Revised attitude on normalization / question 2001-10-02 23:35:15 I don't know exactly in which forum this should go, so I'm putting it here... There was a time, not that long ago, that I scoffed at the idea of normalizing / scaling audio. "These tracks are mixed at the levels at which the studio intended..." I reasoned - since my goal was to preserve as much of the original CD sound as possible, I didn't want to jack around with the levels.Of course, I've learned a bit since then. For one, I've been enlightened to the concept that compression introduces clipping by raising the levels slightly. So, if a CD is already pegged, the act of compression will tend to tip it over the edge (couple this with the fact that so many CDs these days are mixed with terrible dynamic compression for radio play...)Going back over my previous mp3 encodes, I could verify this. Many of my tracks, mostly busy ones to begin with, sounded awfully distorted, esp. at higher volumes. Using the MAD plugin for Winamp, I could see that it was these, and only these, distorted tracks that showed definite clipped output (I don't have the luxury of these stats under my usual player - XMMS). Clipping was the culprit.Obviously, I thought, high bitrates and fancy presets don't do me much good if I have nasty clipping artifacts...Recompressing these tracks, with scaling, like -scale 0.98 with mp3 or mpc, reduces this problem and brings clarity back to these busy tracks. Of course, often, I would have to twiddle around to find the right scaling factor to simply eliminate the problem, whether it be .98, .95, .90, or whatever.Finding that "magic number" for each track is difficult, because too high, and I have to re-encode with a lower value. But too low, and my tracks lose their "punch", and sound flat.My question - is there a (quick / easy) way, under Windows and preferrably under *NIX, to analyze CDs and / or WAV files for peak levels, and thereby determine an optimal normalization / scaling factor for that CD's tracks to preserve sound, yet remove clipping artifacts completely?... I want to get the optimal scale level, use it, and encode only once.I'm not concerned with creating mix CDs - I don't want a constant level for all tracks from all CDs... Different CDs SHOULD be at different volumes... I simply want my CDs to be as much as possible at the originally intended levels *without* any clipping.Thanks in advance for any suggestions.