hi, i have about 300 sound files with various max. gain level each. i need all sounds to have a max. level of -10dB. i'm thinking the best way to do that would be batch process all sounds through a limiter with a threshold set at -10dB, would that do?
If you use a limiter you are changing the audio. If you normalize you are just changing the amplitude, so this is the best way.
Remember though, there is a difference between level and perceived loudness. What are the sounds and what are they for?
Adobe Audition CS5.5 has a match volume function which does exactly what you are looking for. The files can be normalized by rms, peak or perceived loudness. Just set the process and the value you want to reach and drop the files in the box... you're done! Batch process are multithreaded in Audition CS5, it goes really fast on multi-core cpus
Nugen has a very cool piece of software called LMB (Loudness Manaagement Batch Processor). It will normalize your files to a loudness level using the BS.1770 spec, and will also allow you to set peak limiting levels as well. It ain't cheap ($999 through their site), but it might be worth looking into if it's something you have to do on a regular basis.
You can also batch process in Audacity. Set the chain of different processes you want to do Like limit, normalize and convert to MP3, for example, and then precede. And its open source. :)
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Barbabatch can do exactly what you need. http://www.audioease.com/Pages/BarbaBatch/
Blindingly fast, excellent conversion quality.
Can also batch fades, gating, etc. as well as convert to scores of file formats and sample rates. Highly recommended.
Also has a demo version.