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Old April 26th, 2011, 02:34 PM   #1
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Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

I've got a 6 minute video made up of 10 audio tracks (all used in HD Studio 10) and I'm using tricks such as volume filter, pulling down louder clips, raising and lowering the volume control for the each audio track etc. The final mix when rendered sounds fairly even to me at 1/4 volume but my client says on thier computers there varying levels of volume and could I get all the volume to be about the same. Listening at low volume better to detect. I'd usually tried to set everything where it counded decent at about 40% volume but of course Windows has it's volume - the speakers have their volume and who knows what Vimeo does to the volume on upload too....

I'm using studio speakers for playback. What's the best way to level out the volume across every track? Other than just listening?
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Old April 26th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

unfortunately it sounds like the problem is in your mix - especially so if your client is saying the volume level 'varies'.

a quick and dirty way (though not best practice) is use 'cnlevelator' on your final audio mix. as i wrote, it's no short cut for not getting it right in the first place, but it's saved some of my students uneven mixes....
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Old April 26th, 2011, 11:01 PM   #3
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Simpson View Post
I'm using studio speakers for playback. What's the best way to level out the volume across every track? Other than just listening?
Use a loudness meter. Basically place a loudness meter on the track to get a view of the loudness of that track - you're looking for loudness to average at around -20dbFS.

I make sure all audio tracks' slider are set at 0db. Next I play each track solo with a K-meter to check its average volume. I use the track trim to set dial-back the volume if needed. If there isn't enough signal, I normalize the track, then dial back with track trim. I repeat this for all tracks.

With all tracks levelled, I then make any adjustments using faders to the mix. Problem areas that change in volume may need an envelope. A last final check on the master bus with the meter is also done to verify.


The meter I use is found at:

mzuther::code - K-Meter
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:18 AM   #4
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Insert/Audio Envelope/Volume

Harry,

You ARE using Audio Envelopes to make multiple volume adjustments along each track, right?

Ken

Edit: Ooops! I see you're using Vegas Studio, not Vegas Pro. I don't know if Vegas studio has audio envelopes.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 06:46 AM   #5
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

Hi Ken

Sadly it doesn't!!! Pity every one of my tracks has an audio volume envelope inserted even if I don't use it!!!

Harry?? Are you setting your levels in Vegas to average around 0db??? If so they will definately be too loud for any viewer!!! I tend to make sure that my levels never exceed -6db and other take the level even lower!!! I always used to go for 0db in the early days and wondered by people said it was too loud!!!

Chris
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Old April 27th, 2011, 07:47 AM   #6
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

Are you sure VMS doesn't have an volume envelope?

Another thing that might help is the compressor effect.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 08:30 AM   #7
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

I think VMS does have volume envelopes but no i've not tried to use them. Great feedback here! Thank youu much. -6db eh? so with each track move the track volume slider to -6db? I'll check out the K-meter dealeo and see how it works - there's a rather extensive audio how to use link off the k-meter site i want to read too!

I went in last night and did a remix of all the audio and got the final product sounding pretty even. Couple of clips I dropped since the sound (actually due to mic mishandling by talent) was just not very clear in any sense.

Thanks for the great comments!!
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Old April 28th, 2011, 01:12 AM   #8
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

I think what people are saying is that, using the built-in meters in Vegas, which are *peak* meters, that you should never see the peaks go above -6db. That's a rule-of-thumb that usually gets you close to what is considered 'standard' loudness - for most material.

The k-meter I mentioned shows *average* loudness, which is based on an RMS measurement which more closely models the human perception of loudness. (It also shows peak too - so that you can see how peak readings correlate with average loudness).

The advice I gave on leveling tracks is designed so, with all audio track faders at 0db level, they all have the *same* loudness. Now, that *may* not be the end desired, some tracks may need to be quieter than others for a given mix. but with all tracks orignally levelled the same, if you move a track fader down, say -6db, what is indicated on the fader *directly* relates to average loudness. This is why I recommended to use the trim control on audio tracks.

The trim control is a unheralded control on the audio track; it's a white line within the audio track which you can drag down to control the track's output level. It has a limited range, but it's purpose is for trimming audio to match the output levels of other tracks.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 02:17 AM   #9
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Re: Maintaining Consistent Audio Volume

Try using "The Levelator 2" it's free software that levels out your audio.
The Levelator from The Conversations Network
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