Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

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Seeker
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Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Seeker » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:25 pm

Ok, leveling is intended to make it so you don't have a soft song that you can barely hear followed by one that blasts your ears out at the same volume. Got that.

But are there different kinds of leveling? Like is album leveling different from other leveling?

Also, what is the effect on the file? Does it change the file itself, or is there a tag value that is read to change the overall volume? I ask this because many of my songs are flac from the cd itself - would I want the file changed given it is lossless info? Or does it not change the basic info? And is it different for mp3?

Thanks for an explanation (or a link to one).

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by nohitter151 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:54 pm

Seeker wrote:Ok, leveling is intended to make it so you don't have a soft song that you can barely hear followed by one that blasts your ears out at the same volume. Got that.

But are there different kinds of leveling? Like is album leveling different from other leveling?
Track leveling = all tracks play back at approximately the same volume
Album leveling = preserves the volume so that it plays back as it does on the original album, so if a song is much quieter on an album than another, that volume is preserved. This can be especially important for classical and live albums.
Also, what is the effect on the file? Does it change the file itself, or is there a tag value that is read to change the overall volume?
Analyze volume = stores a tag value read to change the overall volume. Doesn't alter the file itself. Tags can be read back by iPods, MediaMonkey, and rockbox firmware.
Level volume = alters the volume of the file itself. Useful because many other programs and portable devices can't read volume levels from tags. Can only be used on mp3 files.
I ask this because many of my songs are flac from the cd itself - would I want the file changed given it is lossless info?
I'd guess that you wouldn't want it changed - but the point is moot anyway. Level track volume only works for mp3 files. You have to analyze for other file types.
Or does it not change the basic info? And is it different for mp3?

Thanks for an explanation (or a link to one).
See above, you're welcome, and ask any more questions if you have them! :)
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by trixmoto » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:58 pm

If do "Levelling" then the tracks will be affected as they will be made a level volume. If you do "Volume Analysis" then the volume is calculated and the player changes the volume on-the-fly, so the file itself is not affected.

If you do "Track Levelling" then each track will become a consistent volume. However, some albums deliberately have quiet songs and loud sounds, so to keep this texture within an album you can do "Album Levelling", where the average volume of the tracks is made consistent with the rest of the library.

Hope this helps! :)
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Seeker
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Seeker » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:39 pm

Ok, I THINK I have it figured out, but which ones change a tag, and which ones change the FILE.

I do not want to change the file - especially my flac files.

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Seeker » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:42 pm

My overall call at this point: perform "Analyze Volume" on all my tracks (35,000+) and be done with it.

Good call? Or a better one suggested by someone?

(Haven't quite figured out if Album Leveling would help (and does not alter the file overall) - and if it works "with" Analyze Volume.)

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by nohitter151 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:34 pm

Seeker wrote:Ok, I THINK I have it figured out, but which ones change a tag, and which ones change the FILE.

I do not want to change the file - especially my flac files.
I said above:

Level volume = Physically changes the file, irreversible. Only works for mp3 files
Analyze volume = Does not physically change the file, totally reversible.
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by nohitter151 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:36 pm

Seeker wrote:My overall call at this point: perform "Analyze Volume" on all my tracks (35,000+) and be done with it.

Good call? Or a better one suggested by someone?

(Haven't quite figured out if Album Leveling would help (and does not alter the file overall) - and if it works "with" Analyze Volume.)
Thats a fine call. Its totally reversible. I have MM set up to analyze volume levels as soon as the tracks are imported into the library. I only level the volume of tracks very rarely - like if I can notice that the files are much quieter than all of the other files when I play them back on my Zune.

Considering most of your tracks are FLAC, its the most sensible thing to do, since you can't level the volume of FLAC files. Leveling only works for mp3 files. (but you can volume analyze mp3 files, and it is reversible)

You can analyze album volume as well as track volume. When you play back whole albums, the album coefficient is used, otherwise the track coefficient is used.
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Seeker » Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:19 pm

Is mediamonkey smart enough to do album analysis as well as track analysis if I select multiple albums at one time to do volume analysis?

Or do I have to select one album at a time? (even if this is so, I'm sure there's a script to help me out.)

I want to get this right - since even if the MUSIC doesnt change, a tag changes in every file of every song I have.

Finally, is "album" defined by album name, or album name AND disc number (for multi-disc sets)?

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by nohitter151 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:06 pm

Seeker wrote:Is mediamonkey smart enough to do album analysis as well as track analysis if I select multiple albums at one time to do volume analysis?

Or do I have to select one album at a time? (even if this is so, I'm sure there's a script to help me out.)
Yes, its smart enough to do multiple albums at a time. The only time you might have to re-analyze the volume for album volume would be if you had album values for, say 4 tracks out of a possible 11, then added some of the tracks that you didn't have into the library. At that point they all have to be reanalyzed for the correct album volume.
I want to get this right - since even if the MUSIC doesnt change, a tag changes in every file of every song I have.

Finally, is "album" defined by album name, or album name AND disc number (for multi-disc sets)?
On that I'm not sure. I would say album name and album artist only, if I had to guess.
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Seeker » Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:30 pm

Yes - I agree. I did volume analysis on all of disc 01 of a multi disc set and it only computed track, not album.

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by MMan » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:26 am

Just to clarify one point in this thread. Based upon the description below from the Monkey Help (see Red text), while MP3 may be the only format to formally use the "Replay Gain" coefficient to alter the volume of the track itself, it seems that Monkey can and does use a similar type of algorithm to adjust the volume when ripping, converting or syncing if "Volume Leveling" is "On". Therefore, if Volume Leveling is selected when ripping, converting or syncing in Monkey, the file will be permanently changed changed in the process to adjust the volume, not just for MP3s.

From Monkey Help > Basic Concepts:

Volume Leveling
When tracks are digitally encoded from different sources and using different encoders or encoder settings, they will invariably play back at different volumes on different players and devices. Several technologies have evolved to deal with this problem, and it's useful to understand them so that you use the approach that best meets your needs:

Replay Gain
This is the most standardized approach to volume leveling, providing a comprehensive approach for all audio formats without impacting audio fidelity. Replay Gain implementations use a multi-phase approach: first track volumes are analyzed and the resulting coefficient is saved to the track's tag (Track gain). Then after all tracks on an Album have been analyzed, a single coefficient is saved for all tracks on the album (Album gain). Then, during playback, the Album or Track gain tag is read and the player adjusts the volume up or down accordingly (Album gain is preferable for playing an entire Album and preserving the inter-track volume variances encoded in the original album, while Track gain is preferred for playing a playlist of tracks from various sources). This is an excellent approach for PC-based players, but is limited because many portable devices do not support Replay Gain tags, and thus when tracks are synced to a device, the volume will vary.

MediaMonkey supports Replay Gain analysis and playback (per Track and per Album via 'Analyze Volume' and 'Level Playback Volume').

Soundcheck
This is Apple's variation on Replay Gain. iTunes generates Soundcheck co-efficients which are used to level playback volume. The pros of Soundcheck are that it is recognized by iPod devices and thus volume is leveled even when playing on them without any loss in fidelity. The downside is that it is non-standard, and other Players do not recognize Soundcheck values.

MediaMonkey supports Soundcheck, converting Replay Gain and Soundcheck values on the fly as tracks are synced between a PC and iPod.

MP3 Gain
This is a variation on Replay Gain, the difference being that rather than saving the analysis co-efficient to a tag, the volume of the MP3 file is actually modified based on the analysis. The benefits of this approach are that like Replay Gain there is no loss in Audio Fidelity, and the resulting MP3 files can be played at level volumes on any MP3 player. The downside is that the approach is limited to MP3.

MediaMonkey supports MP3 Gain type volume leveling via the 'Level Volume' command, and can even do so on-the-fly when synching to a device.

Conversion
Whenever tracks are converted from one format to another, the level of the volume can be adjusted. This is useful when there's a need to convert formats, however, for anything else, this is not a desirable means of achieving level volumes since it results in loss of fidelity.

MediaMonkey supports conversion (including CD Ripping and burning) with volume leveling, and can do so on-the-fly when synching to a device.


Audio Normalization
This is an approach used by some Output or DSP plugins that adjust sound levels on the fly during playback to keep them within a defined range. It is generally not recommended as it can introduce audio artifacts.MMan

FEB
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by FEB » Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:45 pm

could someone tell me how to reverse this process, please? Say I've levelled, and don't like the results, how would I put it back to normal? Is it as simple as removing the data from the Levelling box in Track Properties?

Cheers

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Flumse » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:02 am

Hey

Sorry if I add redundant questions here, but I am not a techie, so much of the info here just made me dizzy :)

I have an Ipod shuffle, say I want to convert a bunch of files to vbr 190, that should do fine as for decent quality, some of them are FLAC some are mp3 (cbr 320+vbr 256), now I want the level of music to be as close to same level as possible so I dont have to adjust all the time, how would I go around that?

Is the approach different for FLAC and mp3 or is it same?

I dont mind if it alter the file permanently, afterall I still have the original files.

So basicly what I want to do is make sure all files on the Ipod have same soundlevel if possible.

Please be gentle and explain as if I was your 10 year old nephew or something.

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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by nohitter151 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:40 am

Flumse wrote:Hey

Sorry if I add redundant questions here, but I am not a techie, so much of the info here just made me dizzy :)

I have an Ipod shuffle, say I want to convert a bunch of files to vbr 190, that should do fine as for decent quality, some of them are FLAC some are mp3 (cbr 320+vbr 256), now I want the level of music to be as close to same level as possible so I dont have to adjust all the time, how would I go around that?

Is the approach different for FLAC and mp3 or is it same?

I dont mind if it alter the file permanently, afterall I still have the original files.

So basicly what I want to do is make sure all files on the Ipod have same soundlevel if possible.

Please be gentle and explain as if I was your 10 year old nephew or something.
Just use volume analysis on the tracks in your library (Tools | Analyze volume). When you sync MM will take care of the rest.
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by MMan » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:55 am

FEB wrote:could someone tell me how to reverse this process, please? Say I've levelled, and don't like the results, how would I put it back to normal? Is it as simple as removing the data from the Levelling box in Track Properties?

Cheers
If you used Volume Leveling during a rip or a conversion, there is no "going back" the files were altered in the process which is not reversible. You would have to re-rip or re-convert from the original source. However, if you used Analyze Volume, the easiest way to "reverse" the process is to uncheck "Level Playback Volume" under <Play> in the menu. While the values will still be in the DB, they will have no effect on playback. If you want to get rid of values from the DB, you could use Trixmoto's Clear Field script: http://trixmoto.net/mm/scripts.php?id=1. If using this script, just select the tracks for which you want to clear the value and then run the script with Leveling as the field name you want cleared. The "Leveling" field stores both the Album and Track leveling values.
Flumse wrote:Hey

Sorry if I add redundant questions here, but I am not a techie, so much of the info here just made me dizzy

I have an Ipod shuffle, say I want to convert a bunch of files to vbr 190, that should do fine as for decent quality, some of them are FLAC some are mp3 (cbr 320+vbr 256), now I want the level of music to be as close to same level as possible so I dont have to adjust all the time, how would I go around that?

Is the approach different for FLAC and mp3 or is it same?

I dont mind if it alter the file permanently, afterall I still have the original files.

So basicly what I want to do is make sure all files on the Ipod have same soundlevel if possible.

Please be gentle and explain as if I was your 10 year old nephew or something.
Well, there are times that I think that my 10 year old nephew is more computer literate than I am. Having said that, it's pretty easy to do what you want. If you are converting the files within Monkey to a new location using <Tools> <Convert audio format>, you just need to make sure that the "Level Track Volume" is checked in the lower left corner of the dialogue box. If you are converting the fles "on the fly" during the sync process with your Shuffle, you just need to make sure that in the <Tools> <Options> <Portable/Audio Devices> <Configure (your Shuffle)> <Auto-Conversion> tab you have the"Level volume when synchronizing" option checked.

As I think that you are aware, this will permanently alter the file. But in both case, as you have said, you will still have the original unaltered file.

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