Normalize or not?

I’m making a bunch of note/chord chains from ableton for use on octatrack, I’ve done a few, both normalized and not. Sound-wise the difference seems pretty marginal.
Do any of you have any input on wether one or the other is preferable as far as use for octatrack?

Also if anybody is interested ill see about uploading them in the files here for anybody that wants em
They’ll all be in d# dorian


Good to normalize if you plan on automating the sample start / slice # parameter.

Otherwise, not very necessary. Plenty of areas to control level in a track.

And yea, I’m interested in hearing those chains! :thup:


Or hey, unless the variance is huge might be a cheap & dirty humanization :stuck_out_tongue:

yea! :smiley:

And LFO to volume, buckle up!

It’ll be for use with slices so ill prolly go with normalize
Planning to get them all done tomorrow night, hopefully will be able to upload some time in the following week


I don’t normalise on OT (24bit)

I try to keep my recordings at a level relative to the mix, level going in is the same going out.

I can’t imagine any situation where I would want any OT channels playing at 0dbfs, I’d have to turn every file down -12/-20db for them to be usable everytime I wanted to use them.

If using 16bit then maybe the higher levels become more important

Oh ok, I was doin em at 16bit, maybe ill see how non normalized at 24bit sounds.

Would it be worth while to do any compressor/limiter work before i export, or would that just be nit picking?

I don’t really use commercial sample packs etc, so my chains are mostly made from my own stems which have had eq/compression applied.

If recording chains or loops from hardware then often there’s eq/comp on the mixer

Totally depends on how much effort you want to make on preparations =p sometimes I’m lazy and keep raw, other times it’s a great way to procrastinate

These will all be comin out of serum, so i think ill keep em raw

I’m rusty in these matters… but I’d guess that compression would be more useful here than normalisation. The former could smooth off the dynamics, letting you set a more consistent level across the chain; the latter raises the single highest peak to 0 - everything quieter will still have all the (potentially) wild dynamics it had before.


It depends what the source is.

When I sample loops made on my Pittsburgh, I dont pay any attention to levels at all, then if (and it usually is) I see the waveform is a wee tiny thing after sampling, I normalise. Then I know that the samples made in the same session all have the same peak level. This is useful to me later when I come to actually use the samples.

Same goes for drum sample chains.

Other than that, no I dont normalise.

dude, you’re a gem, much appreciate!

is the idea, if you’re going to slice it, to maximize volume on all the quiet slices?

mostly i use to loop, but would like to know…

Sometimes you want similar levels, e.g. when you have an lfo modulating percussion slices, you don’t want some to stick out while others are bearly audible - but you also probaply don’t want your rimshots at the same level as your kick drums.
It depends on the role the sounds play in the mix and on their relationship.

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I’ve yet to make a sample chain. I’m fairly new to regular sampler practice (the deepest I got in the past was slicing breaks for jungle). In reading about chains on here, I’d developed the intuition that a single chain would function as a single “instrument” (kick variations, chord progressions, mock filter sweeps etc). Do people regularly use sample chains as a bucket for arbitrary sounds?

I love those chains! If I’m bored with specific choices for sounds that I tend to repeat (hats on the upbeat, i.e.), I love scanning a chain of random hits/percs. Always throws unconventional approaches my way that inspire.


Not regularly. But it is fun to have a chain with a heap of random sounds, then doing the usual slice modulation to pull random sounds into your mix whenever. Its “kind of” interesting. Not for me really I think.


alright, i finished my chains, went with normalize and it worked well, honestly, still a bit on the quiet side on my octa.

is it possible to upload a folder to the files here?
i organized it in a series of folders for bass, chords, plucks, then have those in a master folder that you can drop right into octa


I have two found sound chains, stuff like junkyard stuff, pieces of metal, glass etc. which are very cool for background textures if modulated with a fast lfo or random and a few chains with single cycle waves and different types of noise.

Most chains are one instrument, though. Chromatically sampled fm synths, drums, percussion etc.


I know we can upload zipped files, so you might want to try that… I would love to try these out, I’m a fan of chains as well!

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Oh ok, thanks ill try that out