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yio says

Hi!

Sometimes I record some subtle or quiet sounds which are expected to be used at a low level because of the nature of those sounds, i.e. the soft servo motor sound of a digital camera, but I wonder if buyers need them normalized in order to adjust their volumes within the software code or while editing a video.

This may be a reason for a buyer for not buying an item since he will have to edit it in order to maximize its volume.

On the other hand, some subtle SFX sounds weird or annoying when are played at a high level so I fear that listeners will discard them when listening the preview.

What do you think?

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soundroll says

Hi!

Sometimes I record some subtle or quiet sounds which are expected to be used at a low level because of the nature of those sounds, i.e. the soft servo motor sound of a digital camera, but I wonder if buyers need them normalized in order to adjust their volumes within the software code or while editing a video.

This may be a reason for a buyer for not buying an item since he will have to edit it in order to maximize its volume.

On the other hand, some subtle SFX sounds weird or annoying when are played at a high level so I fear that listeners will discard them when listening the preview.

What do you think?
Of course, not, Yio. You don’t have to normalize the files that in their nature are low level. Your example – servo motor sound is usually is low level: -15 to -20 dbFS. Look at some sound FX libraries.
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LfO says

Those are valid points/arguments for both versions. Maybe include two versions and clearly state that in the description.

version 1: at the normal volume as you see fit.

version 2: a louder normalized version. (as loud as the sound permits it to be)

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SonicCube says

Hello Yio

It’s not easy to answer, but in my daily work, i prefer if the sounds from libraries are at a “normal” level around -3db.

The reason for this is, if i have an arrangement and the sound fx are some of the last things i add to the work, its a pain if i can’t hear the sound fx straight away from the preview together with the rest, because the level is so low, that even on +10 fader position, it does not come trough.

This is maybe different with your example of the shutter / servo sound, which will probably not be used inside a complete arrangement and stays more or less on its own.

I would keep it simple :

It’s easier to lower a level of a sound down to infinite / mute in a mix instead of raising it, as there is a limit :)

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soundroll says

In general – this kind of sound FX , like servo motors, robots, etc. are not for music production, but for using them on a pictures, where the music is in low level. So, if you’ll normalize servo motor – it will sound unnatural and very very loud, because of the average level of this sound.

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yio says

Thanks for the replies, guys

I upload my music normalized at -3dB, but, when it comes to games, I know that programmers may vary the pitch/volume inside the code, i.e. a racing car’s engine may raise its pitch and volume when accelerating.

Other sounds, like mouse clicks, buttons and other interface sounds may sound too low on some systems like cellphones, in fact I was asked to normalize/maximize (by hard limiting to some level and then normalizing) some sounds that were barely heard on some consoles.

I’m considering this point just to increment potential sales.

Since items here are for general purpose/use, not made for certain use or client, I guess it’s not easy to find out at what level should I adjust each sound file.

i.e., recently I updated (is pending) and item about robot footsteps because the sounded too low and had less sells in comparisson with similar sounds that were at high level and made more sells.

These are the files:

http://audiojungle.net/item/robot-footstep/79045

http://audiojungle.net/item/spaceship-hydraulic-hatchs-01-02/52767

(Hey, AJ team, I’m not promoting my files, haha ;-) )

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ProWaveAudio says

I agree with everyone here. It totally depends on the source material. In fact I would say it’s a case by case situation for every sound. You need to think how the sound will be used. Generally any single shot sound recorded at close range with a sharp attack I’d normalise it (if it requires it). For ambience’s, anything recorded at a distance, or anything that is low in volume in real life normalizing it will destroy the reality of the sound.

Yio, I don’t think you are responsible for mixing a clients project. Sure, do your best to help them if requested. Plus double check your file in question and make sure levels are good. But at the end of the day the final mix is up to them. If they are not paying a sound designer to mix the project and the levels are all over the place who is responsible?

Willow_Branch_Music
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Willow_Branch_Music says

I suspect even the most pure sound designers love to hear things slammed down from time to time. I have some sound effects that hover dangerously to 0 and they sell.

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yio says

Another problems about normalizing is when the background noise becomes notorious. While a sound effect may sound good at low levels, it can be awful at a higher level because of the noise floor becomes audible.

If a buyer hears a loud sound effect without notice any background noise, hiss or whatsoever, he may feels more confident of using that sound. On the other hand, if a sound is at a low level they don’t know how it will sound at higher volume, unless they turn the volume up while listening to the preview.

Of course, it is better to normailze a sound when it is at a high resolution, that’s before uploading it to a stock site, instead of letting the buyer to normalize it after purchase from a 16bit/44.1kHz file. i.e., if I record a sound at 24bit / >=48kHz and then normalize it, the resulting sound file will sound better.

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soundroll says

Why somebody should listen to ambience sounds in 0 db? :) The fx must sound natural.

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