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Sometimes, when you are given a file to work with, it might not be primed for editing or using in your project. One of the first things to always check is how quiet the file is. If it is too quiet, the file may need to be normalized.

What is normalization?

To normalize audio is to change its overall volume by a fixed amount to reach a target level. The dynamics are never messed with however, just the overall volume. Most people when normalizing try to normalize everything to 0dbfs, or the top of the digital scale. Remember, anything over 0db means it is potentially clipping. There are 2 different normalizing techniques we will briefly explore.

  1. Peak Normalization.

When we normalize a file, we have to measure its volume before we can alter it. With peak normalization, it only takes into account the loudest parts of the file, or the peaks of the file. So, in this scenario, the peak of the file will be driven up to 0db or the target of db that you choose, and the rest of the file will be boosted by the same amount. It's worth noting that in this situation, only the peak of the file is at 0db, not th entire file. In other words, if you have a recording that needs to be normalized, but it has some microphone handling noise at the beginning of it, or anywhere in the file, it is most likely that the microphone noise will be the thing pushed up to 0dbfs. That could be particularly annoying since it isn't the microphone noise that want being the loudest part of the file. This is why sometimes, taking out clocks or mic handling noise form a file can sometimes make a world of difference in peak normalization.

RMS Normalization

With RMS normalization, the overall loudness of the file is measured. RMS stands for root means squared. when the overall loudness of the file is measured, there will be some parts of the file that peak over while other parts are softer, but the intended goal is to take all of the softer and louder parts and make an average volume. The key to note here is that if you have several files you are normalizing all to a target volume with RMS you may have to turn some of them down so that the peaks do not clip over 0db since it is not measuring just the peak of the file. Remember, RMS is trying to bring this overall volume closer to its intended target.

Keystrokes for normalizing.

First, remember that in this case, normalization will work on the part of the audio that is selected. this is why it is important to make sure you have the part of the audio selected that you want to affect or the entire file. You can normalize to peak by doing the following:

  1. Press alt+C to get into the effects menu.
  2. Press u for volume effects.
  3. Press m for maximize volume.

from here you see a list of presets that will allow you to choose your target volume. alternatively, you can also enter the intended volume once tabbing past the preview, ok and cancel buttons. The thing to note here is you will also see a list view with the overall peak volume of both channels before being normalized to 0db.

  1. Press f4 to preview your audio and OK for it to take effect.
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Page last modified on April 11, 2017, at 09:45 PM