Equalising audio levels

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I have many mp3 tracks & would like to try & equalise their sound levels so they're all the same, when playing back, through sonos, or just my desktop, if possible.

I generally convert these mp3s to flac using dBpoweramp 16.1 which seems to raise the levels & the output is a better, clearer sound. I'm no expert with dBpoweramp, or with audio massaging at all by any stretch of the imagination. But, I still get variation in sound levels because the original audio (mp3) sound levels vary.

Is there a simple way to equalise the levels across multiple mp3s without creating distortion, or losing sound quality, prior to converting to flac, or is it just impossible to do? TIA.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
There's nothing in the creation of a FLAC from a MP3 that effects sound - it, if anything, just increases file size - you're not the only person to say they do this, but unless the source was FLAC, I don't get why adding superfluous data to a file helps it in any way. It is exactly like waking up and re-saving your digital photos at 10x the file size - why!? The raising of gain/db/encoding through filters is where the 'boost' comes from. Normalising all your files for a uniform volume level will work against that process - similarly, quieter files when boosted may clip.
It's a complicated headache!
Most encoders/similar have a bulk normalise setting (I use exact audio copy for CDs), but I tend to adjust my volume rather than start playing with individual levels of all tracks.
ITunes has the feature built-in as does WMP if you are playing a library of music and don't want to change each track via applied algorithms (ie a software solution rather than physical change to files).
Good luck,
FWD.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
You could try Sound Normaliser. You can choose which files you want to normalise FLAC, WAV, MP3 etc. There is a free and a paid for version - the paid for version is peanuts. I rate it!

The video shows how easy it is to use.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Should say: I'm talking generally.
Working on the basis an average mp3 music collection is less than a terabyte - re-encoding to FLAC for the sound program being used's sound benefits would require possibly a 5 terabyte hard drive.
If you keep a copy of the original files - then you are up to 6 terabytes from the original outset.
If you say memory isn't an issue, I'd have an unaltered collection archived and then a sound levelled/filtered set of files of greater size. That said, leveling through the player without altering files permanently seems a prudent middle road.
I was assuming that wasn't a consideration in this case and apologies if the first response, seems a bit brusk.
Regards,
FWD.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Should say: I'm talking generally.
Working on the basis an average mp3 music collection is less than a terabyte - re-encoding to FLAC for the sound program being used's sound benefits would require possibly a 5 terabyte hard drive.
If you keep a copy of the original files - then you are up to 6 terabytes from the original outset.
If you say memory isn't an issue, I'd have an unaltered collection archived and then a sound levelled/filtered set of files of greater size.
I was assuming that wasn't a consideration in this case and apologies if the first response seems a bit brusk.
Regards,
FWD.

It's OK FWD, I normally keep the originals separately as 'control', then convert to another folder as flac, storage isn't a concern at the moment.
Still researching on options. No apologies required.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Not sure this is what your looking for but NCH file converter will convert FLAC to MP3 in bulk reducing file size. NCH is kind of notorious for adding bloatware - that's the downside - but the bloatware can be deleted.
 

The Chameleon

#KingGamma
It's OK FWD, I normally keep the originals separately as 'control', then convert to another folder as flac, storage isn't a concern at the moment.
Still researching on options. No apologies required.
I think you're working against your own interests by creating a file of multiple tracks and then using the normalization feature.
You're calling it equalization but I think normalization is more what you want. I know what you're talking about because it's a common problem when I'm watching youtube channels. I try to get a comfortable volume but then something very loud comes on, so I turn it down and then can't hear the next part. This is especially true on podcasts that use clips from other sources.
Anyway, what you want to do is make your quieter tracks louder with normalization, or amplification. They are both available on Audacity.
Both work by finding the peak level allowed and raising the peaks in the track to that level. But here's the thing. A quiet track might allow for 6db increase while a louder track allows for 0db increase. If you boost the quiet track first the two will be more equal because the quieter track will increase 6db. But if you put them together and boost both, they are not going to change because it's based on the loudest point in the loudest track.
A lot of mp3's are just going to be drastically different levels in all ways and the same eq won't work for all. The same normalization won't work for all either. Especially if you're listening to lots of concert recordings like Morrissey live performances recorded all different ways the levels are very different.

The point is you should try to set your levels on the individual tracks. Putting them together first doesn't help. Converting mp3's to FLACs is another subject and FWD covered that. All I would add is that back in the days of trading files on soulseek and other platforms it made people really angry when someone would convert mp3's to flacs and share them. This is because there might be flacs that are high quality being circulated and then someone else circulates flacs made from mp3's and it confuses everything. That kind of file sharing seems a lot less common now though and this isn't relevant to your topic. I just was reminded of it.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I think you're working against your own interests by creating a file of multiple tracks and then using the normalization feature.
You're calling it equalization but I think normalization is more what you want. I know what you're talking about because it's a common problem when I'm watching youtube channels. I try to get a comfortable volume but then something very loud comes on, so I turn it down and then can't hear the next part. This is especially true on podcasts that use clips from other sources.
Anyway, what you want to do is make your quieter tracks louder with normalization, or amplification. They are both available on Audacity.
Both work by finding the peak level allowed and raising the peaks in the track to that level. But here's the thing. A quiet track might allow for 6db increase while a louder track allows for 0db increase. If you boost the quiet track first the two will be more equal because the quieter track will increase 6db. But if you put them together and boost both, they are not going to change because it's based on the loudest point in the loudest track.
A lot of mp3's are just going to be drastically different levels in all ways and the same eq won't work for all. The same normalization won't work for all either. Especially if you're listening to lots of concert recordings like Morrissey live performances recorded all different ways the levels are very different.

The point is you should try to set your levels on the individual tracks. Putting them together first doesn't help. Converting mp3's to FLACs is another subject and FWD covered that. All I would add is that back in the days of trading files on soulseek and other platforms it made people really angry when someone would convert mp3's to flacs and share them. This is because there might be flacs that are high quality being circulated and then someone else circulates flacs made from mp3's and it confuses everything. That kind of file sharing seems a lot less common now though and this isn't relevant to your topic. I just was reminded of it.

OK thanks C for that. Useful.

Yes, I was aiming for consistent 'loudness' across all tracks, i.e. if using a scale of 1-5 as low to high volume, I wanted them at a consistent 4, let's say. Some of the mp3s are at, what I would call, level 2, some are at level 4, so I wanted to equalise, normalise, or whatever collectively. Converting to flac using dBpoweramp, does seem to 'lift' them slightly, to my ears anyway. I understand that it increases the file size, but that's not a problem.

Tbh I can't be arsed with it; I don't have the time to be faffing about on an individual basis (unless it's just a single mp3 that I know I have an issue with, as opposed to a list of, say, 20), but I take your point on this, as opposed to doing collective mp3s. If there'd been a simple solution then maybe I would have bothered & dedicated the time, but clearly, as both you & FWD point out, it's not as straight fwd as it might have initially appeared....it's still annoying though but I'll have to compromise I guess.
C'est la vie.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Use Sound Normalizer it creates the same loudness level across all tracks. Put all tracks in one folder then follow the video link above to check how to use. It's easy peasy.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
I took normalise to mean volume levelling - hence why I suggested doing it through the player (there are umpteen with the feature) and nothing will be played that blows your ears off nor will files need fiddling with as it's done on the fly. Much like on a TV, pressing the auto volume levelling function will give uniformity of loudness without any other hassles.
I'm not a WMP fan, but it might be worth considering as it addresses your problem (see here).
Regards,
FWD.
 

The Chameleon

#KingGamma

It seems that Foobar2000 does this too. I don't really like it or Windows Media Player. I have recently started using Winamp again because it's the easiest to edit file names, and click and play. I don't remember why I didn't like WMP but maybe it was about it looking for DRM's on all tracks.
Foobar isn't bad but the media library doesn't allow you to just click on a track to play it.
When I'm listening to music it's not as much of a problem anyway. For me it's about watching movies or youtube late at night on PC and trying not to annoy my friend who is sleeping.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member

It seems that Foobar2000 does this too. I don't really like it or Windows Media Player. I have recently started using Winamp again because it's the easiest to edit file names, and click and play. I don't remember why I didn't like WMP but maybe it was about it looking for DRM's on all tracks.
Foobar isn't bad but the media library doesn't allow you to just click on a track to play it.
When I'm listening to music it's not as much of a problem anyway. For me it's about watching movies or youtube late at night on PC and trying not to annoy my friend who is sleeping.

Thanks, I'll take a look, & at the howtogeek link.
 
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