Analyse when exporting shows all red X's

When exporting my mixes with Ardour, the “analyse” function shows all red X’s, meaning my exports are not compliant with any format. I hare read that a red X means the signal is too loud, but I get the same result when lowering the output of the master bus. Is there something that I am doing wrong?


You are likely normalizing on export. This adds/removes gain just like moving the master fader. Top-left in the export analysis window there is an indication of how much gain is added.

What export-format or preset do you use in the Export Dialog?

PS. Depending on your target audience this may be fine. e.g. when exporting wav for CD you do usually normalize to -1dBFS. The Loudness specs are mainly for broadcast/streaming.

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I use the “CD Redbook” format, because my files are for a CD. The result sounds good to me and I then use Bandlab mastering, whick maximizes the loudness even more.

Thank you for your help on this, I was afraid that I had to reprocess all my files to get green X’s.

By the way, is it possible to normalize a whole CD in Ardour? i.e. all songs = same loudness.

Thanks again, Robin!



I think that ‘normalize’ is not the tool that you want to use. (afaik) ‘Normalize’ stretches the dynamics of a piece of audio such that the loudest part just hits the 0dB. If you have a very quiet track, and one loud ‘handclap’ in it, then normalize will ensure that the handclap reaches the 0dB without changing the level of the other (quiet) part.

I think what you need is some form of compression to keep de dynamic range (difference between soft and loud) under control; and then adjust the overal level of the tracks such that the are perceived ‘equally’ loud.


Note that you still want to normalize the result after mixing (using compression or limiter), so that the loudest part reaches (and does not exceed) a given level (usually -1dBFS for CD).

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This is incorrect. Normalize boosts the level of everything so that the loudest part hits (just below) some threshold value (often 0dBFS, but not always). There are dynamics processors that could be used to “keep the quiet parts quiet and make the loud parts louder”, but they are not just simple compressors.


Thanks for your comment. Yet, there is normalization almost everywhere, e.g. in Ardour export or in Windows Media Player when burning a CD. Bandlab mastering (free!) did a good job on my files. They always sound better and louder when mastered with Bandlad. I tested the results using a Linux progam called normalize-audio and the adjustments done by this program are minimal. But yes, sometimes it is best to use a compressor or a hard limiter to maximize loudness.