mp3 save level issue

I am not sure id this problem has been discussed earlier, but I couldn’t find it using search.

It’s about the level difference when exporting in mp3 format, when saving in mp3 or exporting to mp3 from audio editor or montage the resulting mp3 file level always exceeding the zero level.

Even if we export the same project twice, in wav and mp3, and I have inserted a hard limiter on the final stage fixed at -0.01 dB and I have the correct dithering, the resulting two files are not similar in level

the resulting wav file never exceeds the -0.01 dB, but the resulting mp3 file is hitting 0 dB and shows a lot of peak samples ( the number shows between () in the wavelab level peak meter)

Why’s that?? and what is the solution?

Conversion… Always leave something like 0.2/0.3db of headroom before converting to mp3.
You can also use intersample peaks if your limiter has that option.

Thank you for your reply,

I figured out that i should leave like 1 db headroom, but I am not sure this in a good solution.
I asked a friend in DIGICO consoles about this, he advised that this is a conversion algorithm issue.

can you please explain what is intersample peaksm and what limiters has this option?

ok, i read about intersampling, but what is this has to do with mp3 conversion?

In simple terms; since MP3 is a compressed data format, two peaks close together that are both -0,1 dB, could result in a single peak reaching 0,0 dB or going over it. This is done by the encoder, so you either leave room in the original audio, or try with a different encoder (Lame vs. Fraunhofer, for instance). But whichever encoder you use, a limiter in the WL master section can’t have control over it, and comparing the decoded MP3 with the rendered wav will always show differences, - encoding takes place as the last step.

Luck, Arjan

When MP3 reduces the size by x10, this means that 90% of the original audio information is lost. The concept is to throw away information that the ear can’t detect. You can’t expect to have the mp3 output to match all the properties of the original audio…

i always leave 0.3 dB headroom in my final mixes exactly because of this issue.