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Can I use a peak meter to visually see dynamic compression?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Foobar has a peak meter that I like to use sometimes.  I am wondering: if the blue bars reach all the way to the limit of the meter, does this imply that some sounds are being dynamically compressed?  Otherwise the bar would extend higher than the limit of the meter?  It is not really possible to say how much dynamic compression is occurring using this method, but can this be used as a tool to determine when dynamic compression it is taking place?

post #2 of 12

Blue bars to the top has nothing to do with compression per se (though typically only compressed music will go that high). 

 

Digital music can not possibly ever go above -0db, or unity.  It simply cannot happen. 

 

Compression will be seen when the bars barely move relative to itself, instead of varying extremely widely. 

 

 

 

Hope this helps! 

post #3 of 12
post #4 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

Blue bars to the top has nothing to do with compression per se (though typically only compressed music will go that high). 

 

Digital music can not possibly ever go above -0db, or unity.  It simply cannot happen. 

 

Compression will be seen when the bars barely move relative to itself, instead of varying extremely widely. 

 

 

 

Hope this helps! 

 


^This. Also keep in mind that a large dynamic range will NOT guarantee good quality sound.

post #5 of 12

Yes you can use the peak meter to very roughly estimate dynamic range compression. If for example, the peak bars always are between -5 and 0 dB the song is very likely heavily compressed (assuming it's a normal song and not some steady noise). If on the other hand the peak bars every now and then fall below -20 or even -30 dB like it is the case with classical recordings then it's probably much less compressed.

 

What you probably also want to take a look at are ReplayGain numbers, e.g. a metal track show a track peak at 0.999 (~= 0 dB) and a track gain of -8 dB (which means too loud) while a classical track might show a peak of 0.9 (~= -1 dB) and gain of +1 dB (which means too quiet).

 

@El_Doug: While a bit off-topic, mp3's can easily go over 0 dBFS since decoders can output normalized floating point numbers (1.0 = 0 dBFS). Same is true for every DSP plugin foobar2000 or any DAW, VSTs etc.


Edited by xnor - 4/20/12 at 12:57pm
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

Foobar2000 Dynamic Range Meter

 

Thank you!  This is exactly what I needed. 

 

What values would qualify as wide dynamic range?  Narrow dynamic range?  How do the values correspond to decibel variation?

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by scannon18 View Post
What values would qualify as wide dynamic range?  Narrow dynamic range?  How do the values correspond to decibel variation?

 

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Wow most of my music falls between 3 and 6 on the Dynamic Range scale.  The widest dynamic range of my library comes from Joanna Newsom and Shpongle albums, which are around 10-12 on the scale
 

post #9 of 12
Welcome to the Loudness War.
post #10 of 12

Most commercial genres have a dynamic range of 2-5. Some of it is so horrid its hard to listen to more than a couple of songs. Everything sounds flat, like a digital voice was used with a keyboard, the only variation is the notes.

 

The only ones I've found with higer range (8-12+) are either the original (non-remastered) recordings from 60s-70s-80s, or jazz/instrumental/classical.

post #11 of 12
There are still exceptions…

Massive Attack albums
John Frusciante - The Empyrean
Steve Wilson - Grace for Drowning

to name a few.
post #12 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skamp View Post

There are still exceptions…
Massive Attack albums
John Frusciante - The Empyrean
Steve Wilson - Grace for Drowning
to name a few.

 

Well, the indie/underground/trip-hop scene is also good.

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