Peak normalisation or loudness normalisation?

Hey guys … If anyone could give me some advice with this I’d really appreciate it…!
I’m just amateur … not professional … so I just don’t have the knowledge … or indeed anyone to turn to bounce off … to sort this …
I’m doing sound effects for a theatre show … there are over 100 individual sound effects in the show and I’m struggling to understand how to stop some being too quiet/too loud … and I really don’t want to send the poor guy on the sound desk into meltdown with everything having different volumes…
The sfx are a combination of music tracks, recorded spoken vocals and a whole variety of other individual sounds …
So the question is … how do I make all the sfx a more relatively even volume?
I have a (very) basic understanding of normalisation … so I understand that 0db would be the setting for peak normalisation and -14LUFS for loudness normalisation but please correct me if that’s not appropriate? … and would I use peak or loudness normalisation to achieve what I’m trying to do?..
I’m using Cubase 11 Pro… and this show is in a much bigger theatre (900 seats) than the normal 300 seat theatre I’m used to and has a MUCH bigger PA… so I’m worried that what I might unknowingly get away with in the smaller theatre will stick out like a dogs **** through a bigger PA … and I have no opportunity to use the bigger PA until the day of the Tech rehearsal when, of course, it’s too late to change anything…
Thanks for any advice you can give me…!!

Loudness normalization will be a more appropriate choice for this.

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Loudness normalization is the best for this. Aiming for -14 LUFS is fine, as it’s a fairly standard value. Depending on target, though, some people may think this is too low, and you’ll want to aim for something hotter, maybe in the -8 range.

Also, when doing loudness normalization, you may end up clipping peaks, so you should also add a “brick wall” limiter with very fast (infinite, or 0.1 ms, or whatever the fastest option is) attack time and reasonably fast (50-100 ms) recovery time.

Depending on the quality of the A/V system at the venue, you may also want to pre-eq the effects so they have a similar sound profile – the right amount of bass/mid/high frequencies. Running all the effects through a spectrometer and making it all have about the same profile will help with this. You can also perhaps use a multi-band compressor like MultibandCompressor, or even a compressor/expander like Squasher, for this. How heavily you push into this area depends on what the delivery system sounds like, and what effect you want to achieve.

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Well thanks for your help guys!.. Really appreciated … and your advice works … Have done what you suggested on the first 20 odd sound effects and I can really hear the difference … Just all the rest to plod through now! …
Thanks again!

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I think finding that “one shoe fits all” in what you are working on will be difficult.
No matter how you normalize your SFX files, you will more than likely have to adjust the volume of the individual clips manually. As an example, a gunshot or a train pulling into a station shouldn’t have the same perceived loudness (or peak) as background voices in a coffee shop or a distant church bell.
You hinted that you will not be running FOH yourself for this production. My best advice is that you get in touch with the FOH engineer and talk about their expectations.
It is most likely that the final levels of the SFXs will have to be tweaked during rehearsal anyway where all the other sound elements will be present (such as dialog, music, other sound cues, etc.).

I think you’re confused. You seem to be talking about perceived loudness levels as it pertains to mastering of musical material. OP is talking about normalization, not compression.

Sorry, but I will have to object to this advice as well. OP said they have 100+ sound cues. How can you advice these cues should have similar frequency profiles without knowing what they are? Splashing of water vs. a Bison stampede? Same frequency profile?

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Obviously the tinkling of an ice cube will have a different profile from a diesel engine starting.

The point is more that sound effects come from many different recording situations, and it’ll help to make them all sound more cohesive. That doesn’t mean all of them should look exactly the same – just that they should share the same overall tone. Maybe that’s already all done in the effects production, in which case nothing more needs to be done. I don’t know that, so I mentioned it.

Hope the performance goes well!