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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:46 am 
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T.Mac. wrote:
If I remember correctly in the link in 60`s guy`s first post, it said that when there are tracks that have been recorded at a higher level it is harder to make them blend together or maybe I read it elsewhere, all I know is that like 60`s guy I`ve tried it and it makes it so much easier to get a good solid mix.

Having enough headroom on every track makes mixing easier.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:52 am 
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Byron wrote:
For me this has been a very useful discussion.

I agree, Byron!

This digital stuff can drive you crazy! lol

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:27 am 
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60's guy wrote:
T.Mac. wrote:
If I remember correctly in the link in 60`s guy`s first post, it said that when there are tracks that have been recorded at a higher level it is harder to make them blend together or maybe I read it elsewhere, all I know is that like 60`s guy I`ve tried it and it makes it so much easier to get a good solid mix.

Having enough headroom on every track makes mixing easier.

Track summing specifically.

If you record a song (or songs) to send to a mastering engineer and they are all at -3dB......you are NOT giving the mastering engineer enough headroom to work with.

Granted.....not any of us here has ever employed a mastering engineer (no one that I know of), but think about it this way.....every post processing (EQ, Reverb etc)......track by track....or by stereo track can have an additive dB boost to the final individual track or stereo track. Headroom can get eaten up very quickly with post processing.

I probably should just shut the hell up, go away, and finish recording the project that I began a few months ago. :idea:

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:50 am 
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60's guy wrote:
60's guy wrote:

I probably should just shut the hell up, go away, and finish recording the project that I began a few months ago. :idea:



=D> :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:24 am 
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Yes, by all means finish the project.

I agree, mixes with lots of head room on the tracks are easier to mix together.

realizing that the chain is analogue right up to the A/D converter is a good thing to keep in mind as you learn about your gear's sonic characteristics so as to best find and utilize optimum gain settings for the circuitry. I have a few individual tracks from my very earliest efforts that just sound "better" than other tracks played by the same player, on the same instrument, with the same mics. The difference comes from gear/gain choices and mic placement. Happy accidents back then, but they informed as to what is attainable. But it is not always easy to find the "sweet spot".

Once, while assisting an experienced recordist of choral music, I had a discussion with him about relative humidity. --> Humid air transfers sound energydifferently than dry air. so many variables!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:46 am 
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RZ wrote:
60's guy wrote:
60's guy wrote:

I probably should just shut the hell up, go away, and finish recording the project that I began a few months ago. :idea:



=D> :wink:

I appreciate the applause.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:33 am 
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Could all of this explain why the.onboard preamps get a bum rap I wonder ?

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:24 am 
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Oscar wrote:
Could all of this explain why the.onboard preamps get a bum rap I wonder ?


Interesting point Oscar, I have read a few times that the quality of the pre-amps are not really up to scratch, having said that I have never used them as I use a Focusrite Twintrak.

T.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:27 am 
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60's guy wrote:
RZ wrote:
60's guy wrote:
60's guy wrote:

I probably should just shut the hell up, go away, and finish recording the project that I began a few months ago. :idea:



=D> :wink:

I appreciate the applause.


No you should`nt, your initial post as far as I`m concerned was spot on.
To raise these things will help people who join the forum looking for advice in the future.

T.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:28 pm 
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[/quote]

If you record a song (or songs) to send to a mastering engineer and they are all at -3dB......you are NOT giving the mastering engineer enough headroom to work with.

Granted.....not any of us here has ever employed a mastering engineer (no one that I know of), .... [/quote]

[/quote]
If you record a song (or songs) to send to a mastering engineer and they are all at -3dB......you are NOT giving the mastering engineer enough headroom to work with.

Granted.....not any of us here has ever employed a mastering engineer (no one that I know of),[/quote]

I did send a record to a mastering studio once ( 13 mixes). the instruction was to have -3 dB headroom. We had not been planning to make a product out of the songs, so they were all mixed "hot" in the first place ( on a 1600 ), for personal use . I had no access to nor knowledge of how to utilize brickwall limiting for the tracks in the mix or on the stereo bus, track levels were pushing the top with some spikes, as i said - the original mixes were not brickwalled but I did have some compression working on the stereo bus. It had taken me a long time to get them sounding "right" (for me). this was the first part of my "working" learning curve after i had learned how to operate the controls, read about compression and scoured the internet for help ( i was not a member here yet).

Because of one song, we had been offered some financial assistance by a business corporation to make an album dedicated to a worker (friend/relative) who had lost his life on the job. So we wanted to do a good job.

I took all the original mixes and spent hours ++ moving everything down (faders, sends, adjusting compression thresholds etc.) and got those mixes working with stereo bus peaks about -3, some of those annoying spikes still existed, but fewer. to be honest i think i left some (gentle) compression on some of the mixes i sent.

Then I spent one long day sitting in the second chair in the Mastering House (Silverbirch Productions - Toronto Ont.). There were some useful things done to those mixes - ( some spot compression on a couple of important lyrical phrases, leveling overall RMS values - by ear, not numbers), ordering , manipulating gaps, CD text etc.) .. The digital mixes were first run through a vintage 1 inch tape machine and that signal entered a digital suite where a bit of EQ setting was applied to a few sections, It went from there to a K- processor (a proprietary piece of digital gear that Bob Katz developed I think) - from there it went into a vintage tube stereo compressor ( one of 3 in his rack) and finally to a digital limiter, piece of hardware (brand ???)

End result - the mixes were, for most intents and purposes, right back to where i had them before many , many hours of readjustment. If I put them side by side the volumes were not greatly increased, the overall tone was as i had submitted them. We left with a record I am still proud of 7 years later. i just got a complement on it "listenability" on New Year's Day. While the whole process contributed to the final product, the mastering piece was not a "holy cow - what did you do to get it to sound like that?"

Knowing what i do know now, if i were setting out to make a record that i intended to have someone else master, i would do as 60s guy suggests and leave even more headroom than the -3 i worked so hard to achieve. I would more easilyachieve this by tracking at somewhat lower levels. With the gear/track counts i have i would probably stick to 16 bit still. I would not hesitate to use some brickwall limiting on individual tracks to control those spikes, I would avoid even the little bit of overall compression i left on a couple of the stereo mixes .... etc. etc.

I did learn through all this that it is possible to make mixes with "sufficient" volume on the AW as a standalone DAW. But, i would approach the path to the end goal in a more controlled fashion.

I do believe that Ralph (Hogtime) had a similar experience with some mastering on a project he created a few years back.

Was the expenditure worth it? In our case yes - some else paid and i got some guidance and experience from a seasoned pro who has many credits to his name for both indie and commercial artists. so I did benefit greatly. the project had a polished sound and look, as the same production house guided us through artwork, proof and printing, they brokered the reproduction, advised on obtaining license for the 3 cover tunes on the disc. I even left the project with a surplus Yamaha sub he had in the studio before he'd upgraded. All this - including 2000 copies of the disc - came to us for about the $5000 we had been advanced by the sponsor.

Is mastering "magic"? - definitely not - If good mixes are presented, there is little to do as far as toning. Volumes will need to be boosted for the final product if you are faithful to controlling tracking and mixing levels. but it is entirely possible to do this to a completely acceptable standard in the home studio. Witness Mac's songs as proof!!

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:31 pm 
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60's guy wrote:

If you record a song (or songs) to send to a mastering engineer and they are all at -3dB......you are NOT giving the mastering engineer enough headroom to work with.

Granted.....not any of us here has ever employed a mastering engineer (no one that I know of), but think about it this way.....every post processing (EQ, Reverb etc)......track by track....or by stereo track can have an additive dB boost to the final individual track or stereo track. Headroom can get eaten up very quickly with post processing.




I did send a record to a mastering studio once ( 13 mixes). the instruction from him was to have was to have at least -3 dB headroom. We had not been planning to make a product out of the songs, so they were all mixed "hot" in the first place ( on a 1600 ), for personal use . I had no access to nor knowledge of how to utilize brickwall limiting for the tracks in the mix or on the stereo bus, track levels were pushing the top with some spikes, as i said - the original mixes were not brickwalled but I did have some compression working on the stereo bus. It had taken me a long time to get them sounding "right" (for me). this was the first part of my "working" learning curve after i had learned how to operate the controls, read about compression and scoured the internet for help ( i was not a member here yet).

Because of one song, we had been offered some financial assistance by a business corporation to make an album dedicated to a worker (friend/relative) who had lost his life on the job. So we wanted to do a good job.

I took all the original mixes and spent hours ++ moving everything down (faders, sends, adjusting compression thresholds etc.) and got those mixes working with stereo bus peaks about -3, some of those annoying spikes still existed, but fewer. to be honest i think i left some (gentle) compression on some of the mixes i sent.

Then I spent one long day sitting in the second chair in the Mastering House (Silverbirch Productions - Toronto Ont.). There were some useful things done to those mixes - ( some spot compression on a couple of important lyrical phrases, leveling overall RMS values - by ear, not numbers), ordering , manipulating gaps, CD text etc.) .. The digital mixes were first run through a vintage 1 inch tape machine and that signal entered a digital suite where a bit of EQ setting was applied to a few sections, It went from there to a K- processor (a proprietary piece of digital gear that Bob Katz developed I think) - from there it went into a vintage tube stereo compressor ( one of 3 in his rack) and finally to a digital limiter, piece of hardware (brand ???)

End result - the mixes were, for most intents and purposes, right back to where i had them before many , many hours of readjustment. If I put them side by side the volumes were not greatly increased, the overall tone was as i had submitted them. We left with a record I am still proud of 7 years later. i just got a complement on it "listenability" on New Year's Day. While the whole process contributed to the final product, the mastering piece was not a "holy cow - what did you do to get it to sound like that?"

Knowing what i do know now, if i were setting out to make a record that i intended to have someone else master, i would do as 60s guy suggests and leave even more headroom than the -3 i worked so hard to achieve. I would more easilyachieve this by tracking at somewhat lower levels. With the gear/track counts i have i would probably stick to 16 bit still. I would not hesitate to use some brickwall limiting on individual tracks to control those spikes, I would avoid even the little bit of overall compression i left on a couple of the stereo mixes .... etc. etc.

I did learn through all this that it is possible to make mixes with "sufficient" volume on the AW as a standalone DAW. But, i would approach the path to the end goal in a more controlled fashion.

I do believe that Ralph (Hogtime) had a similar experience with some mastering on a project he created a few years back.

Was the expenditure worth it? In our case yes - some else paid and i got some guidance and experience from a seasoned pro who has many credits to his name for both indie and commercial artists. so I did benefit greatly. the project had a polished sound and look, as the same production house guided us through artwork, proof and printing, they brokered the reproduction, advised on obtaining license for the 3 cover tunes on the disc. I even left the project with a surplus Yamaha sub he had in the studio before he'd upgraded. All this - including 2000 copies of the disc - came to us for about the $5000 we had been advanced by the sponsor.

Is mastering "magic"? - definitely not - If good mixes are presented, there is little to do as far as toning. Volumes will need to be boosted for the final product if you are faithful to controlling tracking and mixing levels. but it is entirely possible to do this to a completely acceptable standard in the home studio. Witness Mac's songs as proof!!

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:00 am 
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Guys, the first half of the week is usually the busiest for me, so I have only "scanned" the posts... But I will definitely study them. I'm fascinated to the point of wanting to have that A-HA! moment. Thanks for making me think.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:55 am 
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Byron wrote:
60's guy wrote:

If you record a song (or songs) to send to a mastering engineer and they are all at -3dB......you are NOT giving the mastering engineer enough headroom to work with.

Granted.....not any of us here has ever employed a mastering engineer (no one that I know of), but think about it this way.....every post processing (EQ, Reverb etc)......track by track....or by stereo track can have an additive dB boost to the final individual track or stereo track. Headroom can get eaten up very quickly with post processing.




I did send a record to a mastering studio once ( 13 mixes). the instruction from him was to have was to have at least -3 dB headroom. We had not been planning to make a product out of the songs, so they were all mixed "hot" in the first place ( on a 1600 ), for personal use . I had no access to nor knowledge of how to utilize brickwall limiting for the tracks in the mix or on the stereo bus, track levels were pushing the top with some spikes, as i said - the original mixes were not brickwalled but I did have some compression working on the stereo bus. It had taken me a long time to get them sounding "right" (for me). this was the first part of my "working" learning curve after i had learned how to operate the controls, read about compression and scoured the internet for help ( i was not a member here yet).

Because of one song, we had been offered some financial assistance by a business corporation to make an album dedicated to a worker (friend/relative) who had lost his life on the job. So we wanted to do a good job.

I took all the original mixes and spent hours ++ moving everything down (faders, sends, adjusting compression thresholds etc.) and got those mixes working with stereo bus peaks about -3, some of those annoying spikes still existed, but fewer. to be honest i think i left some (gentle) compression on some of the mixes i sent.

Then I spent one long day sitting in the second chair in the Mastering House (Silverbirch Productions - Toronto Ont.). There were some useful things done to those mixes - ( some spot compression on a couple of important lyrical phrases, leveling overall RMS values - by ear, not numbers), ordering , manipulating gaps, CD text etc.) .. The digital mixes were first run through a vintage 1 inch tape machine and that signal entered a digital suite where a bit of EQ setting was applied to a few sections, It went from there to a K- processor (a proprietary piece of digital gear that Bob Katz developed I think) - from there it went into a vintage tube stereo compressor ( one of 3 in his rack) and finally to a digital limiter, piece of hardware (brand ???)

End result - the mixes were, for most intents and purposes, right back to where i had them before many , many hours of readjustment. If I put them side by side the volumes were not greatly increased, the overall tone was as i had submitted them. We left with a record I am still proud of 7 years later. i just got a complement on it "listenability" on New Year's Day. While the whole process contributed to the final product, the mastering piece was not a "holy cow - what did you do to get it to sound like that?"

Knowing what i do know now, if i were setting out to make a record that i intended to have someone else master, i would do as 60s guy suggests and leave even more headroom than the -3 i worked so hard to achieve. I would more easilyachieve this by tracking at somewhat lower levels. With the gear/track counts i have i would probably stick to 16 bit still. I would not hesitate to use some brickwall limiting on individual tracks to control those spikes, I would avoid even the little bit of overall compression i left on a couple of the stereo mixes .... etc. etc.

I did learn through all this that it is possible to make mixes with "sufficient" volume on the AW as a standalone DAW. But, i would approach the path to the end goal in a more controlled fashion.

I do believe that Ralph (Hogtime) had a similar experience with some mastering on a project he created a few years back.

Was the expenditure worth it? In our case yes - some else paid and i got some guidance and experience from a seasoned pro who has many credits to his name for both indie and commercial artists. so I did benefit greatly. the project had a polished sound and look, as the same production house guided us through artwork, proof and printing, they brokered the reproduction, advised on obtaining license for the 3 cover tunes on the disc. I even left the project with a surplus Yamaha sub he had in the studio before he'd upgraded. All this - including 2000 copies of the disc - came to us for about the $5000 we had been advanced by the sponsor.

Is mastering "magic"? - definitely not - If good mixes are presented, there is little to do as far as toning. Volumes will need to be boosted for the final product if you are faithful to controlling tracking and mixing levels. but it is entirely possible to do this to a completely acceptable standard in the home studio. Witness Mac's songs as proof!!

Excellent post, Byron.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:46 am 
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Does any of this explain where the on button is?

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:00 am 
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RZ wrote:
Does any of this explain where the on button is?


It doesn't.

When I put together the 2004 Comp CD I was shooting from the hip and I assembled the 2004 Comp CD without having a clue about what I was doing...much less giving any thought to balancing track volume. Then, when I put together the 2008 Comp CD I had learned enough to listen to every submission to determine which submission was the loudest and I boosted every other track submission to the same level. The 2008 Comp CD was burned WAY too hot......overall.

I learned something from that experience.

Last year.... I put together a CD named "Winter" that is a culmination of recordings that I have done solo or in collaboration with other musicians. I spent countless hours (just like Byron did) tweaking every track and portions of tracks) to produce a CD that would not fatigue a listener. All of the tracks were finished at -3dB peak (thereabout).

My girlfriend listened to the CD and said, "That was nice."

I asked her, "What was nice about it?"

She said, "I didn't have to turn the volume up or down."

The “Winter” CD tracks can be listened to here.
https://app.box.com/s/w8rw613bwsfjjxp29opo

My intention (when posting this thread) was simply to share something I learned along the way.

Recording "too hot" isn't easily fixed.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:06 am 
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I do use the on button fairly regularly. I just arranged for a session tonight, to do some tracking one week from today. Some of this discussion will find its way into practice then.

all this talk is of little practical consequence if you don't use the on button though.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:48 pm 
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I just realized in order to use the recorder, you have to push the on button. With that said, this thread has gone on entirely too long without enough cheese in the topic.

.

So, first off, here is your complementary cheese of the day:

Image

Ok, so it's bread. Hey nothing wrong with that!


.

Since the subject of this thread is recording levels, no matter how hard one might try to make a cd of music, you can never do anything to clean up a hot distorted recording mess. Should you want to get all songs leveled the same regardless of said hot distorted recording mess, there are many programs that offer such a thing. My Adobe Audition has a feature called normalize. I don't profess to be an engineer. I can't even drive a train. But I think I can take a bunch of random songs, run them through Audition, normalize them and get a fairly constant level throughout. It won't help all the received stereo master files, especially if they come in as a mixed down wav or mp3. But it will be normalized.

.

Now for some drivel:

Image


.

Now this, is the perfect DijonStock thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:28 pm 
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I realize we are succumbing to drivel and cheese withdrawl, and as such, this thread has just been normalized (DijonStock style) but when it comes to assembling audio files Normalization will not really achieve the goal of balancing of files. All Norlmalizing does is makes sure that the Whole file's loudest peak hits 0dB. So what normalizing yields will depend upon the existence of spikes within the file. If a file is overall a quiet mix, with low RMS (average) level and with no errant, random spikes, normalizing has potential to make a file louder when the whole file's level is lifted so that the loudest portion of the file hits 0dB.

But if the same quiet mix, with the same overall average RMS level contains a, even short term, spike to 0dB, Normalizing it will achieve no result as to increasing the overall level of the file, as there was no room to boost the gain of the entire file because a spiked portion already hit 0dB.

as for cheese - we have been enjoying this cheese lately from our local Cheese/ butcher shop. It is called Balsamic, as it ??? uses Balsamic vinigers in the processing ??? - what ever they do it is fabulous - very expensive unfortunately, but the taste/ texture has your taste buds doing a happy dance for several seconds after you savour even a small crumb of the stuff. It lingers but not for long, leaving nothing but the urge for more. Even the rind is fabulous. Some cheese maker did a fabulous job of Normalizing that cheese, in both taste experience and price.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:51 pm 
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Byron wrote:
I realize we are succumbing to drivel and cheese withdrawl, and as such, this thread has just been normalized (DijonStock style) but when it comes to assembling audio files Normalization will not really achieve the goal of balancing of files. All Norlmalizing does is makes sure that the Whole file's loudest peak hits 0dB. So what normalizing yields will depend upon the existence of spikes within the file. If a file is overall a quiet mix, with low RMS (average) level and with no errant, random spikes, normalizing has potential to make a file louder when the whole file's level is lifted so that the loudest portion of the file hits 0dB.

But if the same quiet mix, with the same overall average RMS level contains a, even short term, spike to 0dB, Normalizing it will achieve no result as to increasing the overall level of the file, as there was no room to boost the gain of the entire file because a spiked portion already hit 0dB.

as for cheese - we have been enjoying this cheese lately from our local Cheese/ butcher shop. It is called Balsamic, as it ??? uses Balsamic vinigers in the processing ??? - what ever they do it is fabulous - very expensive unfortunately, but the taste/ texture has your taste buds doing a happy dance for several seconds after you savour even a small crumb of the stuff. It lingers but not for long, leaving nothing but the urge for more. Even the rind is fabulous. Some cheese maker did a fabulous job of Normalizing that cheese, in both taste experience and price.


Normalization does exactly what you wrote. It is designed to bring everything close to 0. That's normal.

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 Post subject: Re: Too hot?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:55 am 
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A worthwhile read about normalizing audio tracks.
http://www.hometracked.com/2008/04/20/1 ... malization

Normalizing tracks to assemble a CD of "random tracks" is a worthless endeavor. Been there.....tried that.....horriblle result.

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