Master volume quiet


This is a topic I’ve seen everywhere from the results of a quick google search. Basically it seems to be pretty hard to export a project from Cubase (I use LE 4) and have it come out at a volume comparative with any other track in my iTunes library.

I’m not talking about how well the track is mixed or compressed which this topic always seems to then revolve around, it seems that even when you export even a master with the stereo out bus maxed out, and the production is good enough that there is not one bit of clipping, when you import the file into iTunes it is noticeably quieter than other professional tracks.

To prove this isn’t my mixing that’s at fault, I took Foo Fighters’ Monkey Wrench, imported it, added no effects or compression, turned the output bus to max (playing through the song results in much of the sound at the peak meter value 0.0 without going over once), exported this track, imported it as another track, and lo and behold the new track now peaks at -1.5, and white soundwave image only takes up about 2/3rds of the track, whereas the original had the image filling the track.

If I can’t physically push the output anymore, what can I do to make exports louder?

As you have already googled this topic you must have read about loudness and all that.

Basically it’s not a cubase problem as all digital sequencers will produce mixes that are quieter that your itune library tracks.

It also does have in part to do with the way a track is mixed.

The metering in a digital recording system is whats called a peak meter, this is only really useful for showing the peak level of a signal and does not show how loud a track may be. For this it is more usual to use a VU meter (volume units) this will show your song tracks as having a far lower average level than a commercial track.

A quick way of increasing the level of your tracks would be to look for a plugin designed for increasing this average level
A limiter is one such device.

Look up volume wars on the internet for more information and how to increase the volume.

Hi Split, thanks for your response,

Thing is I tested a commercial track, and when I did a simple export and import back into the project, the new audio was markedly quieter. Also when the audio was originally imported to the project, the white waveform image filled the track (channel/image whatever you want to call it), but the newly exported/imported track only filled about 2/3rds of the image. I would have to bump up the volume of the audio event to get it back to looking like the original.

Why does cubase export audio at a volume lower than the original file?

The thing is, Cubase doesn’t change the levels of an exported/imported file. To convince yourself of this make sure you have the track level set to 0dB and the main output level set to 0dB with no plugins or eq . Then export the track as a wave file (not mp3 or other format) usually for this test it would be 32bit float at project sample rate, stereo interleaved. Import the saved file back into cubase and run it alongside the original, they should both be the same. If the imported file has a different level then you have done something wrong!

If Cubase did change levels like that, the whole forum would be lit up like a Xmas tree with complaints.

When you import a modern commercial track, the density of the wave display is the result of extensive post mix processing and volume maximising, the original un maxed studio mix would not look like that.

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