how to equalize the volume?

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how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by borsetta » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:39 pm

Hi, I'm new to this forum (and Audacity for that matter) and I'm not a very technical person so this is probably a very stupid question:
Is it possible to change the volume (sound) of my WAV files, so when I burn them onto CDr they all sound the same (volume-wise I mean)?
Now I constantly have to turn up/down the volume because every track sounds different (very loud and very quiet).
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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:56 pm

Probably the best tool if the volumes are that far off is to "normalize" each one. Select > All > Effect > Normalize.

This process needs to be applied to each song one at a time before you make the music CD. Audacity 1.2 will automatically normalize to -3 dB, and the later versions of Audacity let you pick the target (I still use -3dB).

Normalize has no idea what the loudness of the show is, all it does is find the loudest single peak in the whole song and adjusts everything so that one peak just touches -3 dB on the bouncing light sound meters. So it's not magic. Most people want a tool that you can apply to whole CD and it will magically level everything out like that tool in Mac iTunes will do. That's much more complicated and time consuming to do manually and if you're not careful, it will damage the sound.

This is much simpler and effective. If the tool volunteers to remove the DC level, let it do it.

Koz
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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by borsetta » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:11 pm

Thanks for the explanation.
I've done what you said but unfortunately it didn't work - there's still very much difference in loudness between the tracks.

Many years ago I've taped my records onto cassette.
First I had to select them by sound (bass/treble), so that I didn't had to modify that when listening.
Then I recorded the first track twice -> then I recorded the second title over the first track (second recording) while carefully checking the recording-volume meters.
Then I listened if it was as loud as the first track, if not I had adjust the recording volume -> checked again etc.
If it was OK, I rewinded to the end of Track 1 (first recording) and taped it after that (twice actually, to repeat the same steps).
I still have those tapes and listen to them while doing sit-ups etc and I still can't believe how I managed to create such perfect tapes - it was extremely time-consuming though.

But with CD-R's it's not possible to do it like that anyway.
So all I want is a tool that will do this for me, something that would equalize the loudness of all selected tracks.
I mean, they can shoot a rocket to moon, surely they can invent something basic like this?
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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:22 pm

If we were doing this on the moon, we'd be done by now.

If you want that kind of control, I think you'd be very disappointed with the automatic tools. I also don't quite believe that Normalize thing didn't work. That tool will get you very close very rapidly.

Anyway, put all your songs on one timeline one after the other and place labels at the beginning of each one (Control-B or Apple-B). Then you can play one and rapidly switch to another one so you can compare them. Then select the song that needs help (the labels make this easier) and apply the manual adjustment. Usually Effect > Amplify, but possibly Effect > Equalization (tone controls) as well.

After you get the collection to your liking, Export Multiple and Audacity will produce new sound files from each Label and the song following it.

Apply to the CD authoring program of your choice. You might need to change Audacity preferences to 44100/16-bit. Audacity defaults to 44100/32-bit floating and some CD programs don't know about that standard.

Koz
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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:45 pm

Just a note here.

When you tried to get the normalize tool to work, were you in Audacity 1.3? Given that you standardized on -3dB for your work, did you put the characters "-3" in the entry box? or just "3?" We're having troubles with how that tool works.

One of the oddities of open source software is you become part of the development team.

Welcome.

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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by airhendrix » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:23 am

I'd say Normalize it and simply use the "Envelope Tool" to your advantage. Simply make the louder parts slighty bigger than a normalized version and make it fade back into the normalized one. Once you use the Envelope and experiment with it some parts being louder and others softer, you'll know what I mean.

All I'm saying is that you might wanna try the Envelope Tool in the upper left corner lol.
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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by borsetta » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:35 pm

kozikowski wrote:Just a note here.

When you tried to get the normalize tool to work, were you in Audacity 1.3? Given that you standardized on -3dB for your work, did you put the characters "-3" in the entry box? or just "3?" We're having troubles with how that tool works.

It doesn't show where I am...just the title of the audio file.
There is no option to put anything in the entry box, "-3" is the standard.
There is also no option to "amplify" or "equalize", just "normalize" - and no "envelope tool" either btw....
Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I have the free edition of Audacity?

Anyway, even after normalizing, the "loud" files look like one big blue block, while the more "quiet" files are much smaller -> and the same goes for the light-blue innerline.
So, maybe I'm being very simplistic here, but the only way to create a similar sound is to equalize the size of these light-blue innerlines, and that is not possible.
I'll probably land on the moon first before I will be able to create the compilation of my choice :mrgreen:

Nevertheless, I'm very impressed with all the other stuff like editing, pitch control and the click removal tools. Absolutely love it! (and at least something I understand lol)
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Re: how to equalize the volume?

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:55 pm

borsetta wrote:Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I have the free edition of Audacity?

That has nothing to do with it - we ALL have the free edition. Apart from some expensive unauthorised pirate copies, Audacity is free open source software. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/license

If there is any doubt about where your copy has come from, go to the main Audacity web site and download a new copy. I would recommend the 1.3 beta version as it is considerably more up to date, with many great new features.
You can download ity here, and there are also installation instructions. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/beta_mac

The best way to learn how to use Audacity, is to play with it, but there is also a huge "help" resource in the Audacity wiki http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php? ... _Home_Page including a load of tutorials: http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php?title=Tutorials

Possibly one of the most important pages to read is this one: http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php? ... ement_Tips
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
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