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Re: Digital Distortion

Subject: Re: Digital Distortion
From: Klas Strandberg <>
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 20:51:53 +0200
Yes, Evert, this is what is so confusing. On one hand it seems to be risky
to - for example - normalize a file. But on the other hand a company like
Steinberg can make a professional software, where you have to disable
normalizing manually! It doesn't make sense.
I'd rather wonder if there should come up a warning :"You are now going to
normalize the file. Are you sure you want to continue?"
Or?? How much damage is there?=20

I mean, an English recordist made a MiniDisc test. He made 12 analog (?)
generations before other birders could hear any change. That is at least
SOME measure of distortion. After such a test I have at least SOME idea of
what MD can and cannot.

I don't care much about this if I am going to make a MP3 file for the web.
But suppose I want to make a CD to send to someone, to show the top
performance of something?

Can I use the fantastic simplification it means just to burn it from my
already PC edited wav. files??

Or must I make an analog copy? With analog filtering? To get the best!

Computer based software is such a fantastic thing! It simplifies everything=
I love it!

But how good is it?
It is not a question, really, I just want to arouse the topic.


At 13:05 2003-06-29 -0000, you wrote:
>Hi, To answer both questions:
>Normalizing to 50% before you start to edit a file doesn't make much
>sense to me. If for instance the peak level is - 10 dB and the
>average value is -20 dB, and you are gonna normalize to 50 %, you
>will lower the level that much, that you are gonna loose enough bits
>to code the signal.
>If however you make sure that each file has about 10 or 12 dB
>headroom before editing, that would make sense to me ; now you can
>safely do edits and know that you have about 80 dB signal and about
>10 dB headroom.
>With some filter settings the total level of the sound is lowered (or
>raised) compared to the situation before the edit. In that case it
>could be that your filtered part has a different level compared to
>the unedit parts before and after your edit.
>[assuming that you selected a small part of a file]
>This is VERY audible ; thus unwanted. In that case the pre and post
>normalizing acts like a sort of auto-gain feature.
>[also at the same time, the edits are done with max bitwidth thus
>minimal artifacts]
>Same goes for compressors ; the actually limit the loud peaks, so the
>peaks are lowered, by choosing the auto-gain feature you make sure
>that the peak levels remain the same ; the RMS will be changed.
>Regards, Evert
>--- In  Klas Strandberg
><> wrote:
>> And what about programs which normalize automatically? Even twice?
>> At my WaveLab, there are squares to mark to enable or
>disable, "normalize
>> before" and "normalize after". If I don't remove the marks, the
>> will not only filter, but also normalize the file both before and
>after the
>> operation. Automatically.
>> WaveLab is made by Steinberg, which has (as far as I know) an
>> reputation.
>> How come they propose such a thing? One may very well think that
>> is a "safe" operation?
>> Klas.
>> >
>> >
>> >> I have an opinion on that: never normalize. Never. No need for
>it. At
>> >> the last stage of CD mastering, overall levels might be raised
>so the
>> >> loudest sounds are close to max or limited close to max, but
>> >> as far as you want to go. In intermediate steps, you need
>> >> for processing.
>> >>
>> >
>> >What about normalizing to 50%. I do this on all my recordings
>before I start
>> >to edit?. Am I making a mistake? I use CoolEdit.
>> >
>> >Thnaks,
>> >
>> >John
>> >John V. Moore Nature Recordings
>> >
>> >
>> Telinga Microphones, Botarbo,
>> S-748 96 Tobo, Sweden.
>> Phone & fax int + 295 310 01
>> email: 
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Telinga Microphones, Botarbo,
S-748 96 Tobo, Sweden.
Phone & fax int + 295 310 01


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