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Topic: MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For (Read 495 times) previous topic - next topic
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MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For

Recently I used MP3Gain in an attempt to get all the mp3s in my audio collection to be as close to the recommended 89.0 dB as possible before putting playlists together and/or burning them to CD. The best I’ve been able to achieve is a range of 88.2 to 89.8 dB, which isn’t bad but is far from ideal because I can already see that I’ll still be needing to raise or lower the volume on various tracks. Some of the 88.2 dB tracks are actually much louder than the 89.8 dB tracks, which makes no sense to me as they are 1.6 dB softer! Is there any further process I can use to adjust all these tracks to the (at-least-almost) exact same volume so I can avoid my constant battle with the volume knob? I can’t be alone in my frustration. What do other people do? I understand that record companies and radio stations use some sort of expensive compression software to deal with this problem, but what does the average audiophile do to combat this? I’d like to simply ENJOY my music collection--not go to war with it! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Re: MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For

Reply #1
You could use some of the newer replaygain algorithms like in foobar and see if they work better for you.  mp3gain is quite old at this point.

Re: MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For

Reply #2
It's not perfect and two different people might not agree about when two different songs are equal in loudness, especially if they are different genres of if they just have different dynamics.    Or you might have a song that ends loud leading into a song that starts quiet, etc.

There are two reasons you're not hitting exactly 89dB:   MP3 can only be adjusted in 1.5dB increments without decoding/recoding.  But that that allows you to get within 3/4ths of dB which is pretty close.   And, if you don't allow clipping, the loudness can be limited by the peaks.     MP3 can actually go over 0dB without clipping so it may not clip if you are not playing at "full digital volume" and clipping your DAC.

If you're burning a CD you've got a limited number of tracks and you can do it by ear.    If your originals are MP3 you can use MP3directCut (or something similar) which can adjust level losslessly.   The procedure is to normalize/maximize all of the tracks first.  Then if they aren't equally loud, choose the quietest sounding track as your reference and adjust the others down as necessary.

Quote
What do other people do?
I've had pretty good luck with ReplayGain on Winamp and Sound Check on my iPod.   Like I said it's not perfect but I'm not constantly adjusting the volume.

Quote
I understand that record companies
Record companies aren't trying to match everybody else.  There are just trying to be as-loud or louder than everybody else...  The loudness war.   Yes, compression and limiting. 
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and radio stations use some sort of expensive compression software to deal with this problem
Yes, compression and limiting again.

The popular streaming services use loudness matching similar to ReplayGain/MP3Gain.   They don't use compression.  So there are still some quiet-sounding songs that don't hit their loudness target because they don't push the levels into clipping.

Quote
but what does the average audiophile do to combat this?
Most "audiophiles" use ReplayGain or something similar or they just use the volume control.     But some music lovers do make a compressed version for playback in their car (where quiet passages can't be heard because of noise).    Or, some people just compress the heck out of everything for constant volume.


Re: MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For

Reply #3
Like saratoga said, MP3Gain is using very old algorithm.
Me and many other people have noticed that bass heavy music kills it.
Modern "ReplayGain" in foobar2000 is using the newer R128 algorithm that is much more precise.
Check this picture out, both of them are normalized to "same" volume.
As you can see, it is a pretty big difference.
Now this is my personal opinion, I think that 89 dB is not loud enough.
Me and most streaming websites use -14 LUFS (93 dB). I think this is the sweet spot.
Now for clipping that DVDdoug mentioned. Yes, clipping is little problematic.
One single clip is enough to affect the whole file. That's why people like myself
that want everything to be equally loud (or close to it), adjust every single file individually
using limiter, compressor and other stuff. (You also need headroom for lossy encoding)
Since you are working with MP3s, I cannot recommend this. Re-encoding lossy files is a big no-no.
Everything above 16/44 is scam.
Always download first release, never remastered/HD release.

Re: MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For

Reply #4
Like saratoga said, MP3Gain is using very old algorithm.
Me and many other people have noticed that bass heavy music kills it.
Modern "ReplayGain" in foobar2000 is using the newer R128 algorithm that is much more precise.
Check this picture out, both of them are normalized to "same" volume.
As you can see, it is a pretty big difference.
Now this is my personal opinion, I think that 89 dB is not loud enough.
Me and most streaming websites use -14 LUFS (93 dB). I think this is the sweet spot.
Now for clipping that DVDdoug mentioned. Yes, clipping is little problematic.
One single clip is enough to affect the whole file. That's why people like myself
that want everything to be equally loud (or close to it), adjust every single file individually
using limiter, compressor and other stuff. (You also need headroom for lossy encoding)
Since you are working with MP3s, I cannot recommend this. Re-encoding lossy files is a big no-no.

Thank you for the info on the two replay gains and also for those line breaks.

Re: MP3Gain Not Delivering The Results I Had Hoped For

Reply #5
with due respect to the developer, mp3gain needs to DIE - it shouldn't be used at all IMO except perhaps where an ancient decoder can't read newer RPG ID3 tags

take a look at loudgain instead: https://github.com/Moonbase59/loudgain

 
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