3.4.1 anomalies in Volume functions

I downloaded 3.4 and the first time I used it I found Amplify and Normalization to be dysfunctional. Any adjustment I make in those flattens the waveform. Anyone else experiencing this? Is there a difference in how these work?

Thanks for any info/workaround, etc.


Two questions -

What does Amplify default to?

What happens if you Amplify (attenuate) by -1dB? (You may have to select “Allow Clipping” if you already have peaks over 0dB.)

Doug, thanks for your reply. I’m seriously puzzled. I’ve been using Audacity for years to pre-produce a radio program.

Here is the default (image uploaded). I was trying to amplify by -2.0 and it flattened the waveform. -1 didn’t make a dif. The same thing happens in Normalize.

Best regards,

The default of -41dB means you have peaks or noise spikes of +41dB and Amplify will bring them down to 0dB and everything will be super-quiet to the point where the waveform doesn’t show-up.

And Audacity doesn’t show over 0dB so you can’t see those huge peaks.spikes.

On a linear scale, 40dB is an amplitude factor of 100… A signal of 1 Volt amplified by 40dB is 100V (or 0.01V if attenuated by 40dB). It’s a power factor of 10,000 so 1 Watt amplified by 40dB is 10,000W!!!

You can use the Limiter to bring them down to a more-normal level or maybe try Click Removal or Repair or maybe you can cut them out manually, or silence them, etc.

Most formats won’t go to +41dB. Floating point WAV has virtually no upper (or lower) limit, and Audacity uses floating-point internally. MP3 can go over 0dB but I don’t think it goes that high.

Regular (integer) WAV files, audio CD, ADCs (recording) and DACs (playback) are all limited to 0dB.

When you play it back will be limited by your DAC it won’t be super-loud, and visually the spikes look to be short-duration so that also reduces the perception of loudness.

If you export as a regular WAV file, that will limit your peaks to 0dB and open the new WAV file Amplify will default to 0dB of amplification (no-change).

Interesting explanation, I learned a lot.
I will eliminate some of those peaks manually and see if I can then normalize the selection. I will say this: Previous versions of Audacity didn’t behave like this. I might add that I don’t think Audacity is reporting that default accurately. Something definitely seems off, y’think?


Those spikes are VERY unusual. I’ve never seen it before and you probably haven’t either. I’d guess it’s a digital problem-glitch or data corruption.

Where did the audio come from? If you opened a file, what was the format?

Like I said, most file formats don’t go over 0dB. That can’t even happen with a corrupted regular-integer WAV file, but it could happen if there’s a bug in Audacity and it’s getting corrupted after you open it.

Or did you record it?