Logic Pro 9 Normalizing over multiple tracks

Lotus 7

Hi guys. Pardon me if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it by searching, or in the Logic 9 manual.

I'm bouncing a classical music recording. I have 4 audio channels mixed to stereo. The recording is of a Bach cello suite that is in (6) movements. Each movement is on a separate track, and each track has been edited to proper length and appropriate fade-ins/fade-outs. There are no effects, compression, or level automation used.

The music covers a large dynamic range, and the peak level of each movement (track) varies a lot. The loudest tracks peak at about -4dB, while the peak level of the quieter tracks is probably -12 dB.

I want to bounce or export all (6) related tracks and want to bring the loudest tracks up from -4db to 0dB using normalization. However, I also need to raise all the other related tracks by the exact same amount of gain as the normalization process determines for the loudest track. I don't want to normalize each track independently as that would completely screw up the dynamics that the musician intended in the performance. For instance, the quieter track that was peaking at -12dB, should only be raised to -8db to maintain the correct dynamics.

My question is: Is there a way to normalize a group of tracks together, in a way that will normalize to the peak level of the loudest track and bring each of the others up the same amount?

I realize I can manually determine the amount of gain needed on the loudest track to bring its peak to near 0dB, and than manually bring up each of the others by the same amount, but that seems like a lot of work to do what should be easy using the normalization process. It also seems like a "dirty" work-around, that at best won't be nearly as precise at maintaining the dynamics as the automated process.

I also considered splicing all (6) tracks together into one long track, normalizing and then re-splitting the tracks, but have a lot of similar recordings to do, so would love to find a more efficient way to proceed.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Pete Thomas

Staff member
I wouldn't use normalise.

I would find out exactly what the headroom is on the loudest track. If it's just one region of audio, then I'd do this by searching for the peak in Sample Edit. Play that bit in arrange and watch the output meters. I would be careful about this, e.g. if the peak is 3.9 dB, you don't want to raise it by 4dB. If in doubt I think it's best to be slightly under.

Say that is 4 dB, I would then just select all regions and add 4dB of gain in the inspector. Alternatively add a gain plugin to the main output and add 4dB there.

This is assuming you don't want any compression/limiting. Even though it's classical, my inclination might be to use some gentle limiting if the tracks need bringing up to the same peak level as comparable commercial releases in that genre.

However if the racks are going to be mastered at a mastering studio, I'd leave them all exactly as they are.

Lotus 7

Thanks Pete,

I suspect you're right and that's the best way to do it. I was hoping for a way to automate the process since I will be doing a lot of similar recordings. These are never going to be commercial releases, but are for student demo/publicity packages, so must be faithful to the original performances.

Seems to me that some way of "linking" several tracks so that "Normalize" scans all of them and then applies the same gain adjustment to all would be a useful work-flow feature.