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Topic: "Normal" output level

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  1. #1

    "Normal" output level

    I hate to ask a dumb question, but I'm hoping the Garritan gurus and Audio authorities can answer this question. I sometimes record Finale files with Audacity. The recording levels are often very soft, so I amplify them. I ensure there's no clipping. But how does one know that a recording is at the "right" level? Thanks.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  2. #2

    Re: "Normal" output level

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    I hate to ask a dumb question, but I'm hoping the Garritan gurus and Audio authorities can answer this question. I sometimes record Finale files with Audacity. The recording levels are often very soft, so I amplify them. I ensure there's no clipping. But how does one know that a recording is at the "right" level? Thanks.

    i believe if you use the Normalize function it will raise your audio file's volume to it's max w/o clipping...

  3. #3

    Re: "Normal" output level

    To get the best sounding recording, you might want to look into why the levels are so low.

    If you are using the "Garritan Ambiance" reverb plug-in in Finale, check the settings. As I recall, the default is to have no dry signal (the sound of the unadulterated instruments), and a hefty level of the reverb signal (the sound of the ambient echo).

    The first thing I do when setting up a new Finale project is either (a) disable the "Garritan Ambiance" reverb plug-in (because I know I will use a different reverb tool later); or (b) re-adjust the dry/reverb levels so that the raw instrument sound dominates the mix.
    Best Regards,
    Ernie

  4. #4

    Re: "Normal" output level

    Hi Ernie. Thanks for your comments. I recognize you from the Finale forum, right?

    I do these things, too, including disabling ambience. But now I most often use Garritan Ambience when I set up a piece in Finale because I like the hall-like playback as I compose. In fact, I think it's pretty amazing. Sounds like I'm composing for instruments in the concert hall. I really like that effect.

    I've been using ambience settings in Concert Hall 1 of -0.1dB for the dry and about -13.2db for the wet. I've left the other settings alone. I should point out that I work mainly with concert band pieces now. I have read many times that Finale users set the dry to 6.0dB. I'll experiment again with that having heard your recommendation.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  5. #5

    Re: "Normal" output level

    Finale renderings are often too low, but not for Finale power users. There's a sound mixer to work with - I do believe?

    Users really do need to have dedicated audio editors, like Audacity. As soon as a .wav file is opened, you can see immediately when a file is too low. The displayed wave form should fill almost the entire vertical space. If it doesn't, then start using tools to bring the volume up.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: "Normal" output level

    I agree, Randy. When I use Audacity with Finale WAV files, I usually apply some kind of reverb and then amplify to -1 dB. Gives me just enough headroom.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  7. #7

    Re: "Normal" output level

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    I agree, Randy. When I use Audacity with Finale WAV files, I usually apply some kind of reverb and then amplify to -1 dB. Gives me just enough headroom.
    That's good, you're bringing things up to a good level. Applying reverb globally to an entire recording like that is OK, but you can get better recordings by varying the amounts of reverb per instrument or section.

    But Finale experts, such as we have here at the Forum, should be able to help you get a healthier rendering straight from Finale. I know the power users manage to get good volume straight from the program. Are you going in and working with Finale's mixer?

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: "Normal" output level

    No. Not working in Finale's mixer. You're opening a whole new world here for me. How would I know which instruments or sections need more or less reverb? Is this a balance thing that only one's ears can discern? And why would I selectively apply reverb and not to the overall score?
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  9. #9

    Re: "Normal" output level

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    No. Not working in Finale's mixer. You're opening a whole new world here for me. How would I know which instruments or sections need more or less reverb? Is this a balance thing that only one's ears can discern? And why would I selectively apply reverb and not to the overall score?
    Oh, Ok - It's a whole new thing to you. Well, mixing and all it entails, including the use of reverb, is of course a gigantic subject. And there are so many ways of working, contradictory opinions among experts - you know, the usual complicated mess - but it's an interesting topic that you can find tons of info about online and in books.

    I'll sketch in a brief answer to your question about reverb.

    --The theory is this, and while not everybody agrees with what to do with the theory, I'll also explain the most common way to use reverb.

    Reverberation is of course the result of sound waves bouncing off walls of a space. Our ears are cued in about the size and kind of venue by how those bounced sound waves sound.

    The farther things are from us, the more reverb we hear-- I mean in real life. There's more surface for the sound to bounce around on before the sound reaches our ears when something is farther away.

    Everything we hear in life has reverb - even close up things in small rooms. But indoors, in our homes, reverb is mostly not noticed because the walls are so close. But if we have a big entrance way, we may hear some sound bouncing around.

    Music played in a hall involves musicians sitting at different distances from us. The tympanist in the back is farthest away, and depending on how the band/orchestra is laid out, if there's a harp, that may be closest to us. Strings are closer than the brass. -

    SO - applying what we know about sound reverberating in venues in the real world, we can simulate concert halls most realistically by placing our virtual musicians not only left and right in the panorama, but also on a grid from front to back. After placing an instrument to one side of the stage, then we give it some amount of reverb. The other instruments will have more or less reverb depending on where those virtual instruments are meant to be in space.

    In an audio mixer - hardware and in DAW software, we have a reverb unit - and then the audio channel for each instrument and/or group has a Send knob. We turn that knob up to send more and more signal into the reverb. Having those knobs on the tracks set to different amounts is how we create the three dimensionality of our virtual performance space.

    And - something of the sort can be done in Finale. But I understand its mixer is very basic - and I think reverb has to be dealt with differently, directly in the reverb plugins with wet/dry sliders - I've never used Finale, I really don't have much idea.

    AND so forth. - Kinda like that.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: "Normal" output level

    Thank you, Randy. That makes sense. My place right now is to keep experimenting, learning, and asking questions.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

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