My tracks are too quiet...

Agondonter

Member
Hi there!

I have composed a couple of slow solo piano pieces which are intended to be played quietly, but the end result is far too quiet and I don't know what to do to make it louder. I am using The Giant piano library set to a softer tone quality The RMS averages at -40 and the volume output from Kontakt is set at 0 dB. Thanks for any help!

Cheers,
Alex
 

FriFlo

Senior Member
If you still think it's to quiet after normalising the audio file, then tell us: tomquiet compared to what? What is the musical style of your track and do you have a reference in the same style you compare it to?
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Why not just increase the gain (Cubase can do it natively - in DAWs that can't, any plugin that can increase gain is enough) of the channel? It doesn't get any simpler than that.
 

robgb

I was young once
Increase the gain, then gentle limiting on your master bus. Maybe more than one limiter, each with subtle increases in gain, but not the point where you lose all dynamic range. Trust your ears.
 

Dave Connor

Senior Member
Even of the piano part is itself soft - you want to capture it (record it) in a way where it is printed at a healthy volume. That's why people want to see your waveform - to see whether you are capturing the audio information efficiently enough. If someone is singing softly - live on a microphone - they bring the mike closer to their mouth while the engineer who's recording makes sure the input from the mike is turned up enough to get a strong signal into the mixer. If either of these variables is off (mike too far from source or input to low) you won't get proper signal strength which causes problems in a few ways.
 
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dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
I've been having this issue with Kontakt as well. The audio files are almost flat. And it isn't actually supposed to be quiet. I ended up having the volume at +6 and using Waves Maxim on the master bus. But any limiter/compressor would probably work. I did lose some of my dynamics though. I need to go back and fix it.
 
OP
Agondonter

Agondonter

Member
Thank you all for your replies! I boosted the gain by 5 dB and it did sound louder, but not greatly. The master bus showed a peak of -10 at some point I think, but generally stayed below -20. I listened the track with my cheap earbuds on my phone while being outside and at some points especially near the end it was barely audible.

Here is the .wav file:


Cheers,
Alex
 
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josejherring

Senior Member
Sounds like you're trying to stick to the lower dynamic layers, I think, due to the fact that the higher dynamics probably jump out at you which means that the library itself could be at fault. Unnatural dynamic range in the samples themselves.

It's my main problem with piano libraries. The dynamic range gets so out of whack that the entire piano spans from barely audible to maxing out a 0db. Which of course is impossibly hard to work with and making the actual usable dynamic range for any real non pop related work around the mp and below range.

I'd be curious to find out if there is a piano library where they just left the dynamic range of the instrument intact and not messed with.
 

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
why not just keeping the quite composed music how it is? If it is too quite people can turn up their volume..I mean what is the purpose of a piano piece which is intended to sound quite to mutilate in order to sound loud(er). I will never understand that logic..sorry. Listen to telarc recordings of Tschaikowsky pieces, the dynamic range is so great.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
why not just keeping the quite composed music how it is? If it is too quite people can turn up their volume..I mean what is the purpose of a piano piece which is intended to sound quite to mutilate in order to sound loud(er). I will never understand that logic..sorry. Listen to telarc recordings of Tschaikowsky pieces, the dynamic range is so great.
I think it isn't the louder so much as just being able to hear it on something that isn't a perfect sound system. For example, if I need to turn it past the halfway point on my audio interface to hear it on my studio computer, I can barely hear it over the speaker hiss on my desktop computer, if that makes sense. Which means on my phone, well, it's basically inaudible.
 

josejherring

Senior Member
why not just keeping the quite composed music how it is? If it is too quite people can turn up their volume..I mean what is the purpose of a piano piece which is intended to sound quite to mutilate in order to sound loud(er). I will never understand that logic..sorry. Listen to telarc recordings of Tschaikowsky pieces, the dynamic range is so great.
This is what I was thinking at first. But, then it does seem like as the piece progresses he is trying to build the dynamic up a bit and then seemed restrained, thus I figured that he ran into problems with the louder dynamics being out of balance and thus held himself down to the lower dynamics.
 
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Agondonter

Agondonter

Member
Now, I am even more confused... My aim is to be able to hear the sound on my phone with my earbuds without having to turn up the volume to max. Right now it is either barely audible or relatively loud (where the loud chords are).

April Fool's?
It's a genuine inquiry. If you could help, it would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Alex
 

JamieLang

Active Member
You have about 10db of empty headroom in that track. As was pointed out, peak normalize. I would go further and point out that peak normalize it to -.5dbfs. It's just a safe spot. Little tiny more won't make a bit of difference UNLESS it's a bad difference played on a shit system. That will leave enough room someone can make an mp3 of it and not push it up over 0dbfs.

It's ALSO very dark and wooly. There's a whole "perceived loudness" to that...but, first off, you need to get it to full scale to play it back on any consumer system.

Side note: You're recording too low a level. You should be seeing -20'ish give or take on a VU meter. I calibrated mine DOWN to as low as it will go (-24dbfs) and it doesn't even MOVE the needle on the loudest part in the middle. If you're misunderstanding VU vs peak, that's the next lesson for you...in the analog world, what you recorded would be buried in hiss. Just saying, lesson one in recording—lets get the levels set properly. ;)
 
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Agondonter

Agondonter

Member
Thank you Jamie! Very helpful and informative post!

So, in order to peak normalize I just have to increase the gain so that the master channel peaks at -0.5dbfs, right?

Also, I don't have a VU plugin. Do you think VUMT from Klanghelm is a good one to start with?

Cheers,
Alex