Imported audio level

Hello all!

I’m in the process of remastering some stuff an old band of mine did for re-release, and I’m running into an issue in regards to imported audio and the levels as interpreted by the track meters vs. the master meters.

The original material’s levels aren’t as even as I’d like, so I’m attempting to adjust them so they’re more uniform. For some reason, though, the imported audio’s track levels always peak right at -0.0, while the master says it’s also at -0.0, but the red goes well above that for the master.

I also have a couple tracks that are noticeably louder than the rest, and they also do the same (it seems like they’re limited or compressed by looking at the meter, as they continuously ride “hotter” than the rest, but still peak out at -0.0. I can tell, however, that they are in fact louder. They go way farther in to the red on the master meter, but still show as -0.0 for some reason.

I feel like something’s not quite right. The original files have almost no compression on them, so I should see lots of variance. I’m sure I’m missing something simple.

This is Ardour 4, by the way.


Importing audio into ardour does absolutely NOTHING to change the levels. The sample values remain identical to within a precision roughly on the order of the noise level of brownian (atomic) motion.

By default, Ardour 4.0 uses a K-meter, not a peak meter, in the master track. You should not execpt to see the same meter behaviour.

Thanks, that seems to explain why I’m seeing what I’m seeing. What would be the best approach to do what I’m trying to do? Is Ardour not the best tool for this? I suppose Audacity would work just fine, but I was thinking of adjusting some of the EQ settings, etc., so I thought Ardour would be the best choice.

Any additional direction would be appreciated. Thanks!

You can change the meter types to be the same if it makes you happier. They should show the same then.
I don’t see how Ardour isn’t the right tool for the job - it’s not doing anything wrong.

I’m not saying it’s doing anything wrong. I was merely wondering if I was using it as it was intended to be used. I’ve used it many times now to track and record music, but I’ve never tried importing and remastering pre-recorded music.

Thanks for the direction, though!

I’d recommend using a K-meter on the master, and not taking any notice of the track meters. The track meters only matter when you are recording from a mic and need to avoid clipping.

Also read up on the idea behind the K-meter if you haven’t used one before, so you understand why it’s calibrated the way it is. But in the end, of course, your ears are the judge!

Master k meter is really hard to get used it. Its a complelty different scale to the peak meter on the tracks.

If tracks are hitting zero on the peak meters on tracks, the k meter master track is going to be in the red.

It may be helpfullt o use region gain on all your tracks to reduce the level.

Mixing is a complicated art and gain structure combined with stratigic EQ and compression will meld everything together.

Its all in getting everything to have its own space.