A good thing about old CDs (mid-80’s to early 90’s) is that they were made before releasing recordings with increasing loudness, also known as the Loudness War
One of the reasons some people prefer vinyl or non-remastered CDs is because of less dynamic compression on the older releases.
A lot of them sounded better, but the volume was too low on most of them, and now on some newer devices you can't raise the volume loud enough for older CDs anymore. Great masterings, but too low in volume. So this is a basic tutorial to improve the sound on your old CDs in only a few steps.What you need:GoldWave v5.67
(Free evaluation version)Optional: mpTrim
(Click on the images to see them bigger)1.
After you have installed everything, run GoldWave and load your file.
For this tutorial I used “I’ll Never Know” from the old “Love Letters” CD (ND 89011), previously ripped using Exact Audio Copy
WAV file to preserve the original quality.
As you can tell by looking at the sound graph, the sound is too low. (Peak level: 56%)2.
Next step, go to Effect / Stereo / MaxMatch
Now you can see the volume of the song has been increased, but not loud nor clipped, just a natural sounding recording.Comparison between before and after MaxMatch
So why this “MaxMatch” option is better tan simply normalizing the file?
This command automatically balances the left and right channels and maximizes the volume levels. Essentially, this effect uses the “Match Volume” effect internally on the left and right channels (it makes the volumes of separate files seem similar), then uses the “Maximize Volume” effect (it searches the selection for the current peak volume level. It then displays the level and the position of the level within the file. You can then specify a new absolute maximum volume level. The volume of the entire selection is changed so that the maximum will match that value. A value of 0dB gives you full dynamic range. This is often referred to as "normalizing" the volume).
After processing, the left and right channels will have the same average volume level and at least one channel will have full dynamic range (1.0 or 0dB). Note that it is rarely possible for channels to have the same average and both have full dynamic range at the same time. Typically one channel will have a dynamic range of slightly less than 1.0 or 0dB.3.
Save the changes (I recomend to save it in WAV to preserve the original quality; you can later tranform it to FLAC or whatever format you want).
Now enjoy your song with fuller sound!
By doing this you’ll find that sometimes older remasters/remixes sound even better than recent releases!EXTRA STEPS (OPTIONAL):
In case you saved your file in MP3 (320kbps extremely recommended!), you can do an extra step to give your MP3 an ever fuller sound.
(My version is in Spanish – sorry – but the location of the commands are the same.)4.
First, run mpTrim and load your MP3:5.
Now go to the bottom and press the “Auto” button:
Save your file and now you’re done!
With this program your MP3 won’t lose any quality (it won’t re-encode).IMPORTANT NOTE 1:
If your files are just MP3s, ONLY
do Steps 4 and 5!IMPORTANT NOTE 2:
These steps would also make your loud recordings to sound a little better too, so give it a try.