Attenuating FLAC file

On some FLAC files, when I open them, are way too loud, as a result the waveform shows a lot of clipping, when I reduce the volume (Amplify effect) I end up with truncated peaks. How can I open the track with a lower volume in order the get the full waveform. I want to export the track as a wav file and will set the volume to normal levels.

Overload or clipping (removing the tips of the waves) is usually fatal. The Clip Fix software can sometimes recover one or two peaks, but if you have serious overload and distortion on multiple peaks, that may be the end of the show. Koz

Audacity opens FLAC files exactly as they are. The audio is not “scaled” or “processed” in any way. If the imported audio is clipped then that is because it is clipped in the FLAC file - not much you can do about that. If it is only clipped a little in a few places you can try ClipFix, but that won’t help with badly clipped and distorted audio.

But is there any way of extending the limits beyond the 1.0 and -1.0? If this were possible then the entire waveform would be visible despite the amplitude, one could then reduce the amplitude to within the 1.0 and -1.0 limits with the amplify effect.

Audacity can go beyond +/- 1.0, but FLAC can’t.

You can zoom out to a vertical range of +2.0 to -2.0 by right-clicking on the vertical ruler near the left end of the audio track. Left click to zoom in vertically.

The reason that FLAC (and most other audio file formats) can’t go beyond +/- 1.0 is that they have a finite range of numbers to use.

In the case of “16 bit” formats the ranger of numbers is from +32767 to -32768. These numbers are evenly spaced to give a maximum signal level of 0 dB. In other words, the numerical value that you see in Audacity (in the range +1.0 to -1.0) is equal to the actual numerical value of the sample, divided by 32768. In the case of 24 bit formats, the numerical range is from +8388607 to -8388608, which are also spread evenly to give a maximum range of 0dB. So called “integer formats” cannot go beyond 0dB because they run out of numbers.

Audacity can go beyond +/- 1.0 provided that you are working in “32 bit float” format. The word “float” means that the number system can handle fractions. In float formats, part of the number specifies a “value” and the other part specifies a “multiplier”. Thus float format can represent extremely small values and extremely large values.

The FLAC format supports 16 bit integer and 24 bit integer but does not support 32 bit float.