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Topic: Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?

  1. #1

    Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?


    I've heard that developers normalize their samples, and was just curious as to why this is done. Is it another part of the "louder is better" mantra thats going through the music biz, or is there some practical reasons for this practice? Also, I've heard some users state they wish developers would also allow the purchase of the raw, un-normalized samples, and was curious as to why? What are the pros and cons of using "normalized" samples? Pros and cons of using un-normalized?

    I dont have much knowledge of the "normalizing" process, but doesnt normalizing, unlike compression, simply "max out" the audio file, and therefore doesnt add any "coloring" to the sound, or does it indeed change the nature of the sound?

    Just curious, and look forward to hearing your opinion. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?

    Considering samplers have their own volume controls, and of course your host has numerous ways to control track/plugin volume, normalization of the final WAV file for the sample is not that much of an issue. For the sake of convenience, though, there is no reason *not* to - plus samplers like Kontakt 2 offer a "load instruments at -6db" which mostly eliminates the problem of multiple voices causing clipping.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  3. #3

    Re: Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?

    The only reason this might be a problem is if the Flute, for example, is normalized then it is now as loud in its lowest range as it is in its higer range. This isn't the case with a live flute. The result for the novice (and not so novice) is a an unbalanced orchestral sound unless you know the characteristics of the various instruments and are able to balance accordingly.
    James G. Eakin III, DMA
    Turtle Creek Chorale
    Assistant Director-Film Scoring program,
    Aspen Music Festival & School

  4. #4

    Re: Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?

    That is a good point. Hopefully in these cases the developers who normalize the samples will then use appropriate patch programming to realistically balance things.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  5. #5

    Re: Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?

    hi all, yep it can be a problem, creating unnatural dynamics.

    i have just started using upward expansion on some orchestral pieces and it can work a treat.

    brings back the edge and life.

  6. #6

    Re: Do Developers "normalize" samples? Pros and Cons?

    Lets say you record a piano with 8 velocities from very soft to very loud.
    If you map the samples with its original volume, you have to switch off
    the velocity response of the keyboards, otherwise the softest tones are too soft.
    The result is: you just have 8 volume steps when playing!

    If every sample has the same volume, you set the velocitiy response
    of the keyboard to a certain amount that sounds natural.
    The result is: you have 127 volume steps.

    You still can set the low high notes to be louder.

    So, if the samples are normalized, you are free to set the velocity response
    from natural dynamic to equal volume which could be better than using a compressor.

    Also, depending on the instrument, its hard for a player to always
    play exactly the same volume on every note.
    so, if you don't normalize, you have to at least set the volume level
    manually for each sample to get get a realistic result.

    Chris Hein
    Chris Hein - Horns / Chris Hein - Guitars / Chris Hein - Bass

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