Adjusting sound level to equalize 2 parts? Mixer Board?

I have two files that have been recorded at vastly different sound levels.
I have cut & pasted them into one file
How do I adjust the sound levels

  1. to simply equalize them both together
    or what I really need to do in this case is
  2. the low sound level file cannot be changed (it has binaural beats, near subliminal content, etc) so I want to SELECT the louder part and reduce it “by ear” until it is ok.

I read the manual “equalization” page but that’s a complicated looking thing & I tried it but can’t isolate the louder half.

I found the Mixer Board but don’t know how to SELECT only a portion of the file to change.

I have tried reducing the level of the loud file using the Mixer Board, & then saving it before pasting it into the lower sound level file, but it always ends up very loud. Weird.

Starting with the original two shows, set volume, equalization and range at each one individually before you edit into a composite show. Once mixed into a show, it’s almost impossible to clean and do production on one voice without affecting the other, or without damaging the edit transitions.

Pamela software for recording Skype has an advantage of recording the local and the remote voices as separate files. This lets you clean and filter one voice without affecting the other. Then you mix into a final show.

There’s no good alternative. Even if you carefully select each word, the spaces between the words will have clicks and pops at the cut or selection points


There is also a way to edit that doesn’t involve cutting and pasting onto one timeline. You can use the Envelope and Time Shift Tools to cut up two tracks one above the other.

When you want to hear track two, you mute track one or move it out of the way. The advantage of doing it this way is the two tracks are still two tracks and you can select one without the other. Audacity will smash everything into one composite show when you export.


Ya’ll misunderstand. These are Mono tracks. The “soft” portion comes first, then I inserted a few blank seconds, then the “too loud” was pasted in after it.

I have reduced the db by 30 or 30 on the loud one and Saved it, re-opened it, selected All, then copied, then pasted it onto the end of the soft file, and it still remains very much louder than the soft on.

Oh, I should add I’m using OSX 10.6.8 and Audacity 2.0.5. The site is down so I can’t get the newer one right now.

SourceForge stopped hosting us without warning a few weeks ago, just as well considering their long outage.

You can obtain Audacity from us at Audacity ® | Download for Mac OS.


If I install the newer version, will I also have to re-download and re-install the plug-ins like LAME etc?

I think the answer to my first question is “Normalize” ???

How do I adjust the sound levels

  1. to simply equalize them both together

But 2) is what I really need to be able to do; reducing the louder file to match the softer file without changing the softer file.

LAME is a library. No you should not have to re-download LAME.

If you merge the new Audacity folder into the old, choose “Keep newer”. This retains any files in your existing Audacity folder that are not in the new installation and updates files that are in the new installation.


I don’t understand what is stopping you doing that. If the loud part is in one part of a track, click and drag to select the loud part. For that loud part selected on its own you can then use Amplify or Normalize.


Nope, NORMALIZE does not do a thing. The second portion is still the same, much louder than the first part.

OK I got it now. I didn’t know the NORMALIZE would work on just a selection. And then I had to notice that the normalization level you select is an absolute number, not a REDUCTION from the current db level.

It would be a nice feature if you could select one area and have the app automagically determine the correct dB of Normalization to apply to a second selected area, in order to equalize the two. Doing it by eye & ear is a bit of trial & error.

The Low file is about -20, the High file was -6.

New weirdness. I have saved a file where my first two play sequentially, at a good volume level.

Now I am pasting a 3rd file onto the end of that. Except that every time I do it, it does not paste the 3rd file. It copies the 2nd file to the tail end – at the original really loud volume level. WTF is going on here?

If you want a reduction control, use “Amplification (dB)” in Amplify.

Have you tried reading the Manual:

You can use Amplify to see the peak in any selection. The peak is the negative of whatever value “Amplification (dB)” says in Amplify. If you know the quieter section has a peak of -20 dB, choose a “New Peak Amplitude (dB)” of -20 for the louder section.


You cannot import at the cursor. Import the third file, double-click in its blue waves to select it, Edit > Copy, click where you want to paste then Edit > Paste.


It seems the problem is that the 3rd file is Stereo; at least after a while I was getting an error “you cannot paste stereo onto mono” or some such. So I turned my receiving file into Stereo.

BUT the Pasted file put itself below the first file, instead of afterwards… So I guess I learned how to “mix” tracks, accidentally…

Audacity doesn’t have Paste-Import. You have to import the clip and then use the editing tools (cut, paste, copy) to push the two tracks together.

Also note that many tools stop working if you’re in Pause instead of Stop.


Also note that both Amplify and Normalize work on peaks not volume, and over the whole show . So if somewhere in the show there is one very loud sound (gunshot, snapping wood, vinyl record pop), neither tool will do anything. The show is already as loud as it can get.


Both Amplify and Normalize seem to work on a selection for me… :confused:

Or do you mean they take their parameters from the entire track?

By “whole show” Koz means the whole selection. You could be zoomed in on part of the selection and not see the peak that prevented Amplify or Normalize having any effect.