Old 08-10-2019, 06:55 AM   #1
SongsbySteve
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Default Track import volume

I couldn't find this on a search of this forum.


I drag and drop a wav or mp3 into a new track. It reflects an initial volume/meter level.

Is there a way to adjust the input level so that I have more room to increase the volume while creating a song?


I guess what I'm saying is ... how do I get my mp3/wav track imported with a louder audio but lower meter level, giving me more room to adjust it?

Man I hope this makes sense.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:22 AM   #2
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Man I hope this makes sense.
Not really, sorry. (Not to me anyway
The meter displays the loudness of the track(s). Obviously you can turn the track(s) down, but the meter would reflect this.

What exactly are you looking to have "more room to adjust"? The meter doesn't have any effect on sound quality, so it doesn't really matter what it shows (other than a guide etc)
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:32 AM   #3
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I'll try to explain.

I important an mp3 instrumental to track 1.

Say my volume slider for that track is at half when I import. But when I play it the yellow meter shows the sound level up around 75%.

So I only have 25% left on the meter before it turns red and clips.

I'm wanting to import the mp3 so the sound so I have more room on the meter before it clips??

Is that any clearer?
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:46 AM   #4
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I guess what I'm saying is ... how do I get my mp3/wav track imported with a louder audio but lower meter level, ?

Man I hope this makes sense.
No....makes no sense. Quieter audio = lower meter level.

you can turn down clip gain and then you'll have more room to move the fader up before clipping but the volume level is going to be the same.
I guess what you need to learn about is compression and limiting. Processing a track to make it louder without clipping.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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Ok. Thanks

So what I'm gathering,

There is no way to import at a lower initial volume to Reaper.

I'll look at the track gain.

Got it.
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:02 AM   #6
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if you want more travel on the track fader before peaking you can turn the item down (grab the top of the item and drag it down is one way to do this)
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Old 08-10-2019, 10:55 AM   #7
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if you want more travel on the track fader before peaking you can turn the item down (grab the top of the item and drag it down is one way to do this)
Thanks Domzy. I tried that. I set the slider at 50% Grabbed the item from the top of the track, pulled it down below the halfway point, when I played it the volume was way down, but the slider would only let me increase the volume back up to my original top limit, not any higher. Thanks though.

I believe that I'm locked in to whatever the volume of the original source of the track was.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:48 PM   #8
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Thanks Domzy. I tried that. I set the slider at 50% Grabbed the item from the top of the track, pulled it down below the halfway point, when I played it the volume was way down, but the slider would only let me increase the volume back up to my original top limit, not any higher. Thanks though.

I believe that I'm locked in to whatever the volume of the original source of the track was.
sorry, i still don't understand what you're trying to do - above you say you're trying to make the volume higher, whereas in post 5 you said you wanted it lower?
Whenever you hit 0dB your meter will turn red, regardless of where the fader is, ie whether you have boosted the gain of the item, the track or if the item is already "loud", as long as the track is seeing 0dB the meter will go red. Is this the behaviour you are looking to change?

Last edited by domzy; 08-10-2019 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 08-10-2019, 12:53 PM   #9
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sorry, i still don't understand what you're trying to do - above you say you're trying to make the volume higher, whereas in post 5 you said you wanted it lower?
Yeah. I'm not doing very well 'splainin myself :-)
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:54 PM   #10
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Default another way to think about it

Hi,
-Another way to think about this is related to what it is you are importing.
Let's say its a guitar track that was recorded with a mic. If it was recorded at a low level, with a poor signal to noise ratio, there is nothing you can do to change that in reaper.

-When you import it into reaper,it will sound lower than other tracks that were recorded at a higher level/used more of the headroom that was available during recording.

-You can increase the gain in reaper with item/clip gain or with a gain plugin before the fader to make the fader operate in the range you want (there is an advantage to this in that the fader is easier to adjust in small increments near the higher end of the fader), or to gain stage/match it to the other tracks to make leveling easier.

-It less of an issues these days with 24 bit recording, but if the sound was recorded at a very low level, cranking up the gain large amounts may raise the noise floor to noticeable or problematic levels. (Using a compressor or limiter, while not the same as increasing the gain, could also make the noise more apparent as they do raise up the quieter parts of the signal in relation to the louder part of the signal).

-If you are not familiar with gain staging, you may want to read about that a bit. Basically it means managing the gain at each stage in the signal path so that things are not clipping. Certain plugins(eg,analong modeling) that are designed to operate best with a certain input level will not sound as intended if not fed the correct level. Otherwise, though,many on this forum have stated that clipping within reaper is not an issued due to the nearly infinite headroom of the internal processing of reaper, as long as it is not clipping on the master. So they claim you can just turn down the gain at the end of the signal path (a gain plugin on the master track for example) and be just fine. If you don't hear any distortion or crackling and the master is not clipping you are good to go. If it sounds good, it is good, as they say.

- I personally try to gain stage by turning everything down to -18 or so when I start to mix, and try to keep it somewhat consistent as I mix, so that when I use modeling plugins, I am at the approximately correct level, plus all the red clip lights freak me out!, but according to what Ive been told, the master not clipping is the main concern.

-Have fun with reaper!
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:47 PM   #11
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Hi,
-Another way to think about this is related to what it is you are importing.
Let's say its a guitar track that was recorded with a mic. If it was recorded at a low level, with a poor signal to noise ratio, there is nothing you can do to change that in reaper.

-When you import it into reaper,it will sound lower than other tracks that were recorded at a higher level/used more of the headroom that was available during recording.

-You can increase the gain in reaper with item/clip gain or with a gain plugin before the fader to make the fader operate in the range you want (there is an advantage to this in that the fader is easier to adjust in small increments near the higher end of the fader), or to gain stage/match it to the other tracks to make leveling easier.

-It less of an issues these days with 24 bit recording, but if the sound was recorded at a very low level, cranking up the gain large amounts may raise the noise floor to noticeable or problematic levels. (Using a compressor or limiter, while not the same as increasing the gain, could also make the noise more apparent as they do raise up the quieter parts of the signal in relation to the louder part of the signal).

-If you are not familiar with gain staging, you may want to read about that a bit. Basically it means managing the gain at each stage in the signal path so that things are not clipping. Certain plugins(eg,analong modeling) that are designed to operate best with a certain input level will not sound as intended if not fed the correct level. Otherwise, though,many on this forum have stated that clipping within reaper is not an issued due to the nearly infinite headroom of the internal processing of reaper, as long as it is not clipping on the master. So they claim you can just turn down the gain at the end of the signal path (a gain plugin on the master track for example) and be just fine. If you don't hear any distortion or crackling and the master is not clipping you are good to go. If it sounds good, it is good, as they say.

- I personally try to gain stage by turning everything down to -18 or so when I start to mix, and try to keep it somewhat consistent as I mix, so that when I use modeling plugins, I am at the approximately correct level, plus all the red clip lights freak me out!, but according to what Ive been told, the master not clipping is the main concern.

-Have fun with reaper!
Thanks Johnnymusic. I think that's what I need to do.
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Old 08-19-2019, 04:02 AM   #12
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Man I hope this makes sense.

LOL. I thought I was the king of confusing. :-)


I take it you don't want to apply any compression to make it sound louder but just need to master the mixdown so it all evens out? :-)


I know the volume controls are confusing because they work in dB and when you want to think in terms of half volume, which I fully understand, it doesn't think that way. I mean, 0 is full volume, who thought up that conundrum? Looks backwards. Looking through the reaper guide I can't even see a way to view or set it as a percentage or other reference point.


I'm wonder what your intentions are here. You have an instrumental track. So are you are adding vocals and any other instruments on top?


Apart from looking at the meters you can add FX on a track like JS: Audio Statistics and it will display levels in real time as the track plays. You can then use this a gauge to how loud your track is. Oops I punned it. :-)


One way around it is to adjust the master volume down till it's under 0dB but each track should be adjusted alone so they all balance out when mixed.


Or, the most obvious thing to do is to drag the track volumes down to half if mixing two tracks, then crank up the volume knob on your stereo so it sounds louder! :-P
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Old 08-19-2019, 05:52 AM   #13
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LOL. I thought I was the king of confusing. :-)


I take it you don't want to apply any compression to make it sound louder but just need to master the mixdown so it all evens out? :-)


I know the volume controls are confusing because they work in dB and when you want to think in terms of half volume, which I fully understand, it doesn't think that way. I mean, 0 is full volume, who thought up that conundrum? Looks backwards. Looking through the reaper guide I can't even see a way to view or set it as a percentage or other reference point.


I'm wonder what your intentions are here. You have an instrumental track. So are you are adding vocals and any other instruments on top?


Apart from looking at the meters you can add FX on a track like JS: Audio Statistics and it will display levels in real time as the track plays. You can then use this a gauge to how loud your track is. Oops I punned it. :-)


One way around it is to adjust the master volume down till it's under 0dB but each track should be adjusted alone so they all balance out when mixed.


Or, the most obvious thing to do is to drag the track volumes down to half if mixing two tracks, then crank up the volume knob on your stereo so it sounds louder! :-P
Thanks Hypex. My current projects are simply a professionally created backing track wav file and my home recorded vocals. Not complicated mixes.

I think gain staging has probably solved my current problems. I'm still learning lots and everyone here has been super helpful.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:14 AM   #14
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Hi,
Just to clarify/avoid confusion,
compression doesn't make anything "louder", unless makeup gain is applied afterward.It actually turns down the part of the signal that is over the threshold. It alters the dynamics. A common use is to compress the initial transient of a sound so that it is not so much louder than the body of the sound, like on a drum hit. With the signal more "even" or "consistent" in volume it seems more present because the more sustained body of the sound is louder in relation to the transient, and will sit in the mix better and not dissappear or pop out too much as a result. Often make up gain is needed to balance the track back out with the other tracks.
Most plugin limiters work differently and typically have a threshold control that raises the gain of the signal above the threshold toward the fixed output ceiling and limits it from going over the ceiling as the threshold is lowered, or they have input gain that does the same thing.
Happy Mixing!
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:44 AM   #15
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Thanks Hypex. My current projects are simply a professionally created backing track wav file and my home recorded vocals. Not complicated mixes.

I think gain staging has probably solved my current problems. I'm still learning lots and everyone here has been super helpful.

Ah yes I actually found you other thread with some more info. I've found the forum here to have quite a good bunch which helps.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:52 AM   #16
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Hi,
Just to clarify/avoid confusion,
compression doesn't make anything "louder", unless makeup gain is applied afterward.It actually turns down the part of the signal that is over the threshold. It alters the dynamics.

I've seen the term compression applied a lot when talking about increasing the loudness of a sound, which always seemed strange to me. Because in general any type of compression would compress down. A classic example would be compression on computers to reduce data size.


Logically, if a sound signal was increased to be louder, it would be expansion.


Thanks for your explanation which actually makes more sense with a term like compression.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:59 AM   #17
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I've seen the term compression applied a lot when talking about increasing the loudness of a sound, which always seemed strange to me. Because in general any type of compression would compress down. A classic example would be compression on computers to reduce data size.


Logically, if a sound signal was increased to be louder, it would be expansion.


Thanks for your explanation which actually makes more sense with a term like compression.
Yes compression in its most common form, decreases gain, and expansion that turns the sound up after it goes over the threshold would be called upward expansion, downward expansion would be the opposite and is most commonly called a gate.

Somewhat rare , but it does exist is upward compression, which turns up the volume of the signal that falls below a certain threshold. As you may imagine, that would turn up noise in gaps in audio if not set right... not very useful. A similar effect can be had with parallel compression, because it blends in a compressed signal (has the relatively quite bits louder) with the original so it brings up the lower level bits while retaining the transient attack of the original. Parallel compression can really fill out a sound and is used a lot.

If you are going be using these tools, search the net and read different explanations of what they do. It will given you much better grasp of how and when to use the tools effectively. Have fun!
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Old 08-29-2019, 08:58 PM   #18
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If you are going be using these tools, search the net and read different explanations of what they do. It will given you much better grasp of how and when to use the tools effectively. Have fun!

Cheers! I have a friend who likes to do his own rap music. So he got a small bunch of people to do a verse each. He said I was only one he didn't need to do compression with. I don't exactly know what parameters he was using for compression, but I took it to mean my recorded vocals must have been fairly even in amplitude so didn't need much moderating. :-)
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