Is there an Audio Compressor for Windows?


C

casey.o

When I play my music files and even more often, my saved videos, the
sound level can really vary. I can open one file and need to turn the
volume way up to hear it, then the next tile blasts my ears out. I
often run the sound into an actual stereo system, so those that load
really loud are a huge problem. I'm considering buying an actual audio
compressor to install between the computer and stereo, but was wondering
if there is some software that can be used instead (which would work
better on my laptop, which has internal speakers).

I used to run sound for bands, so I'm very familiar with the hardware
used for analog sound systems, but dont know if such a thing exists for
digital sound on computers.....
 
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N

Nil

MP3Gain (freebie) can level mp3 files. I almost always run it
once on any mp3 file I get.

Strictly speaking, mp3gain doesn't level the file. It embeds
information in the file that tells the player what volume to play it at
so that it's similar in volume to your other audio files. It doesn't
actually change the volume of the file itself.
 
C

casey.o

Not only the player, apparently, because if I convert that mp3 to another
format (using a file converter), the overall volume of that converted file
has indeed been changed in the copy. So IOW, whatever reads the mp3 gets
that data and changes the amplitude of the resulting file by storing new and
reduced coefficient values in there.

(Most mp3 files I find are pretty close to clipping levels (if not
clipping), with little headroom (meaning the amplitude coefficients stored
in the mp3 file were too large). So I normalize them in Mp3Gain, and you
can see the change in amplitude afterwards, in an audio editor: it's been
reduced.

But that is only for MP3 files. I find MP4 videos to be the biggest
offenders. And with nearly 5,000 MP3 files, I really dont want to
convert each one. An actual hardware compressor would be a better bet,
but that wont work on my laptop, with the built in speakers. That's why
I thought there might be a software compressor to install, which just
levels out the sound regardless what I'm playing, whether that be a MP3,
MP4, FLV, WAV, or even a music CD or DVD. You'd think such a program
would exist....
 
C

casey.o

And it indeed might, at least within some multimedia players (where you
could set the volume leveling for playing different types of files), but I
don't know.

My approach has always been to try to fix the files themselve, to be more
consistent and normalized, when I first get them.

Granted, if you've got 5000 files, that might not be the most efficient
approach, however. :) There may be some multimedia players that have
that volume leveling capability built in, but I just don't know.

I use Media Player Classic (MPC) for video files and Winamp for audio.
I'll have to watch for others and see if some sort of alternatives
exist. I like both of these programs and both work on XP and Win98, so
I can keep consistent between computers.

In the meantime, I'm gonna start watching for a hardware audio
compressor. When those tiny speakers blast on my laptop, its annoying,
but when my 200watt (RMS) stereo blasts, it can do damage.
 
B

Bob F

Bill said:
MP3Gain (freebie) can level mp3 files. I almost always run it once
on any mp3 file I get.

Does that take manual intervention, or is it smart enough to just run it on a
library?
 
C

casey.o

Not only the player, however, because if we convert that normalized mp3 to
another format (using a file converter), the overall volume of that
converted file
has indeed been changed. This is because MP3Gain stored new normalized
coefficient values in the mp3 file. (So it's not just the player).

I find most mp3 files are pretty close to clipping levels (if not already
clipping), with little headroom (meaning the amplitude coefficients stored
in the mp3 file were too large). So I normalize them in Mp3Gain, and you
can see the change in amplitude afterwards in an audio editor - it's been
reduced. And I leave the normalization setting at 89 db in MP3Gain.

Most people dont know how to record stuff. On the old meters, the
needle should not go into the red zone, except during occasional peaks.
It's prety much the same with the LED volume level "meters". When I did
sound for bands, I had to record a lot of shows. I learned quickly how
to adjust the levels on the tape recorders. (Back then we used reel to
reel tapes, or later on casette tapes). [If you're under 40, you'll
have to google those words} ..... and look up vinyl record too :)

I have not done any of this in years, but I believe everything is
recorded to a computer hard drive these days. I'd probably be totally
confused when the hard drive ran out of TAPE :)

Like, dude, where the f**k do I put the next reel of tape in that hard
drive!
 
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C

casey.o

I've still got an old Revox G-36, vacuum tube, open-reel tape recorder.
It's built *very* well - almost like a tank. German craftmanship. Before
the advent of tape recorders we had "wire recorders" (which recorded on a
spooled steel wire), although I believe that's predating me.


Or have the young'ins try using a rotary dial telephone! And maybe even a
typewriter.

Revox was known to be top of the line back in it's day. Kind of the
Cadillac of tape recorders. I never owned one, but I remember the name
well. I still have one of my reel to reel recorders, but I can not
think of what brand it is at the moment. It's not tube though. More
modern, but it was well made.

I met an old guy bback in the 70's who had a used electronics store. He
had one of those wire recorders in there, but it was not for sale and he
said it didn't work anymore. It was fun to see though. I still find it
hard to comprehend how that wire could get magnetized like a tape. The
magnetic field had to be quite powerful. I doubt the sound quality was
all that good ???

The first (Heavy) VCR's were well made too. I had one that still worked
in the mid 90's, but I had left it at my parents house, but after dad
died. mom went into a nursing home. I had to clean out therir house,
and the VCR was gone. I suppose they tossed it.....

The young'ins should be required to get a Rotary Dial Cell Phone.
(Like this):
http://makezine.com/2008/02/29/portable-rotary-phone-pre/
 
C

casey.o

This old 1950's Revox (which I bought used) is really built well. It
reminds me of the way homes used to be built, in terms of construction
quality, rather than the almost prefab, ticky-tacky, construction mentality
of today. (That said, the old ones often were poorly insulated, so I'll
concede that point).

My first home (a small 2 bedroom) had *30 AMP* service to the entire house,
if you can imagine that. We had to be very careful on what was plugged in!
Of course, it had a gas range and heater, however.

Homes built befoe 1940 were probably built the strongest, but lacked
insulation, and adaquate wiring, etc. The best homes built were in the
1950's and 60's. They lacked some of the decorative stuff which I like
from older homes, but they were still built with real lumber, built
durable, and had at least halfway adaquate wiring..... My parents house
was built in 1952, and although it only had 60A service, I dont think
they ever blew a main fuse. 30A service is fine for a storage shed, and
little more. I have a workshop which only has 40A, and that barely cuts
the mustard when I start using power tools. But I can easilty run
another cable over to it, because it's only 6 feet from the garage which
has 100A. But I just plug in an extesion cord from the outside garage
outlet if I want to run a bunch of power tools while using the AC in the
shed. The garage is only 6 feet away, but the breaker box is about 60
feet away. With the price of wire, I'll just use the extension cord
those two times a year I need the extra power.

Today's homes are garbage. Particle board , plastic siding, etc. I
also find them to look ugly. They just dotn look like a REAL house,
they look like plastic. They are the first buildings to be completely
destroyed from a tornado too.
 
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C

casey.o

No manual intervention. You just select the file, or directory containing
the files you want to process, and run it. There are some settings you can
tweak, but it's pretty much good to go. It's from the sourceforge.net
site, which has several good free utility programs. As I mentioned, it's
about the first thing I do whenever I get an mp3 file. And most really need
the normalizing (most have their volume/amplitude coefficients set too high)

http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/

In that case, I may check into it. I just would not want to do it file
by file....
 

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