Normalise tracks. What do you use?

Hi, What software do you use to normalise your tracks? Im on Mac and tried mp3gain but doesn’t seem that good. I analyse and fix my library and then if I re put a few of them tracks back in it says it needed a slight adjustment again so doesn’t seem too accurate. Heard about platinum notes but not used it. Any others?

Is the file a record recording?

No its my music library. All in MP3’s. When playing not eh decks , some are much lower and just saves constantly adjusting the gain

The OGs will tell you -

  1. Use the VU meters

  2. Use your ears

  3. that’s what’s djing is about

blah blah blah

They will soon populate this thread with graphs, data and why autogain/mastering is snake oil.


I’ve started a thread to request Autogain as I dont rub snake oil on my files (ie platinum notes and or mp3gain)

I’ve been djing with Autogain active in Serato for the best part of a decade

For now I just use the VU meters on the Prime Hardware :wink:

Normalizing can destroy the dynamics of your tracks… as mufasa said… use your ears and the VU meter for best results :v:t2:

Normalizing doesn’t kill the dynamics. The dynamics stay the same.

As for maximizing or other compressor-limiter style processing, yes, dynamics will be affected.

However, ALL contemporary music or remastered music, have been processed. ALL music you hear on the radio or streamed, is processed.

The general problem is loudness. VU metering wise all could be at the same level, but loudness perception is different.

“Use your ears” is the best solution.

But to stay on-topic. I use SoundForge to edit tracks, if needed. At least the standard normalization. Some old tracks or recordings I do put through Waves processing. It kills dynamics for sure, but it results in “what people are accustomed to hear nowadays”.

I don’t know what an OG is, but I think I’m one.

If DJs are even going to bother to be there, then there needs to be something for them to do! And adjusting the gain control on a channel isn’t leaving the DJ much to do, but, it’s something.

A lot of tracks vary their energy / volume levels through the track like quiet intros, out of place crescendos, instrumental breaks and breakdowns can all fool autogain or ruin the feel of the track if all the loud and quiet sections are averaged up/down to medium.


I never said that lol.

Hence why you can still override it with the trims and gain knobs.

No issues with autogain in Serato. I play everything from mono recorded 50s/60s track to big room electro.

Initially I had used PN’s as promoted(nagged)to do so whilst analysis of music files using MIK. Then using PN’s I chose mp3 format as final audio output and what I noticed (digital dj mixer wise)is that it was quite easy to not end up with even 1 red led UV light showing and all led’s sat in the orange(behringer DDM4000 mixer)however I then learn that compressed audio isn’t good if using various dj softwares as all have own compression algorithms and can cause beatgrids(waveforms)to end up off so lucky I chose to keep my original music files as PN’s only makes copies of original files and they end up in there own PN folder so I just needed to delete the PN’s folder/files as it isn’t “destructive” as it only makes its own copies doesn’t affect or delete the originals as I chose it NOT TO in app settings. Now when I use original music files I have to pick the loudest section of the track(bass/mids/treble)in the waveform strip to set up dj Mixer L&R Channel/main audio levels as well as when cueing in mix in track and I have to be more careful/observant with the EQ/main led’s as it is more easier to slip into 1 red led from the orange led’s. So it’s all about sacrifices/choices…and careful constant eyes on the mixers channel/main leds. Also I have this setting on my behringer ddm4000 mixer called “ultramizer” which is kind of like a “read only” compressor which makes the music louder than it actually is

I mean that mufasa :grin:

Been a Platinum Notes user for a long time. And it has beaten the autogain from free tools and DJ software in my opinion.

When using PN a few things are worth noting. Firstly, try starting with lossless quality files (I personally turn all my WAVs into FLACs, do all the tagging and album art and such and then save them in my originals archive before going into the prep workflow to get things into my DJ collection. Secondly, most modern day music is compressed to a 2-3 dB dynamic range level. So anybody worrying about dynamics when changing gain is … well … off the mark imho. Thirdly, there are multiple algorithms to work with autogain. Having read the concept behind the way Platinum Notes does it, as a sound engineer this looks like the - currently - best way to go about it. Fourtly, not sure why a PN-ed track would not give you enough level on your mixer. I am using the standard setting, which is about -12 or -13 dB headroom or something. And I can run my mixer(s) way into the red if I want to. Finally. Not sure what compression is done by/in DJ software, it should just play the source file as is. If the file is compressed, it will decompress it to have audible audio. But this is true for all mp3 on all players. At some point the digital file has to be reverted back to an analogue signal that can move your speakers.

One point I want to share is on compression again. Specifically limiting. Some people credit limiting with some kind of brilliant artificial intelligence that takes away the responsibility from the user (DJ) to watch his/her levels. Unfortunately a limiter is just a compressor set to a max level, and as soon as that level is reached, the loudest signal bits will not get any louder, the rest stays the same, thus the dynamic range is limited. So, the one good solution, when you don’t want the dynamic range altered, is to NOT use limiting of any kind. Either accept the occassional peak into the red (high dynamic range music, like classical for example, can cause this - it’s highly unlikely to happen in low dynamic range modern dance music as I said before) or use a tool like PN.

Just my three cents as usual

There are variables to take into account when mixing, especially open format.

Perceived loudness is separate from volume. Two tracks can read the exact same on your VU meters, with one sounding louder than the other.

Different mastering houses have different standardization practices for the final master. This means tracks will have different dynamics throughout and different loudness levels throughout a musical recording. Audio Animals, for example, will keep the intro (mix-in) and breakdown slightly quieter than the beef of the track in order to accentuate the drop.

My recommendation.

Give each song its own level of dedication. Pick a mastering suite such as Fabfilter or Waves. Become comfortable with utilizing the Limiter, Compressor, and Dynamic EQ in your suite of preference. Pick a reference track that has the exact dynamics and loudness you are looking for and work through your library bringing the rest up to that standard.

Otherwise, gain staging during Deejaying will be your best bet.

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