Finding the maximum dB in an audio clip

Hi All,

I'm producing a DJ mix with Ableton. I'm very surprised to find that putting an MP3 or WAV into an audio track results in the master track going red, even though the the on the audio track and master are both 0dB. How can an audio file have a peak of more than 0dB in it?

Regardless, the only way I can find to stop this is to show the "peak level" control for each track on the session view, play the whole track and then use the peak value shown to adjust the clip volume or track volume such that the master never goes above 0dB.

So, my main question is how can I find that peak value without playing the whole track through a channel?

Is there something in the clip view I'm missing or is there some other utility (audicity? sound forge?) I can put an audio file through to tell me what that maximum value will be?

thanks for any help!

Chris

2 followers

cjw296 1 year ago | 0 comments

1 answer

  • Der_Makrophag
    contribution
    3 answers
    4 votes received
    1 vote

    Hi!

    First, digital peak measuring is an advanced topic, if you are intereseted I recommend searching the web. In short it is possible, that "live goes red", even though your MP3 does not "exceed" 0 dB (what is in therory impossible, of course). I am not sure how peak measuring works in live right now, but it could be, that 2 following samples at 0 dB are already enough to trigger the clipping indicator, and that is the correct way to do it, I think.

    However, what I find more probable, is that you either have some effects in the channel (EQ maybe) or this comes from the decoding filters used to decode the MP3 files (this is of course not true for WAV files). So even if these processes sound and should be neutral, they do not have to be (an "neutral" setup EQ3 may also well color the sound and is not neutral at all for example, so it will most probably also change peak levels).

    As for the peak measurement, nearly every audio editor should provide a function to measure the maximum peak. I do it with Steinbergs Wavelab 7 Lite, but the ones you mentioned should also do it!

    However I recommend (as you want to use effects etc..) to lower the level of your channels by at least 3dB to avoid clipping (anyhow, mixing two files will also reslut in higher peaks making readjustments of levels necessary).

    1 year ago | 0 comments

You need to be logged in, have a Live license, and have a username set in your account to be able to answer questions.

Answers is a new product and we'd like to hear your wishes, problems or ideas.