Applying Gain after Limiter?

I have a track that needed a bass and treble boost, but it made it too loud/harsh for listening. I chose not to link the volume to the bass and treble controls, the result was too quiet.

Instead, I applied the Limiter at -6 and was satisfied with the result. Cut out nearly all sharp ear hurting noise.

The thing is, after going back and listening a few times, I feel like the volume is still slightly lower than I’d like.

What would be the better thing to do? Simply apply a bit of gain on the track in the project?

Or go back and Limiter the track to -5, -4, etc.?

Basically, what is the effect of adding Gain after the Limiter? Does it mess with the effect in some way?

Thank you for your time, and love, light, and condolences for Gale.

Win xp, audacity 2.1.3 .exe

Effect > Limiter is a non-linear effect. It can change loud sounds more than soft ones. Amplify and Normalize (sisters) change everything at once. Everything gets 3dB louder (for example) no matter how loud it starts out.

No matter what you do, the blue waves are never allowed to go all the way up and the bouncing sound meter should never go all the way into the red. That’s what gives you harsh, crackling, popping sound.

There’s also Effect > Compressor. That one can make the sound denser/louder.

Remember to save a “clean” copy of your work as WAV (Microsoft). Once you close Audacity, the effects are permanent. We can’t take them out later.


Thank you for the quick reply! I do have a clean copy, thankfully.

Yeah, I preferred the Limiter because it seemed to limit the harsh parts without affecting the softer parts.

So it will be all right to just add a decibel or two to the volume, and the Limiter will stay in effect?

I was just worried that that route would be deleterious to the effect in some way.

Of course, I should just take the time and experiment and see what works best for me.

But I thought I’d check with the experts first :wink:

You can bump up the volume all you want. The only restriction is not to exceed the loudness of the format. The instant the blue waves get too tall or the sound meters go too far up, the digital system “runs out of numbers,” and turns the sound into trash.

There is some protection not to do that while you’re inside Audacity, but the instant you make a sound file or take the show outside of Audacity (post an MP3), overload and loudness damage pops up immediately.

That’s what the sound meters and blue waves are there for. You don’t have to guess when the sound gets too loud, they will tell you.

Turn on View > Show Clipping. The blue waves will turn red when they get too tall (loud).


Applying Gain after Limiter?

Yes… As Koz says, digital amplification is linear as long as you don’t “go into he red”. That means it has no effect on the quality/character of the sound, it just makes it louder (or quieter).

The Limiter has an option to Apply make-up gain, which boosts the volume after limiting, or you can do it as a separate step.