Amplify whole album or individual tracks?

I’m digitizing my albums. I capture the entire album, remove clicks and pops, then separate the tracks (using fade-in and fade-outs), and then amplify before exporting. My question is should I just highlight the whole album and amplify or should I highlight each song individually and amplify?

When viewing the entire album on one screen, some albums are very consistent in their highs and lows. Other albums are inconsistent. I can see one song with more dynamic range than others. When amplifying an entire album, songs with less dynamic range won’t be amplified as much since it’s one threshold for the entire album. So is my thinking correct that each song should be amplified by itself? Would this make volume more consistent on playback?

Any advice is appreciated.

If you amplify the whole album you are preserving the intentions of the mixing and mastering engineers when they made the LP. If you’d prefer to amplify individual songs, that’s your call. Whatever sounds best to you. I’d recommend amplifying individual songs before applying the fades, though.

– Bill

Bill, thanks for the response. Why do you recommend amplifying before doing the fades? I was under the impression that amplify should be the last step.

And since I’ll be playing back lots of special mixes (playlists) instead of the whole album, I think I should amplify each song separately to keep volume consistent.

Thanks again for the help.

I’m very interested in this too Bill - like Audioguy I’ve always done my Amplifying/“normalizing” as my last step prior to final export and after I have cleaned the inter-track gaps and managed the fades.


After giving this some more thought it probably doesn’t matter if you do the Amplify before or after the fades. You’ll still have fades from full volume to zero, or zero to full volume.

Audioguy, you say you are doing mixes. Are you overlapping the songs? In any case, yes, in your case amplifying each song makes sense since you want the mix to be consistent. But remember that amplifying so that the peak volume of each song is the same, is not equivalent to having each song at equal loudness - this depends on the amount of compression or peak limiting that was applied to each song in the mastering process. I’ve put together a couple of party mixes (with segues - overlaps between songs) and I ended up applying compression to some of the songs to get consistent perceived loudness.

– Bill