Keeping volume levels consistent between audio tracks in your show can be a frustrating task. As you may recall, we previously wrote an article on how to edit your tracks in a 3rd party editing tool prior to importing. To help users deal with this problem, we’ve introduced a Volume Leveling feature in ProShow 8. Today I’m going to explain this convenient tool so that you can make the most of it.
How Volume Leveling Works
Volume Leveling in ProShow works by analyzing the existing volume levels of your audio track, then it boosts the levels over the course of the track to bring them up to the peak. Since this is a pre-processing step, the track volumes will still show up at the default 100%, but it should mean that you find yourself adjusting the volumes very seldomly.
Where To Find It
You can find this feature in the Soundtrack window (Show > Soundtrack, or simply double click on the soundtrack area under your slides). Under the Master Volume, you’ll find an “Volume Leveling” option that is enabled by default for any new shows you create in ProShow 8.
You also have the ability to override the global setting above and control this on a per-track basis.
Understanding the presets
Now, you may be wondering what these presets mean or why you’d want to ever change them on a global or per-track basis. We feel that the default preset “Normalize (Recommended)” does a good job of boosting your volume levels throughout the course of a track without significantly affecting the original dynamics of the music. Because of this, it’s generally safe to leave it on this setting.
Normalize & Compress
There is also a “Normalize & Compress” setting available. It’s recommended that you don’t use this setting across the board unless your music is all from a similar album, genre, or time period. The tracks that will benefit the most will be older tracks that haven’t gone through a significant remastering process. Effectively, this gives your 60s R&B tracks a chance to sit alongside your modern Pop tracks without sounding too anemic. Conversely, using this preset on a Rock or Pop song from the past ~20 years may either have no effect or may even cause some amount of audible distortion.
There may also be circumstances where you want to disable the feature altogether. As I mentioned earlier, the “Normalize (Recommended)” setting pushes the volumes upward, but it does this somewhat dynamically over the course of a track. By doing this, there is the potentially to lose a small amount of dynamic range in the song. This will be most noticeable on classical music. Personally, I think there is still a benefit to using the feature if you plan on having classical tracks interspersed with tracks of other genres or time periods, but you can let your ears be the judge.
- If you’re opening a show that was created in a previous version of ProShow, this setting won’t be turned on automatically. You may want to consider opening the Soundtrack window and changing the global setting (under the Master Volume) to “Normalize (Recommended)”, assuming you haven’t manually altered the track volumes already.
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