Direct Editing of Replay Gain Field

There have been many comments on how the audio quality can be compromised when using the Replay Gain feature. After many hours of careful listening, I’ve discovered that most of these problems can be solved by simply editing the replay gain value for a problem track. Typically, this is caused by the replay gain algorithms setting a positive value that causes slight clipping on loud passages.

I’ve successfully corrected this problem by using SongKong (after adding Replay Gain as a primary field) to reduce the positive value a bit or to turn off replay gain entirely for the specific track by setting its replay gain field to 0dB.

It would be a great help if we could directly edit the replay gain values from within Audirvana.

This sounds like a relatively simple UI update that would actually help to improve audio quality!


Hi @BobZ,

You can do it by going in Audirvāna settings:

Thanks for the quick reply. I may not have properly explained my issue.

Yes, you have provided easy ways to invoke the Replay Gain Calculation Algorithm for either an entire album or a selected track. Thank you for including this ability!

Unfortunately, these algorithms sometimes set the replay gain of an individual track to too high of a positive value by following their designed goal of equalizing the audio levels. Re-running the algorithms produce the same too high values and thus do nothing to solve the overload clipping that occur on brief transients that are very noticeable on some recordings.

To correct the limitations of these algorithms, we need a way to manually set a value for replay gain of a specific track to either a lower positive value or set it to 0dB, which effectively turns off replay gain for that track. The improvement in sound quality when clipping is eliminated is significant!

In the past, many others have posted that they needed to turn off replay gain during critical listening. My testing has shown that using your existing replay gain feature during playback does not add any audible distortion unless the replay gain figures are too high positive values.

Currently, you display the replay gain values for each track, but that specific field is not editable.

If we could just be able to enter a new value in that field, (i.e. 0dB or some other value) we could selectively correct the problem, track by track.

As of now, I’ve been using freeware MP3Tag to correct the problem, and it really improves the audio quality, so I know this works.

If it is OK with you, I can reply with instructions to help others overcome this issue using Mp3Tag.

Please let me know if this explanation has been helpful. I’ve been a happy user of your product for many years and still feel that for audiophiles, it is the best product available. Keep up your primary focus on overall audio quality.

Basically I was hoping that you could make the Replay Gain fields editable on the INFOS tab of Track and Album METADATA.

A different kind of question. If an autoreplay gain needs to be adjusted manually, how much? 1dB, 2dB, 0.3dB?

The fact that it is necessary, is there a flaw in the algorithm? If no further processing is active, the file should not clip.

Unfortunately, Audirvana does not have any form of gain indication or a clip counter. The user must hear for himself that a gain problem arises somewhere and then find out for himself what the cause is. Replay gain, DSP, resampling……

Replay gain is a two-step process. First, an algorithm is used to analyze the raw signal’s dynamic levels and it comes up with a numeric gain adjustment value to make the perceived volume level of the track (or album) the same as an established reference. It places this (and sometimes other) value(s) into the “tag” for the track or album. No changes are made in the actual raw audio.

Then during playback, Audirvana uses either the Track Replay Gain value or the Album Replay Gain value (depending on which Replay gain mode you’ve selected) to adjust what you hear.

It appears that Audirvana uses a two-step process for volume control, Replay Gain and User software volume control are done separately, probably for those users who choose to bypass software volume control in Audirvana. Unfortunately, the separate Replay Gain code in Audirvana is causing the problem. Interestingly, for those users using software volume control, if Audirvana just adjusted the user volume control level by the Replay Gain values this would not be a problem!

So for now, I carefully listen to any tracks or albums with positive Replay Gain figures and compare what I hear with Replay Gain On and Off. If I hear any loss of quality, I set the value to 0dB using Mp3Tag, which effectively turns off the Replay Gain adjustment for that track.

I just adjust my Replay Gain values based on the content and how I listen.

There really is no perfect value; all you should be doing is automatically adjusting your playback level to what you want. Ideally, setting Replay Gain should be up to the end-user.

The algorithms that set the Replay Gain value just do a best guess using the overall dynamic level changes that occur during a track or album. This works well for recordings that have a compressed, limited dynamic range. But many recordings, especially classical and jazz recordings, have major volume level changes that are an important part of the actual performance, and the algorithms often fail miserably on these. For example, Ravel’s famous Bolero is supposed to start out at very low levels, but the Replay Gain algorithms often set the level too high!

My playlists contain an eclectic mix of very different types of music, so I use the Replay Gain “Level by Track” setting. In many cases, I’ve manually adjusted the Replay Gain figures in my music collection so that related tracks from an album performance are at the same Replay Gain value to preserve their original dynamic relationship.

Hi @BobZ,

I understand well your point. To summarize it, you want the replay gain value to be editable in our software to avoid doing so in a third-party app, right?

Yes, that is my primary request.

It would allow the user to make a change in replay gain for a track (or album) after pausing a listening session, restart the track and quickly hear the difference. The user could always choose to re-run the automatic algorithm via the existing method you already provide to return to the original values on the same INFOS tab of Track and Album METADATA.

An additional request would be to ask the developers to consider a future improvement to Replay Gain for users who select to use Audirvana’s Software Volume Control feature. If that option was selected, the software could bypass the existing code for replay gain and adjust the levels via the user volume control code. Or you could just move the existing replay gain code to run later in the processing chain after the user volume control code to get more available digital headroom to handle positive values of replay gain. This change would basically eliminate the occasional transient clipping problems that currently compromise audio quality on some tracks when using replay gain with software volume control.

You have an excellent product for audiophiles, but I think that you may be able to improve it a bit here. Thank you for listening to your users.

Bob Z

You always have the option to use a mastering limiter plug-in like this:

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes:

Thanks for the tip. It seems to be reasonably priced with good reviews; so, I’ll probably be adding this and a few of their other plug-ins to my audio toolkit.

I’m currently several plugins from using MeldaProduction:

I’ve set up Mequalizer to provide a manually selectable amount of custom Loudness Correction for my late-night listening sessions, (when I have to keep the dB levels down). I’ve set it to also provide a 6dB reduction in the signal path to give me more digital headroom for downstream processors.

I also use MDynamicsMBLarge (a three-band compressor/expander) to add a very small amount of expansion (at low levels) and slight compression at higher signal levels, which improves transients without causing clipping. Unfortunately, this plugin seems a little unstable when used with Audirvana; it seems to sometimes cause it to crash, especially at startup.

Please paste your Debug Info here, folks will be able to view your settings, etc, so we may be able to provide more insights into the behaviors you have experienced using plug-ins.
Settings → My Account → Help → Debug Info

:notes: :eye: :headphones: :eye: :notes: