PreSonus Blog

Friday Tips: How to Normalize Comped Takes

Comping’s goal is to piece together the best parts of multiple Takes (vocals, guitar, etc.) into a single, cohesive part. This involves Studio One’s loop recording, which repeats a section of music over and over during a looped section. You record another Take during each pass, while previous Takes are muted. Doing multiple takes without having to stop lets you get comfortable, and try different approaches. Once you have multiple versions, you audition and select the best sections.

However, when auditioning the Takes to decide which sections are best, it’s helpful to compare levels that are as similar as possible. Normalization is the right tool for this—but while it’s not yet possible to normalize individual Takes, there’s a simple solution.

  1. Right-click on the main, parent Track for the Takes and choose Unpack Layers to Tracks (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: The four Takes right immediately below the parent vocal have been unpacked into four Tracks (color-coded blue).

 

  1. Next, select all the audio in the new Tracks.
  2. Type Ctrl+B and then Alt+N. This normalizes all the Tracks.
  3. Right-click on each Take’s audio and choose Delete (do not delete the Take itself; see Fig. 2).

Figure 2: The Takes have been deleted. The four normalized tracks are below.

 

  1. Select the audio in the new Tracks.
  2. Drag the audio from the new Tracks up, so that they replace where the Takes were (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: The normalized Track audio now occupies the Take Lanes.

 

  1. The empty Tracks are no longer needed, so remove them.

 

  • And that’s all there is to it—now you can take advantage of Studio One’s Take-oriented comping tools, as well as the Listen tool (keyboard shortcut 8), with normalized audio.
  • Awesome, thanks! Though this seems like something to implement as an automated function by Presonus?🤞

  • Jim Saad

    Great tip for sure Craig. Much thanks!

  • Anderton

    That’s one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that PreSonus recognizes a limitation in the current software, and rather than trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, is open to helping users with a solution (albeit a workaround). Besides, you never know where this kind of thing will lead. When one of my tips had a workaround for obtaining a vibrato effect, the developers saw it, and modified one of the effects so it could do vibrato, thus obviating the workaround. Perhaps that will happen here. I think all Studio One users appreciate how attentively the developers listen to user requests, and implement as many of them as they can.

  • Chris Perry

    My main issue is not with Craig’s workaround, per se, but with the fact that this particular tutorial was featured on the homepage of S1. It’s like they are pointing out a limitation of their software with a clunky workaround.

  • Van Haze

    “Why not just activate each take layer and Normalize?”
    Cause this is (currently) not possible in S1 ; the Normalize command doesnt work on Takes, only on Audio Events that are on “real” Audio Tracks, (so not Layer Tracks), hence this workaround Craig showed.
    I agree with you, it’s quite clumsy workflow.
    You could problaby speed it up alittle by making one or two Macro’s that inhibit some steps taken but i would go for a Feature Request: that Normalize would work on Takes also.
    Warm Regards.

  • Chris Perry

    But in the current version of S1 the Normalization of Takes / Events does not disappear when a Layer is not the active Layer, just as Melodyne, Event FX, and Gain Trims remain on Events that are in a “hidden” layer. I get that Loop Recorded Takes are all part of the same audio file thus will be Normalized to the peak of the entire audio file, not the take. So… just activate layer, and make a Macro to “Bounce then Normalize”. Super fast!!

  • My Pet

    Handy as a pocket on a shirt! Very Cool!!

  • Anderton

    @maximilliankeene:disqus Maximillian, you nailed it. 🙂 Another issue is if some time elapses between doing takes. It’s rare that you’ll get the same level, and comparing takes at different levels is like comparing apples and oranges. Maybe at some point Takes will stay normalized even when they’re not active, but until then, this is simplest way I’ve found to get around the issue.
    @disqus_b1h5NBoRGv:disqus All comments are helpful! Sometimes I assume people know the problem that I’m trying to solve, but I need to remember that’s not always the case with a program as deep as Studio One. A more complete introductory paragraph to set things up would probably be a good idea for future tips.

  • Maximillian Keene

    Chris, there are a bunch of reasons to want to normalize takes. For example say you changed a setting after the first take but want to keep the first take (in case there was some magic there) but now the first take is a different level than the rest. Or the singer took a step back in one of the takes and it affected the level.

    If you normalize the the active track it only stays normalized while that track is active. If you select a different take and then go back its no longer normalized. I prefer to use event gain but its the same concept.

    I hope that cleared up why this is a handy tip

  • Chris Perry

    I can’t believe that this tip was “featured” in Studio One start page. Why not just activate each take layer and Normalize? Seems like less/same amount of work, and less convoluted. And why would you even need to Normalize 4 vocal takes recorded in loop? Maybe trim the gain of each Event after comping?? Don’t mean to be all negative, but this one got me haha!!