Amplitude Matching

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Amplitude Matching

Post by Paul881 »

I am trying to match the sound and amplitude of a kick within a downloaded MP3 file reference track with a library sample kick but I can’t get anywhere near the measured amplitude of the reference track. I’m using Ableton Live as my DAW and Voxengo SPAN to measure my amplitude and frequency waveform.
So I have done some investigating and this is what I have discovered:
Measuring the output of my monitors using a hand held db meter, the amplitude of the reference track measures 70 db and SPAN on the reference track shows -32db.
My kick at the same db output (70db) as measured by my hand held db meter, has a SPAN measurement of -46db. So a huge difference compared to the reference track for the same level of monitor output.
If I drive my kick channel to provide the same level of db as measured by SPAN on their respective buses, my monitor output goes over 80db which is way too loud and red-lines Ableton's Master bus. I should also add that here is no compression on my kick or master channel when taking these measurements.
Is this difference due to the compression on the downloaded Beatport reference track....or is it another factor?
User avatar
Paul881
Regular
Posts: 99 Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:00 am Location: Heart of the Shires, England

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by Philbo King »

It is probably compressed.
Philbo King
Poster
Posts: 34 Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 pm

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by RichardT »

…and EQ´d. And it may have some added sub-bass.
RichardT
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2225 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: London UK

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by shufflebeat »

This is really not my comfort zone, but - can you zoom in on the waveforms of both files to see and compare any peaks which might by sending the meters into the red but not adding much to the sound?

Likewise low frequency content that is present but not audible.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7765 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
Hot tip:
I find keeping the good coffee in an old marmalade jar in the fridge makes it last much longer - the kids don't like marmalade.

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by blinddrew »

Depending on your metering the duration of the tail of the sample might also be having an effect.
Might be worth playing around with a transient designer on one or both to see if you can get them into a more useable ball park.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19307 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by Paul881 »

Thanks to everyone who has responded.
For sure the downloaded reference track is compressed; all the major sound hosting media sites to my knowledge such as SoundCloud or BeatPort always compress their offerings. They may also do some EQ as well but in this instance, I know what EQ was applied to the reference kick and can replicate that EQ in my DAW.
One more point I discovered; if I set the loudness of my reference channel at 0db it measures an average peak (DBFS) of -36db in the reference track on playback whilst it measures -50db in the master channel. And that's with no plugins on any channel, including the Master channel. So some losses seem to be inherent within Ableton/DAW. Maybe there's a clue there as to why I can't match the amplitude of my kick (and tracks) to the reference track?
User avatar
Paul881
Regular
Posts: 99 Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:00 am Location: Heart of the Shires, England

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by RichardT »

Paul881 wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 7:31 pm Thanks to everyone who has responded.
For sure the downloaded reference track is compressed; all the major sound hosting media sites to my knowledge such as SoundCloud or BeatPort always compress their offerings. They may also do some EQ as well but in this instance, I know what EQ was applied to the reference kick and can replicate that EQ in my DAW.
One more point I discovered; if I set the loudness of my reference channel at 0db it measures an average peak (DBFS) of -36db in the reference track on playback whilst it measures -50db in the master channel. And that's with no plugins on any channel, including the Master channel. So some losses seem to be inherent within Ableton/DAW. Maybe there's a clue there as to why I can't match the amplitude of my kick (and tracks) to the reference track?

That level difference won’t happen unless you’ve got something applying some gain somewhere. By default, if you have just one channel creating audio, the master track level will be the same as the channel level.
RichardT
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2225 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: London UK

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by Paul881 »

RichardT wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 8:43 pm
That level difference won’t happen unless you’ve got something applying some gain somewhere. By default, if you have just one channel creating audio, the master track level will be the same as the channel level.

Hi Richard, thanks for replying but all my other tracks are muted, won't that negate what you are suggesting?
User avatar
Paul881
Regular
Posts: 99 Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:00 am Location: Heart of the Shires, England

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by RichardT »

Paul881 wrote: Mon May 30, 2022 12:35 pm
RichardT wrote: Sun May 29, 2022 8:43 pm
That level difference won’t happen unless you’ve got something applying some gain somewhere. By default, if you have just one channel creating audio, the master track level will be the same as the channel level.

Hi Richard, thanks for replying but all my other tracks are muted, won't that negate what you are suggesting?

No, if there's one track active then the master bus will show the same signal, unless something is changing it somewhere.
RichardT
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2225 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: London UK

Re: Amplitude Matching

Post by Paul881 »

To ensure my DAW was not getting any spurious inputs, I rebooted and then looked at the waveforms of the reference track and the Master Bus. And they were the same in frequency and amplitude! :) So I don't know how or why I got such a difference in amplitude measurements; they must have been some interference with either the channel, other tracks or bus somewhere. :headbang:

So you were right Richard, and that's what I had expected; unless there are other tracks playing, the Master Bus has to reflect the same form and levels as any single channel.
User avatar
Paul881
Regular
Posts: 99 Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:00 am Location: Heart of the Shires, England
Post Reply