Audacity Fade effects

I think that publicising it more widely would be a good thing.
I’m not totally happy with that effect but to develop it further really does require user feedback from people that are actually going to use it. I’m quite happy to develop it further if there is feedback from users. If there aren’t any users of that effect, then why not? What needs to be changed to make it a useful and accessible tool for shaping dynamics? If there’s no user feed back then it will stay as it is.

Does that need to be decided first?

What if the “cross-fade” effects were removed - would people complain? What would they complain about?
I doubt that their complaints would be that actual cross-fading is more difficult or less convenient.
They may complain that they want to have a non-linear fade “shape” that goes the opposite way to the logarithmic fade of the Envelope Tool.
What do users want?

The fade tool that I would want is a “versatile” fade with the following features:

  1. Ability to fade to a level other than silence (specified in dB).
  2. A choice of fade “shapes”, preferably adjustable, which include:
  • Linear (default)
    • “Concave” (as the logarithmic fade of the Envelope Tool)
    • “Convex” (opposite of "concave)
    • “S” shaped (Sine)

As such a tool is a “two click tool” (requires user interaction), I’d prefer that it included both fade-in and fade-out options (so that it is listed only once in the menu).
When Audacity has better plug-in management (for example, customisable effect categories), then I’d probably prefer separate fade-in and fade-out versions (one less click to select the required fade type).

Perhaps we could publicise the pseudo “log fade-in” trick that I described to waxcylinder (as a tip on the wiki?):

The lack of “Preview” in Nyquist effects is a major drawback for many effects.
Adding “Preview” would arguably be the single greatest enhancement that could be made to Nyquist plug-ins.

How do we get a developer interested?

I’ve been using that trick now to good effect - and as I have a k/b shortcut for Fade-In repeated use is a breeze and no trouble at all.

Furthermore you’d have to physically prise Pro-Fade-Out out of my hands and off my PCs now - I would not want to give it up! I really do want to see it released in mainstream Audacity so that more users can benefit (it;s a little hidden/buried from most forum readers in the Nyquist sectio - and those users who aren’t forum users will not see it at all, which is a shame).


I think there are several use cases for a Nyquist fade tool, which is why this is a hard choice to make.

If you want to know what VI users would like it would be best to post on the Audacity4Blind mailing list ( ). I’m a moderator on that list but I am not sure what they want. I suspect they just give up on complex manipulation of amplitude within tracks.

Feature Requests has lots of votes by implication for customised fades and/or text envelope.

New controls for start and end amplitude - quick linear fade to target volume from say 0.8 to 0.2, much simpler and quicker than the Envelope Tool (and VI-accessible) (25 votes)

  • Additional Choices of dB or % gain, and linear or logarithmic (8 votes)
  • Should include multiple envelope points (4 votes)

Probably the 25 votes overestimates the demand for the dreaded fading to a target because that idea was bundled into the description, but you can assume at least 15 people like the target fade idea in principle.

If you extrapolate into the equation the known criticisms of Envelope Tool as being “too fiddly” (some of which criticisms are I am sure not addressable in a GUI envelope because it would dumb it down too much), then I think there is a strong case for text envelope. If it is not ready to be shipped with Audacity, then of course it should not be shipped. What is wrong with it as it stands now?


There seems to be little user pressure for this but I added a couple of Votes (yours and Bill’s according to to .

Sometimes lack of Nyquist preview can be useful as a way to encourage a built-in effect to be provided, but that is not a reason to avoid doing it.

What are the technical obstacles - have you asked Roger? Would the Preview be less responsive than preview of other types of effects?


There is nowhere to put it on the Wiki at the moment as far as I know. But I see no reason not to mention this pseudo log trick in the Manual at We could put that and “For a more customizable logarithmic fade, use the Envelope Tool on the Tools Toolbar” in a hint underneath Fade Out, and say it applies to Fade In and Out.

But a decent Wiki page on the whole subject of fades, different fade shapes and when to use each could I think be a real boon.


Yes what to replace the two Cross Fades with is an important question.

Maybe they want repeat access without a dialogue to a fade shape (or a set of them) that they use regularly. This is another reason why shortcuts for particular settings of effects are important. If we get that then only one Fade in and one Fade Out that works without settings should be all that we need, and “Pro Fade Out” could be available in a Fade effect. I still don’t like having a one step pro fade out with no fade in equivalent - it just seems unbalanced to me.

Also see my other reply at .

Apart from the question of how much demand there may be for a “text envelope” and “target fades” I think the demand for the following is clear:

-fades other than to/from silence
-choice of fade shapes
-some way to get back to a “good” shape
-a good cross-fade that whatever it does, works with audio on the same track .

What isn’t clear is how many plug-ins are needed to accommodate these requests.

If we accept the two current Cross Fades are a liability, then we have two “slots” available without increasing the number of plug-ins at all.

With the two current Cross Fades removed, I would be happy with one Cross Fade effect and one Fade Effect, with an alternative option on having two fade effects - a “simple” fade effect (based on Fade by dB?) and a “more complex” fade effect (which I think should include a text box to enter envelope points and should be advertised as some kind of amplitude adjustment and not as a Fade effect). I can’t see a good case for two Cross Fade effects.


It’s rather like “going out” and “coming home”.
Many people program “coming home” into their Sat Navs, but it isn’t practical to program every type of “going out” into the Sat Nav.

(I don’t have time to respond to your many other excellent points right now - I’ll come back to them)

Having worked this new fade (and Steve’s multi-fade-in trick) for a while now, let me add my futher 2c worth.

The “Pro Fade” which is an out-fade gives a much more satisfactory fade-out to musical pieces than the traditional linear fade. You tend to work it on much longer sections than a fade-in (2-10 seconds typically). There is a “magical trick” in there based on real-world studio practice which Steve explained to me (and made me promise not to reveal) which gives a better sound - much more like the fades you will experience on music CDs. It works well both in situations

  1. where you have a DJ talking over the end of a track where no fade currently exists
  2. fading out to proper silence an LP track which has already been hardware-faded my a recording or mastering engineer.

For the start of LP tracks you normally need a very much shorter fade, just to transition from the new true silence to the start of the track - and in doing so you want to avoid the chance of an unwanted click. For these type of fades an extremely short linear fade is normally quite sufficient. A Pro-Fade-In could be seen as overkill in this sitiation.

Having said that though I can see that folk might be confused by just having a Pro-Fade-Out and not an equivalent Pro-Fade-In. I assume that I’m right in thinking that it wouldn’t be too hard to reversed the code steps and make an “in” from the “out” :question:


As I (and others) have said before, the Envelope Tool could be made a lot less fiddly if linear transitions were available, either as a preference or just a straight replacement of the current logarithmic transitions. I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say anything nice about the use of logarithmic fades in the Envelope Tool.

The “Text Envelope” works fine, but I suspect that it may be a bit too complicated. It can be quite tricky to think of volume changes in terms of seconds (or any other units). For mouse users the Envelope Tool, if equipped with linear fades, would be much easier to use than either the current Envelope Tool or the Text Envelope plug-in. For non-mouse users we really need feedback about usability and whether it could be improved. My dissatisfaction with the tool is really just about the absence of user feedback. I can’t get very excited about an effect that I don’t use myself, unless I know that others find it useful.

Yes and that is reflected in Feature Requests. But I’m on about something more fundamental than that, which is about things like:

  • Why you change the envelope so easily if you click over the top or bottom blue line (I think it is impossible to click the bottom line with the line equidistant between the top and bottom of the envelope pointer, because the pointer changes to track height modification)
  • Perhaps some of these people are trying to move the whole envelope down by the same amount (you can’t)
  • There is no clue to what exact level you are setting an envelope point
  • Unintuitive method of amplifying outside the envelope (one would think you would continue dragging at the top or bottom, but that removes the envelope points. Even when you work it out you have to zoom vertically to see what you are doing and the amount of extra amplification is limited.
  • Confusion over having amplitude changes that aren’t rendered yet.
  • People who have low vision
  • People who can’t or don’t like using mice for precise manipulation

I certainly don’t find that tricky as a sighted user who can see the Timeline.

I find Text Envelope more intuitive than Fade by dB (where a positive amplification reduces the amplification for a fade in) and certainly Text Envelope is more powerful than Fade by dB.

Maybe the Text Envelope as currently labelled is too complex for some of the target audience for Fade by dB, but not I think too complex for anyone who wants to consider envelope points at all.

I think it would be a mistake to think that Text Envelope would never be easier for, or preferred by mouse users. For many simple jobs I strongly prefer Text Envelope.

Do you want to write to the Audacity4Blind list or should I see if I can get any input there about working with multi-point envelopes?


Thanks Gale. I’ve subscribed and posted to the Audacity4Blind list, but if you have or can get any additional feedback please let me know.

I’m not sure that it would be so easy for a non-sighted user. Hopefully some user feedback will clarify that.

I have other versions of “Fade by dB”.

The published version where a positive setting reduces amplification for a fade in is admittedly quirky, but once you get the hang of it, is extremely quick and convenient to use.

Other versions are more conventional by including a separate control to select fade-in and fade-out, but that is one extra click every time you need to change it.
There are also more powerful versions with additional features such as alternative fade shapes.

The difficulty with fade plug-ins is not in the coding, but in deciding on the feature set and GUI implementation.

I’m still looking for a good description for this type of fade (suggestions please :slight_smile: )

Sword blade?

It reminds me of an old-fashioned pen-nib.



I strongly recommend the implementation of Text-envelope in the standard audacity installation. I was really happy, when I stumbled over it some years ago. If you’re low-sighted its much more frustrating to have no possibility to modify the envelope than using a plug-in that up till now works on a destructive basis. I don’t believe it to be to complicated, there are other plug-ins which are much more difficult to get familiar with.
there’s a little confusion about the commas and decimal points and the allowed seperators. First of all, in switzerland, the decimal point is used, so no need to lump all Europeans together regarding the usage of the comma. Which seperator one wants to use is certainly a individual preference, I like seperation by spaces the most. For myself, I’ve expanded Text-envelope in order to use it as an pan-envelope as well (since it can’t be achieved otherwise without a mouse). The percentage determines the position of the signal in the stereo field. For “normal” users it may be better to create a seperate plug-in on a text-envelope base, where the choice of dB/% can be omitted.
In the actual plug-in, as it is, I miss certainly the different curve-types. I always have to pre-calculate the input for the text-box in excel if I am in need of a logarythmic, exponential, gaussian, LaPlace or other type of interpolation. Therefore, an additional multichoice with, let’s say, two other curve styles would be nice. Standard tasks as fade-in and (pro-) fade-out could also be included in this box. Of course, it should be clarified that the other inputs are ignored.
I hope this feed-back helps a little.

I’m in no doubt of the usefulness of some kind of “text envelope” not only, but especially for blind, partially sighted and other non-mouse users.
As non-mouse users have no other way to modify the envelope (other than compression) I think that accessibility must be the overriding priority with this effect.

The question is in getting the balance right between providing enough features and flexibility without it being too cumbersome.

After some very useful feedback from the Audacity4Blind, the current version seems to have a lot going for it and is at least close to that balance.
It seems that the main use is when there is a need to make a section go to a different level, then back again.
The “Manual Duck” effect ( ) is also quite popular, though a little less flexible in some ways.

What I have in mind at the moment is to go somewhere between these two effect.

Q. Would a “text envelope” effect be sufficiently flexible if it had just three sections to the envelope?

The Manual Duck effect fades from the initial level, to a new level (section 1), then remains at that level (section 2) before fading back to the original level (section 3).
What I have in mind is a similar 3 section envelope, but in which all “control points” can be set to any value:

Essentially this means that there is a fade at the start of the selection (Start Fade), and a fade at the end of the selection (End Fade).
The section between the Start Fade and the End Fade is an extrapolation.

  • Initial gain level of Start Fade
  • Duration of Start Fade.
  • Final gain level of Start Fade.
    (Extrapolate from end of Start Fade to the beginning of End Fade.)
  • Initial level of End Fade.
  • Duration of End Fade.
  • Final gain level of End Fade.

I think that this would cover the vast majority of user cases.
If more fade points are required, the effect could be repeated section by section along the track.

As with the full version of “Manual Duck”, a choice of fade shapes (linear, log, sine) could be available.

Would this be simpler?
Would this be sufficiently flexible?
Would the “fade shape” need to be individually selectable for both Start Fade and End Fade, or would it be a global option? I think I’d prefer individual selection, with a clever choice selected automatically for the extrapolation.