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Stems very low volume--Normalize?
Old 2 days ago
  #1
Lives for gear
 
ponzi's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Stems very low volume--Normalize?

Ok, received some stems where the vocals were recorded pretty low--as a percent of usable dynamic range on the track. In cubase, but have studio 1 as well. In the mixer I can add maybe 6db of gain, but that is not enough. I can lower volume of other tracks and make up gain on the output channel, but seems a bit unsatisfactory.

I am wondering if it would be best to simply normalize the audio. I understand it amplifies the noize floor, so wondering what other options there may be in this sort of situation. I will put compressor on the track as well, but again it seems like some pretty wide DB make up gain to make the vocal sit in the mix with other things recorded in a way that uses more of the available dynamic range.

What do folks normally do in this situation?
Old 2 days ago
  #2
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Doesn't really matter how you increase the level you're going to bring the noise floor up along with it. I'd use clip gain in Cubase (even volume or whatever it's called) and then input trim, maybe if I use a compressor regardless set it so I like it and then increase gain there as well, and if that doesn't suffice then 'yes', normalize the file.
Old 2 days ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Were the stems recorded low or was the take recorded low in the first instance .
If it was the stem that was recorded low then request they up the volume when they make another Stem of it.

Pounamu
Old 2 days ago
  #4
Stems should all be set such that mixing them at unity gain reproduces the original mix. That's why you'll often see tracks in stems that are quiet - they were mixed as low level or background tracks in the mix the stems were derived from. Send effect stems can also be low level frequently if present.

But, technically speaking, it doesn't matter now what you do or use to increase the gain digitally. The relative S/N won't be made better nor worse and internal processing on most DAWs won't even clip thanks to 32 float engines. So, normalise is fine. Digital gain plugins are fine. Gain knobs on your virtual mixer channel strips are fine. Anything works.
Old 2 days ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambiguous signal ➑️
Stems should all be set such that mixing them at unity gain reproduces the original mix. That's why you'll often see tracks in stems that are quiet - they were mixed as low level or background tracks in the mix the stems were derived from. Send effect stems can also be low level frequently if present.
I think music people these days, for the past 5-10 years or so, have used the word "stems" very liberally and poorly, generally speaking. So while I agree with you there's no telling if that's what people did in this case.
Old 20 hours ago
  #6
Gear Nut
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Why don't you reply to the source and get them to re record the vocal?
Simple enough they can only say yes or no.
If you think it will up the quality of the audio hen let them know it.

Pounamu
Old 14 hours ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
ponzi's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for the suggestions--I learned a few good things. There is no option to get anything re-recorded. I will use a combination of compression and volume automation to get the levels where I want them--and watch videos and read. This is fairly close to my first effort at mixing someone else's music, and its not very important to anyone, so mostly a chance for me to do some hands-on learning. I also just upgraded my izotope producer's pack and have the latest rx program, so I can run the stuff through the 60 cycle hum and noise remover functions--see how that turns out.
Old 13 hours ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Hope it turns out well for you ponzi

Pounamu
Old 13 hours ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You can grab the top of any clip in Cubase and adjust the Clip Volume. Just drag up and it increases the volume. You have 24 dB of gain there.

You can select all the stems, grab the top edge of one of them and drag up and they will all increase in volume together.

Alistair
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