an idiot’s guide to your "ReplayGain’ plug-in Steve, as I may create CD versions to play in my car; and I do not think my info-tainment system in the vehicle would recognise or have the facility for either ReplayGain or ‘sound check’.
Sorry to be a nuisance, but I would like to have an attempt at using the plug-in; based on the positive feedback you received from other forum users. I am not worried about making any irreversible changes to these audio files in my compilation folders; as they are only duplicates from my original files.
BTW, great that you guys reply to my posts, despite my clear lack of all the knowledge and experience of others here; I am slowly trying to understand and appreciate the information on some of the posts on other topics.
I just thought while the covid19 pandemic has me in a temporary isolation (self induced), trying to master the plug-in would fill my time; and increase my learning.
I may create CD versions to play in my car
That brings-up another question - Are you making a regular Audio CD (which will play on all CD players) or a CD with MP3 files copied onto it?
Some car stereos can play MP3 files (and/or other computer-file formats) and some can’t. With MP3s you can get 5-10 as much music on a disc (depending on the bitrate/quality), and if your player supports MP3 it will probably display the metadata (artist/title/song/etc.).
If you are making a regular audio CD (uncompressed) it’s better to avoid the (lossy) MP3 compression, but if MP3s is all you have, that’s all you have, and making an audio CD won’t make the sound worse. …MP3 compression isn’t necessarily “terrible” and in fact it can often sound identical to the uncompressed original. But, it’s silly (and “bad practice”) to compress to a lossy format only to decompress to a non-lossy format.
and I do not think my info-tainment system in the vehicle would recognise or have the facility for either ReplayGain or ‘sound check’
I’m sure you’re right. Like I said MP3Gain makes “permanent” changes to the MP3 so it works on anything. There is a similar program called WaveGain for uncompressed WAV files. If you are making an audio CD, you can decompress to WAV first and WaveGain should give slightly better results than MP3Gain. But, there is an even-better (but slightly more complicated) option if you’re making an audio CD.