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Applying Gain to 16-bit Recordings
Engelsstaub
post Jul 18 2012, 11:07
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I have a few questions regarding some 16/44.1 recordings I have that could be a bit louder. I wanted to boost the gain to somewhere around the point where peaks will be around -1dB without clipping. (It seems that typically the peaks are around -3dB and the meat of the recording is around 6dB and often lower.)

The files will first be upsampled to 32-bit(float)/44.1 and edited in iZotope RX2 Advanced. (Editing consists of light declicking, some possible noise removal between tracks, etc. and then resampling/dithering back.) My questions are these:

1. Is there any reason why applying gain would effect the quality of the original recording in the resulting product? (Would it have just been better to get the level set closer in the first place tongue.gif ?) I know that reducing the volume is "losing bit depth," as I've read this from members in older threads while searching earlier. Is there a reduction in bit depth (or perceivable sound quality) when increasing the volume when using a quality program at the upsampled bit rate?

2. Should the gain be applied before or after the editing (or does it even matter) assuming that number one isn't a boneheaded way to approach this with respect to quality?

Basically I believe it would be ideal to make this...



...look about like this. (About 3dB louder.)



(Sorry if these questions are a bit noobish. I've been reading my ass off through the archives and still can't quite get a grasp.)


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The Loudness War is over. Now it's a hopeless occupation.
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Engelsstaub
post Jul 19 2012, 09:39
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Andy: Thanks. I guess I should have known that its best to normalize last. Especially when I need to declick and do other stuff to the files.

Porcus: I would have ideally liked to have recorded at 24 bits but my preamp's USB out is USB 1.1 protocol. (Pro-Ject Debut III USB) I plan to make necessary changes to my hardware in the near future but until I do I'm stuck with 16 bit...I wish I had known that before I purchased that TT. (I can use a RCA to headphone jack cable directly to my MacBook Pro's soundcard @ 24 bits but I have a feeling USB would be much "cleaner.")

Also I'm using iZotope RX 2 on OS X so Foobar's out for me. (I do have a Windows PC but it has issues that preclude me from wanting to use it for much.) If you're wondering about the album peak in the case of the album in my illustration, I scanned all of the tracks in iZotope RX and found it to be exactly -3dB. There was something closer to FS but upon inspection it turned out to be a "pop."


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