Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

UHE is now closed. For Technical Support from Ableton, please go here: http://www.ableton.com/support
Locked
thamantra
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:48 am

Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by thamantra » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:44 am

Hey all,

Currently, my workflow consists of bouncing each track from my sessions Ableton and bringing up the bounced audio files in a logic session whenever I am tracking vocals. I like to turn "normalizing" on when I export each of the tracks so that I get a nice healthy waveform level (otherwise the bounced audio files' waveform when brought up in logic look very tiny and sometimes nonexistent even when the sum of the tracks is about -3dB to -6dB on the master channel in Ableton). In logic I remix the levels to the appropriate amplitude. Does anyone know if this is detrimental to my overall mix?

I understand that I can use ReWire, and I used to do that, but running both Logic and Ableton got to be a little to CPU intensive.

Thanks

jestermgee
Posts: 3846
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:38 am
Contact:

Re: Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by jestermgee » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:56 am

So you are exporting your individual track "stems" from a project to bring into Logic so you can record Vocals? Do you then do all the final mixing and FX processing and "mastering" in Logic from then on or do you take the vocal recording back to Ableton and then work your magic?

To me it seems something is wrong if your levels for each track stem are extremely low. If you were to Normalise each stem on output that would surely stuff up your mix and you would then have to re-mix the stems in Logic just to record vocals. Also, your elements will be all out of whack with the power they throw out since everything is pushed loud.

I don't do too much vocal recording at the moment but I prefer Cubase (don't own logic) because of the mixer and the fact I can see the recorded waverform AND mixer both in realtime and the fact Cubase does "takes" which can be done in Ableton with nested channels in groups anyway... but I digress.

If your aim is simply to do a vocal record session, you should only need a simple mixdown of the track. I would match the tempo and line up the music track so if a metronome was needed (which often it is if you have a song that doesn't have a continuous solid beat) it could be easily punched in. After I had the takes I wanted I would take them back to Ableton (or previously used DAW) and do what I wanted with them. Cubase (and probably logic/pro tools) is just quick and easy for doing live takes and mixing.

Samaritan Sound
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:41 pm

Re: Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by Samaritan Sound » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:52 am

In theory, normalizing causes a recalculation of the bits, and introduces an additional level of rounding - however minuscule that may be in Live. For that reason, some folks say to never ever normalize. My view is that normally you should have 6-15 dB of headroom on your master bus anyway. If non-normalized tracks sum up to that, then why screw with it.

Samaritan Sound
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:41 pm

Re: Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by Samaritan Sound » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:56 am

I'll also add that we don't mix waveforms, we mix sounds. Go by your ears. Also, when I record anything, either DI or with a Mic, I leave 3-6 dB of headroom (in 24 bit) to prevent overs. So if your exported tracks are peaking at -3 to -6 dB, that sounds about right.

thamantra
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:48 am

Re: Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by thamantra » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:27 am

Thanks guys.

Yea am basically exporting all of my tracks as stems (except my drum rack track, I ReWire those. I like having control of the drums) to logic for certain songs because I like tracking vocals more in logic than I do in ableton. Each of the individual tracks in ableton have a fair amount of processing on them but obviously there is no processing on ableton's master channel. I usually give myself anywhere from -4dB to -6dB of headroom on ableton's master channel before I bounce the individual tracks so I can do the rest of my mixing and mastering in logic. I also understand that normalizing is actually adding an extra step for me in logic because I have to ReMix all of the stems instead of just leaving all of the faders at unity. But, for some reason the puny waveforms just bother me. I may be doing something wrong, because I figure if all of my tracks are summing to -4dB to -6dB why are all the waveforms of the stems so puny in logic.

Anyone got any more feedback?

Thanks again.

rbmonosylabik
Posts: 2659
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:27 am

Re: Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by rbmonosylabik » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:56 am

Sounds like what you're normalizing for is pointless and even makes you work more, so I don't see why you need to do it other than to have big loud looking waveforms that you're going to end up turning back down anyway.

If you need the larger waveforms to edit in Logic, go ahead, though I'd rather look for a waveform zooming function in Logic. But for mixing, just turn the monitor off or hide Logic/Live and mix with your ears.

BTW, if you ever have someone else mix your music, DON'T send them normalized stems unless they specifically ask for them. It's like telling the mix engineer you have no idea what you want your music to sound like and that he should figure it out, and creates an annoying, unnecessary step of turning everything down and getting a rough balance before he can take a listen without blowing his speakers.
Image

MBP 2.3 GHz i5, Live 9.6.1, Push, MPD32, Rane SL2

thamantra
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:48 am

Re: Normalizing bounces detract from audio quality?

Post by thamantra » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:30 am

Fasho thanks alot man.

Locked