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  • HOW TO: fix low voicepack volume

    Hi there,

    Im positing this in case it is of any help to others out there facing the same issue as me - when you have multiple voice packs installed, the different volume levels on each one can be frustrating.
    Doing a quick search on these forums revealed others were having the same problems but with limited solutions for a fix.
    Previous forum posts on the subject...
    http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/forum...olume-question
    http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/forum...ega-voice-pack
    http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/forum...ce-than-others

    So, doing some audio editing for part of my job, I decided to turn some tools on the problem and fix it myself.
    Here is how if anyone else would like to do the same.

    1. Firstly, backup all your HCS voice pack(s) folders and sub-folders. You are going to be editing the actual MP3 files, so grab a backup incase it all goes wrong!

    2. you did backup, right?

    3. download and install a free Windows application called MP3Gain. Dont worry, there is absolutely no adware, spamware etc with this. Its a great little audio levelling tool from the Windows 7 days that still works well and is completely open source.
    http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/download.php

    If you've never installed MP3Gain before, then I recommend downloading the Full version (this contains the additional Microsoft VB runtimes that it needs)

    4. run MP3Gain

    5. We want to tell the app to look in (and process through) all subfolders, so click Options and ensure "Add Subfolders" is ticked.

    6. Click Add Folder, and point it to the root HCSpack folder for the voicepack you want to level, then click OK.
    NOTE - MP3Gain is going to go through every file in it and lift out all the MP3 files. This could take a while depending on your system. eg. the Astra pack has over 5000 individual files!
    No files are actually edited/changed at this point though.


    Example:
    I have Astra and Orion installed, so for me I navigate to my VoiceAttack folder, then - "./Sounds/"
    Its here where you should find an HCS... folder for each voicepack you have installed.
    Astra = "./Sounds/hcspack/
    Orion = "./Sounds/hcspack-ORION/

    Just choose one of these voicepack folders at any time.

    7. After all the files have loaded in, you should see a list of them in the main app window. Just above this, set the "Target "Normal" Volume:" to whatever value you want.
    The Science part....
    You kind of want to make sure that MP3Gain doesnt have to jump the volume too far up or down. The bigger the difference, the more processed the audio file, and the flakier the results.

    What I did was a quick comparison of my two voice packs - Astra & Orion.
    Orion (being the much quieter of the two) drops to as low as 81.0dB for certain files, while old shouty Astra got to as hgih as 98.5dB in places!

    Therefore, I chose 90.0dB as my target, hoping to bring Orion up a little, and Astra down a bit, to prevent either pack being over-processed and reducing fidelity.

    The good thing is you can enter a target value, and MP3Gain will highlight in red any files where the jump may be too much and clipping may occur.
    Clipping is bad and you should try to avoid it where possible. I accepted a small amount but thats personal preference.


    8. Click the Track Gain button and let your app grind through all the files. It takes a while depending on your system. (a % complete indicator is shown throughout the process in the Window title bar of the MP3Gain app)

    9. Make tea, eat biscuits, and buy more HCS voice packs!

    10. When the progress bar completes then you can jump into your game and try it out!
    Last edited by Cardnim; 03 May 2018, 04:54 PM.

  • #2
    Hi Cardnim, that's brilliant! Will try that out an see how it sounds...
    Thumbs up!
    ... it's so dark around me!
    Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
    ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
    CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

    Comment


    • #3
      Good luck bud Let me know how you find it.

      Comment


      • #4
        To Cardnim: Can I ask you some about mp3 Suroundsound? Guess you are the right one for that...
        Had the idea to change the sound files to an mp3 Suroundsound and to give each "crew member" a certain (sound-) place at the bridge..
        For example: HELM is middle speaker, ENGENEER ist back left ....and so on... Is that poss? And how...?
        Last edited by RoundAbout; 03 May 2018, 04:56 PM.
        ... it's so dark around me!
        Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
        ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
        CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

        Comment


        • #5
          Hmmm. yes and no (sorry)
          No because the MP3 files that are packaged with HCS voice packs are only stereo I believe.
          Therefore you dont have the audio streams available to do 5.1 or 7.1 surround.

          However..... if you were so inclined to edit each and every MP3 file, add in the additional streams you would need, and edit them appropriately (flattening the sound on which stream you didnt want) then sure, its possible.
          But wow. thats alot of work... think astra has 5000+ of the blighters!

          A "simpler" way would be to isolate out the voicepacks, and run it through a 3rd party splitter audio tool. This allows you to say "have my music player use speakers 1 and 2" while "email uses speaker 4" and "games use subwoofer" etc etc.

          I have no idea whatsoever if this would even work alongside VA!

          Comment


          • #6
            Please be aware that distortion will be added with this method which is why we don't do it. The process is a lot more complicated than people think but it's not something we are ignoring.
            The Singularity profile - One profile to rule them all and at HCS we bound them

            You see, TheThingIs, eventually you'll be allright.

            Comment


            • #7
              Totally agree.
              Use with caution!

              Comment


              • #8
                Thx for your help and advices. Just the idea sounds so good. It could be so nice to let the "space in your ship" growing.. sound wise...
                So thx again!
                ... it's so dark around me!
                Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
                ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
                CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Cardnim . hello TheThingIs ,
                  I did it! Had a few cups of tea ;-) and it works.

                  Here my report:

                  a) files on "C" are "read-only" so I did 2x backups on "D": one for "2. you did backup, right?" YES! ;-) and the 2nd backup to "gain 90%"
                  Yep, it takes time but for exp. ELI with 4728 files read in and write out took me 9 min 21 sec (this numbers just for the report)

                  b) with this your change "some impressions of teh voices or sounds" - I think. So I have to check this out while playing and will swap betweeen the orginal and gained version.

                  c) the sound for "route plotting" (fill in the text in Galaxy map): have to check where the sound comes from (or which file IF it is HCS). I had the feeling it sounds much louder as I wished.
                  Means: It could be that "some mp3 sounds" should be like they are, otherwise they are to loud... I think.

                  "Surround-Test"
                  I took a "3rd part sound software" (freeware) and used 5x mp3 files from ASTRA out of folder:

                  "Sounds\hcspack\Elite Profile sounds\Acknowledgements\((RS - Acknowledgements Captain))\non-verbose"

                  and changed each 5x filesthe to "STEREO 80% more right". Will exchange them in the sound folder and see IF it makes a difference IF "she/it" speaks - sound wise - more from the right side...

                  I know, I have a backup! I can go back. Just a try IF this makes all sence and doest not confused while gaming... (Exploration / Traiding)

                  Thats all. More netx, if you like...
                  ... it's so dark around me!
                  Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
                  ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
                  CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    RoundAbout Great to hear that you got the files processed.
                    Im hoping when you get a chance to try them out properly in game that the experience is a good one for you. It has certainly helped my enjoyment alot when most sounds are around the same level.

                    Will be very interested to hear about your 3D experiments, please keep us posted!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RoundAbout View Post
                      .... and the 2nd backup to "gain 90%"
                      P.S. - this line in your explanation. Does that mean 90.0dB? I didnt see an option for % in the app (and would worry about using such a feature)

                      Asssuming you mean 90.0dB then this may not be the best way to go.
                      I have no experience with the ELI pack at all, so I dont know if it is loud, quiet, or whatever. However, judging by my ORION pack (which was my quietest) - this averaged out at around 82.5dB for all the vanilla files (ie. unchanged from what HCS supply)

                      If I had pushed this pack all the way up to 90.0dB I would expect some fidelity loss, and general nastiness to be introduced into the audio - something I would not want.

                      Thats why I took my two packs, and raised one (Orion) up by 5dB, and Astra down by 5dB in order to make sure that no one pack was having to make huge changes to the audio.
                      This seemed to work really well.

                      If, after testing your own files, you find that the results arent what you hoped for, you can maybe try the above with your own voicepacks to achieve better results.

                      NOTE - The MP3Gain application has a great feature for helping you calculate the average of all your voicepack files - just click the "Track Analysis" tool after importing your files.
                      It will then show you the volume (in dB) of every mp3 file.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        please be aware that a full update, incl the sounds, is due at the end of the week....so you'll have to do this again next week. As always, we are continuing to find a proper and permanent solution ourselves.
                        The Singularity profile - One profile to rule them all and at HCS we bound them

                        You see, TheThingIs, eventually you'll be allright.

                        Comment


                      • #13
                        Hi TheThingIs , looking forward to the updates - always! And thx for the advice again.
                        It's just experimental, learning and fun too.
                        So no worries! I'm fine even if I have to do it again...

                        Just working on "my VR-Sound-6DOF-Space-Vision"... lol
                        ... it's so dark around me!
                        Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
                        ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
                        CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Hi Cardnim , Oh yes, you are right... I ment 90db! That what you just mention about +/-5db seems to be the better solution.
                          Maybe thats way the voices lost there "temperament" ...Always good to have a prof around ;-) thx!

                          So I have to do it all again... TheThingIs : yep, you told me so...lol

                          The so called 3d-Sound:

                          Found the "Nyquest-plug-in" for the sound software with an option "Center_to_Right". Actualy not bad for "tell me more in my right ear ASTRA"

                          Here are the parameters:

                          New Left Channel:
                          Left mix = 50 %
                          Right mix = -50 %

                          New Right Channel
                          Left mix = 50 %
                          Right mix = 50 %

                          The few single files I've done are nice. But at the mo' they didnt made it into the game. Was busy on the CG ... and there is a life on SOL as well...lol
                          Didnt got the "chain"-batch-thing running with this software to day. So no "on the fly-converting" but getting step by step closer to the target...

                          There are more Nyquest-function available including:
                          dublicating stereo files, splitting them into mono, pulling bass out of them and merge them to "something". Not sure if this can get a "3D-something-sound" at the end..

                          Anyway: to adjust the sounds for "my crew on deck" means as well there are other things to do:
                          - where do they work/where is there desk?
                          - what mp3 files belong to which "work desk"?
                          - ... and in which folder are they located?

                          And - I think Gangrel mentioned it - when I "move ASTRA's work desk" - for expl. Means I have to do all the sound versions for each position in the room for each crew member
                          And there are 4! at the moment :-(...

                          5000 files x 4 crem members x 6 "work desks" ... OMG!

                          Or what about this sound: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dummy_head_recording lol

                          Fly save! More next!...
                          ... it's so dark around me!
                          Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
                          ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
                          CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Report: #3 "sound stuff"

                            1) Hello TheThingIs and hello to the team of HCS:
                            BIG THX for this brilliant software. So working on your mp3 files doenst mean I dont like it. The work is brilliant and helps me a lot while playing Elite.Dangerous+Horizont... and it pushes the fun to play!
                            Looking forward for the coming updates you mention in the email to day. "Carina" is coming on deck soon. Would love to get a "peek for my ears" - if poss

                            2) Hi
                            Yep, you where right! I checked all 4 packs (ASTRA, ORION, ELI and KATE) and sorted with "Track Gain" and choosed only the one which are +/-6db and adjusted them to 90db.
                            This means as well: I left the file "typing*.mp3" for RoutePlotting (GalaxyMap) unchanged (as HCS deliveres) and this sounds better - than the 90dp-version.

                            3) there is another way in this mp3gain tool (I guess): I could choos all "lower db" mp3 files (lower than -5db) and tune them up with "+5db". And so as well the other way around (louder than +5db) and reduce them with -5db) - Is that right?

                            Anyway: Most of the mp3 files are now around 90db. Some sounds are lower or higher, but I would say this is for expression, art and ment to be like this.
                            I'm fine with the result so far. Thumbs up and thx a lot again!

                            By the way: I used the mp3gain as well on my "sound add-ons" like the one from "JFK quotes/ NASA Moon" or an "Air Safety Announcement"... helped a lot..

                            4) Cardnim "3D-sound" is still on the list. No clue how to do "center_to_right" or "center_to_left" in batch modus with "audacity" (option "chains")
                            Any other tool you know does this in batch modus..?
                            OR can you tag the metadata in the files and befor playing it chooses the speaker?

                            5) "dummy head recording" :-)
                            The sound samples from wikipedia are "creepy". TheThingIs but could be very nice for "HCS-Ship's cat" - I guess - ;-) (hint! hint! hint!)

                            That's all for today!
                            Try to get this 3D-sound working...
                            Fly save!
                            ... it's so dark around me!
                            Thx to my crew: ASTRA, ORION, ELI, KATE, KSAI, JAZZ, CARINA, MIDNIGHT, EDEN, CLEO and VASCO...
                            ...and someone brought this fr***** bird on the ship http://forum.hcsvoicepacks.com/core/...ilies/wink.png.
                            CECIL? It's time for a drink now...

                            Comment

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