"Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

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Varder
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:18 am

"Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Varder » Wed Sep 25, 2019 5:41 pm

This case is about audio files which have a negative (volume?) in db. I have got many music files on my computer which have got this negative levelling by default, I haven't tweaked with them in any way. For some reason many albums released in 2007-2008 have the tendency to have the volume level somewhere between -9.0 db to even up to -12.0 db. This is not limited to albums released in these two years only though.

You can see the volume level of a track under the "Track Volume" column. I can remove the negative db in there (simply double click on the volume field and bacskspace) and then the file plays at a neutral db and sounds normal, however if I analyze volume (option in MM) or I copy the file and paste somewhere else then the volume level comes back to a negative. It must be encrypted in the file somehow.

I remember that in the past I used to get rid of this in Audacity somehow but I cannot find the option now. The "Normalize" option or "Amplify" does not work this way. Please help me with this as I have been in pursuit of fixing this for over two weeks now and tried different programs - mp3DirectCut, mp3Gain, etc. Quite desparate.

The downside to using Audacity would be that it also deletes my additional custom tags and covers on my music files so if you know some other trick to fix the volume of tracks then please share it with me.

I have tried the "Level Track Volume" option in MM but what it does is just sets the volume at a weird positive volume level, e.g. (+0.3) and the song still sounds like it is at -12.0 db.

HumanJHawkins
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:23 pm

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by HumanJHawkins » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:19 pm

I believe this is working as intended, and is the result of the volume getting analyzed*. Leveling a track to 98db for example, means using some criteria to determine the neutral volume of that track. Then either adding or subtracting from that neutral value by whatever is needed to achieve 98db.

If your tracks have a high record level, normalization will give you a negative db. If the record level is low, it will be positive.

The intent is that songs all get played back at about the same volume level. Of course, that is really difficult to consistently achieve, and it may not actually be working. (Meaning, your not very loud song may be getting analyzed as loud, producing a bad result.)

* I'm not sure why copying the file would trigger this. Maybe that's a bug? But analyzing the volume is exactly intended to do this.

Anyway, this should only impact playback if you have the playback option checked to "Level Volume". Otherwise this becomes unused metadata.

Lowlander
Posts: 46185
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Lowlander » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:06 am

Negative is normal and a function of your dB value set in the option (89dB is the default). The fact that removing it in MediaMonkey doesn't remove it from the file may be a know fact.

To be certain though, make sure you don't have the option to automatically analyze for unknown values enabled in the Options.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

Pathduck
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:26 am

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Pathduck » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:32 am

Lowlander wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:06 am
The fact that removing it in MediaMonkey doesn't remove it from the file may be a know fact.
This is exactly what I posted about the other day as well. Actually it *does* remove it from the tag (as shown in other applications), but the database is not updated accordingly. If you move the files out of the library and then back the levelling is back. Has it been reported as a bug?

@Varder: Don't use Audacity for this, for one thing it takes for ever, and if re-encoding to MP3 you will lose quality.
MP3Gain is getting old and for me it no longer works on Win10. Here's a good alternative: https://sourceforge.net/projects/wxmp3gain/

Lowlander
Posts: 46185
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Lowlander » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:06 am

Pathduck wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:32 am
f you move the files out of the library and then back the levelling is back. Has it been reported as a bug?
Sounds like it still is in the tag.

If you copy a file in File Explorer after removing the Track Volume does it show Track Volume after scanning it in MediaMonkey?
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

Pathduck
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:26 am

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Pathduck » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:18 am

Lowlander wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:06 am
If you copy a file in File Explorer after removing the Track Volume does it show Track Volume after scanning it in MediaMonkey?
Yes - If I erase track volume in MM, and then copy the file out of the MM library and look at it in the My Computer node, it will shot Track Volume as set.

Examine the same file in another app, like EZ-CD Converter, it will show "Track gain" as not set.

So to reproduce:
1. Remove Track Volume in MM, either with script or manually.
2. Track Volume will be shown as unset in MM.
2. Copy same files(s) outside MM library
3. Examine files(s) in MM My Computer node - Track Volume will be set.
4. Examine files(s) in third-party application - Track Volume (gain) will be unset.

It's a strange one. And you may ask: *Why* copy files out of Library? Well I usually do organising on newly downloaded albums outside the library, including removing volume levelling if there, then after that copy files into MM.

Lowlander
Posts: 46185
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Lowlander » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:35 am

That means the value was only removed from the database and the problem (bug) is that MediaMonkey doesn't remove volume from tag when removing it in MediaMonkey (this was an issue with other fields as well). Other applications may be looking at a different volume tag.
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

Lowlander
Posts: 46185
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 5:53 pm
Location: MediaMonkey 5

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Lowlander » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:11 pm

My results are different. For FLAC MediaInfo and MediaMonkey show no value after removing Track Volume in MediaMonkey.

For MP3 MediaInfo shows a different value, but MediaMonkey shows none (neither original nor copy on rescanning).
Lowlander (MediaMonkey user since 2003)

Pathduck
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:26 am

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Pathduck » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:44 pm

Thanks for looking into it Lowlander. It's a strange one, and I think it's somehow related to what Varder sees as well as what I encounter from time to time.

Thanks for the tip of using Mediainfo; I've been using ffprobe which is a bit more work.

I think it's mostly related to files *outside* the library. If files stay inside library, I think it wouldn't matter much as the values are retrieved from the DB not the file.

Another example: I have a track outside the library with levelling. FFprobe shows:

Code: Select all

$ ffprobe 02\ Hit\ and\ Run.mp3 2>&1 | grep gain
    replaygain_track_gain: -9.50 dB
      replaygain: track gain - -9.500000, track peak - unknown, album gain - unknown, album peak - unknown,
I delete the Track Volume value in MM. File is updated, timestamp is updated and MM shows Track Value as blank. FFprobe shows updated value, replaygain_track_gain is gone :

Code: Select all

$ ffprobe 02\ Hit\ and\ Run.mp3 2>&1 | grep gain
      replaygain: track gain - -9.500000, track peak - unknown, album gain - unknown, album peak - unknown,
But there's still a value for replaygain, this is under the "Side data" value from FFprobe, so not sure what that means.

Then going back and reloading the folder in MM it shows the Track Volume is back as -9.5 dB...

I wonder if MM uses the "Side data" value to show gain, but it does not remove this when editing the tag? It's confusing... :-?

EDIT: I checked with FLAC as well. Removing both Track and Album Volume (with script since Album Volume can't be edited directly), will also remove the "Side data" leaving only: "REPLAYGAIN_ALBUM_PEAK: 0.986908"

Pathduck
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:26 am

Re: "Normalizing" track volumes - negative db

Post by Pathduck » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:57 am

Sorry to dig this up again, just got no reply and wondering if it will have been reported as a bug or not?

What I mean is that it looks like MM is not deleting the "side data" values when removing volume data, and then uses it again to calculate the gain values on a file refresh.

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