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Looking for a real-time sound normalizer


Here's the deal...
I like to watch movies from my computer on my home entertainment system. Movies these days seem to have an increasingly wide volume range. Dialog is often very quiet in the films, so, I set the volume quite high. Then, all of a sudden, BOOM, there's an explosion or gunfire and all hell breaks loose: our windows shake, our good china falls off its stand, I choke on the soda I'm drinking and it squirts through my nose, the baby wakes up and starts wailing... This all could have been avoided if I had some real-time volume normalizing software on my computer.
Basically, I just want the software to readjust the system or output volume (low when the explosion happens and high when quet dialog is occurring) appropriately, so as to be audible during quiet scenes but not too loud when the car explodes.
I would rather NOT have to re-encode the movies and normalize the the audio track in a separate operation. I'd like to have software that pre-emptively and in real-time adjusts for the "BOOM" factor.
Anyone know of any tools that might help?
Thanks a million.
December 30, 2005 @09:04am

there is a plugin for winamp for this..... should work when u watch movies on winamp....
not very sure though.... :p
December 30, 2005 @01:05pm

You don't need software, you need hardware.
It's called a limiter.
You can buy a cheap one (Behringer? etc.) and put it on the line out of your computer before it goes to your sound system.
December 30, 2005 @02:48pm

My DVD player has a compressor I can engage for what you've described. But, I can hear it over compressing so I usually just ride the remote.
December 30, 2005 @09:44pm

there is a plugin for winamp for this..... should work when u watch movies on winamp....

Yes, the famous VST to Winamp Bridge...
Works great on my machine.
Get the 'Bridge' here: http://dmi.smartelectronix.com/
December 30, 2005 @10:33pm

Ok, the VST to Winamp bridge? I've downloaded and put the DLLin my WinAmp plug-ins folder. I've enabled it. Now what? What is VST?
January 1, 2006 @07:44pm

VST = virtual studio technology.
VST's are plugins, that you can load into other sound applications, in your case winamp. The VST's can be any effect, like limiting or normalising, you name it; the possibilities are endless.
One good (or must I say one 'very good') VST limiter:
http://www.kjaerhusaudio.com/classic-master-limiter.php - Superb! IMHO
January 1, 2006 @09:58pm

Thanks for the tip.
I'm interested in the Limiter plug-in that you mentioned, but I can't seem to get it to work.
I downloaded it, unzipped it, and put it in the WinAmp plug-ins folder. I then launched WinAmp, but I couldn't find any way to access the plug-in, for example, through the Options->Preferences->Plug-ins list.
Does it have to work in conjunction with the "bridge" mentioned above? If so, what other software and/or configuration do I need to get it to work with WinAmp?
January 2, 2006 @01:38am

The Limiter.dll file has to be in some plugin folder, for example c:\vstplugins
Then you load winamp, rightclick and go to 'visualization' and choose 'select plugin'
Go to 'DSP/Effect' and select the 'dsp_VST_to_Winamp' (that's how it is called on my machine, I probably renamed the file, the original file has 'dsp' as prefix) and click on configure, now the bridge will come up. click in the area after VST plugin, select 'load DLL', locate the DLL file (the c:\vstplugin folder) and select the 'limiter.dll'
That's about it.
January 2, 2006 @02:38am

Well, I put the DLL in the C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins\ folder, and I go to select the plug-in, but the classic limiter is just not in the list under the DSP/Effect or any other category. How strange. Maybe it only works with certain versions of Winamp? I'm using Winamp 5.12.
Any other suggestions? Or other plug-ins I could try?
January 2, 2006 @04:33am

Try putting the limiter.dll file in a seperate folder.
If you read my post you know you must not try to select the limiter from within winamp, you must try to select the bridge from within winamp and then select the limiter from within the bridge.
Just in case you are wondering; I'm using a very old WinAmp version and I have no reason to think it won't work in the newer versions.
January 2, 2006 @11:11am
martin armsby

Don't get carried away everybody - the problem is catered for in the Dolby encoding process and is known as DRC (Dynamic Range Controll) Most hardware players have access to varius degrees of compression from an eigth to FULL.
Decent software players have this too - Powere DVD and WinDVD to name two - its in the settings - have a look !
I doubt it would be much fun with Graph Edit or with multi channel plugins for winamp.
January 2, 2006 @01:25pm