Ongoing volume problem

Hi Tapspace,

I've had this issue with Sibelius (6.2) and Virtual Drumline (2.5.2) ever since I've started using the programs several years ago. I've just never been able to get the final volume of my .wav exports as loud as most commercial music producers are able to get theirs. Go to Youtube and listen to any popular song these days. You only have to have your computer's volume at about 5% for a good listening experience. With my music however, it needs to be at least 35% to be slightly more than a whisper, and it's always been that way. If I up the volume any more than the loudest I'm able to get my files in any way in either KP2 or any of Sibelius' master or individual volume parameters, I'll get clipping, distortion, or a little red square at the top of whatever volume display I'm looking at. Why is it that when I can barely hear my files when my computer is at a reasonable volume level, I look at the shape of the wave in whatever wave editing program and the wave clips?? I load another song that is at least 10 times ";louder"; and there is plenty of room to avoid clipping.

I'm tired of attempting to get the volume loud enough to be used with a couple ";unnoticeable"; clips here and there. I'm tired about being hesitant to add in a concert bass drum to my score because I know that if I make it play anything over mf, I'll have to lower the volume level of the entire piece so when I export it, it won't clip. I want to produce commercial quality, LOUD files where people won't have to crank their volume levels for a good listening experience.

I've looked at all the old posts here about volume being low with these programs and nothing has helped my situation. I'm convinced that I need to find or purchase a program to record the sound from my PC so it hears what I hear rather than whatever it's doing. I just don't know how to do that. I consider myself pretty knowledgable about these programs so any little tip of advice will probably get me to where I need to be.

Please help, I'm starting to lose hope and I want to move forward, not stay where I've always been.

Toshiba laptop
Windows 7, 64-bit
2.3 GHz dual-core processor
Sibelius 6.2
VDL 2.5.2

Let me know if you need to know anything else. Thanks

1 Comment

Hi Eric,

This is a common question/complaint when working with notation programs (and any DAW as well for that matter).

You're trying to compare the not compressed and mastered audio from Sibelius to a commercial recording that has been mastered by a professional mastering engineer who uses very expensive equipment and years of experience to squeeze out every dB to make the song as loud as possible without over distorting the song.

Try exporting the score as a WAV file to a DAW like Audacity (free) and using a limiter to up the gain a bit. You're probably not going to get the same results as a commercial recording right away, but with some practice you can get close without distorting your track.

A good book to check out would be Bob Katz's Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science which will give you some good techniques.

Keep in mind the audience for your music. No one likes distorted and over compressed audio, and I would rather have someone turn up the speakers some over distorting the listening experience.
Login or Signup to post a comment