Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

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

Post by KetchupKid » Tue May 26, 2009 8:55 pm

I am frustrated :x with the whole volume leveling world. I have just spent over three hours reading about "db" levels as indicated in various MP3 apps, like MM and Goldwave, etc. I checked over 30 links from a general Google search - many are several years old; I checked the volume (no pun intended) of info at Wikipedia and I have done thorough searches in help files and online knowledgebases of MM. No one really seems to know how to explain db levels so an average college grad can understand.

Oft mentioned is the 89db 'standard' or 100% of digital sound capability without distortion. Goldwave editor uses these type references to MP3 files volume. MM simply shows +/- something and NO ONE at MM support seems to know what this means. What is, for example, the meaning of +1.5 db as it would apply to media standards using 89db as the current peak volume level?

If +1.5db means the track volume is that much OVER 100% (or 89db), then all my hundreds of tracks with a PLUS db analyzed track volume will likely be distorted. ?????? I think the reason no one mentions it in the thousands of volume-related forum messages is that no one really understands it.

Can anyone please just tell me how MM non-standard listing of track db volumes relates to the 89db type method of measuring MP3 tracks? It is very confusing at best. :-?

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

Post by nohitter151 » Tue May 26, 2009 9:22 pm

I could certainly be wrong, but I've always taken +1.5 dB to mean that the track is boosted up 1.5 decibels to get it to the 89 dB level.
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Lowlander
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Lowlander » Tue May 26, 2009 10:15 pm

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

Post by KetchupKid » Wed May 27, 2009 11:08 am

If that were the case, why not just show the actual db level (i.e. 89db or whatever)? So I think you are wrong. I don't really care how much MM adjusted a file to get it normalized, I just want to know what its actual db level is. How hard would that be? Also, look at the numerous files not having been MM-level-adjusted. Since no adjustment by MM was made, how do you explain +1.5db and so forth?

Why can't MM simply state what that column's data represents? Do MM techies ever monitor this forum? :o

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

Post by Lowlander » Wed May 27, 2009 11:16 am

I prefer that it lists the adjustment as it currently does, it's a lot easier to read that way. If tracks that haven't been analyzed by MediaMonkey have values it's because other programs have analyzed the tracks. The value is stored in the tags of the file so that other programs can read this value without having to analyze the track again.

PS. You're the first one to complain about the volume offset being shown instead of the actual volume level. So it's reasonable that nothing has been done about this as no other users have requested this.
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KetchupKid
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by KetchupKid » Wed May 27, 2009 2:05 pm

Thanks. I assume, then, that you are a MM tech.

If you are not a MM tech, then I still (politely) think you are wrong. It just doesn't make sense.

In either case, why can't MM provide that explanation somewhere in its help file? And I'd like to know if they base it on the current standard of 89db or the older one of 83db??

Whoever you are, you are providing appreciated help. Thanks.

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

Post by nohitter151 » Wed May 27, 2009 3:20 pm

KetchupKid wrote:If that were the case, why not just show the actual db level (i.e. 89db or whatever)?
... because then all tracks would display 89dB, and that information would not be helpful at all!
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KetchupKid
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by KetchupKid » Wed May 27, 2009 4:37 pm

It would be nice if all tracks were 89db. I am not being rude, but you are wrong about all this. I asked earlier if anyone knew whether or not any MM techs read this forum. Anyone know?

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

Post by ZvezdanD » Wed May 27, 2009 4:58 pm

KetchupKid wrote:I don't really care how much MM adjusted a file to get it normalized, I just want to know what its actual db level is.
I agree. This is one of reasons why I am using MP3Gain instead of MediaMonkey for Volume analyzing and leveling.
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Peke
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by Peke » Wed May 27, 2009 6:54 pm

I'm not sure what to answer, as an DJ I've used to understand +1.5db (Mixers do not have db control just Gain -10db -> +10db)but I Can also understand to see actual db value in column 87.5db (89db-1.5db) but that would confuse me a lot because I would not know if track will be played as 86db or normalized to 89db.

Althru I Agree that it would be nice that Column and Properties -> Details -> Leveling show both values something like "+1.5db (Actual 87.5db)" this is something to think about. Keep ideas coming see how other software show same value.
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rusty
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Re: Please explain the 'leveling' concept and its implications.

Post by rusty » Wed May 27, 2009 11:06 pm

ketchupkid,

I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way to display the information. Some users prefer like yourself prefer to see the absolute value, while others like me prefer to see the deviation from the 'norm'.

For a future version of MM, we could consider adding a DB column, and let the user decide what's better.

As far as documentation re volume leveling, there is documentation on it, (Playing Audio Tracks > Playing Audio Tracks at a level volume + the link on that page to Basic Concepts: Volume Leveling). I guess what you're saying is that the documentation isn't clear enough about what those values are??

-Rusty

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

Post by MMan » Thu May 28, 2009 7:23 am

I agree with Rusty that it is a matter of personal choice whether you show the absoute level as adjusted or just the suggested Replay Gain adjustment. I guess the question that begs to be answered is if you were to analyze half your collection with a target of 89db and the other half with a target of 83db, showing the delta from the 'norm' would be a problem because you have 2 different 'norms'.

I agree that there are many questions related to Monkey's inplementation of Replay Gain which aren't fully discussed in the documentation. Don't get me wrong, I love Monkey and I can appreciate that a lot of time goes into it's ongoing development and keeping documentation current is always a pain in the ass. I also appreciate that you can't provide details on everything in the documentation.

Here's a post that raised several questions that never got answered:

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... &sk=t&sd=a

I am assuming that ketchupkid read this thread and has gone to the same sources I did to try to figure out some details on volume leveling. If not and for those that haven't it may be an interesting read.

Besides the questions raised in that thread, I can't find any information on what the "Clipping Prevention" check box in the Volume Leveling Options does. Does this prevent clipping when determining the Replay Gain Adjustment or does it prevent clipping on playback when Volume Leveling on Playback is selected? Is this effectively the "Hard Limiting" discussed in the Replay Gain documentation where the peak level for a track is stored in the header and then if Hard Limiting/Clipping Prevention is selected the Replay Gain Adjustemnt is further adjusted so that there is no clipping of the peak level?

As suggested in the other thread, I think that it would be really cool if there was a way to show what tracks would result in clipping if volume levling was applied on play back. I understand that that would likely be dependent on the target play back level relative to the target level used to analyze the tracks and whether you were using Album Leveling vs. Track Leveling (btw, I assume that these are analagous to the concepts of Radio and Audiophile in the Replay Gain discussion). But if there were a way to show if clipping were to occur for the tracks based upon the current settings, that would be really helpful in playing with the settings, both the vloume analyzing and target play back.

Lastly to ketchuplid's question related to whether the volume analysis uses the old standard of 83db or the 'new' standard of 89db, I assume that that depends on the target level set in the options. Is that correct?

Any details on these points would be helpful, also any feed back about the clipping ideas would be helpful. If people think it would be helpful, I would try to get it added to the wishlist.

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

Post by KetchupKid » Thu May 28, 2009 3:39 pm

Thank you, Rusty. It would be nice to have the option, as you suggest, to show one or the other (or both) method of displaying a track volume level.

Like MMan reiterated, what standard does MM use to determine a + or - db level?

Also, it would have helped some if the column header said something like "Vol. DB Variation" rather than "Track Volume", which is not technically correct, or at best is a little misleading.

Don't get me wrong, I have used MM Gold for over a couple years and I wouldn't want any other ... it is great. My main regret is that I can't use the star rating system for my library because before long, some glitch or other wipes them all out. I only have just under 3000 MP3s (after a lot of whittling) but I have lost my patience with trying to set all my ratings back ever so often. I really wanted to use that feature but as it is too unstable, I go without.

Sorry I took advantage of you, Rusty, but since you're one of the founders of MM, I had to take advantage with the additional remark. :P

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

Post by dypsis » Thu May 28, 2009 3:46 pm

nohitter151 wrote:
Seeker wrote: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.
So how does it level the volume then if the volume is preserved? :-?

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

Post by nohitter151 » Thu May 28, 2009 7:03 pm

dypsis wrote:
nohitter151 wrote:
Seeker wrote: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.
So how does it level the volume then if the volume is preserved? :-?
Because all of the tracks on an album have the same volume level.
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