basic question with Audacity capability with movie vids -

Hi - new to everything audacity . I need to know if audacity can import audio from my videos and allow me to separate the music from the vocal soundtrack in a movie when the there is a huge difference and the music is too loud but I still can’t hear the dialogue . I’m not quite sure how to search for this so I posted .

I searched everywhere but couldn’t find any info on where or how to add my info so for now I’ll just include it here .

Host: jcc Kernel: 3.16.0-38-generic x86_64 (64 bit, gcc: 4.8.2)
Desktop: Cinnamon 2.6.13 Distro: Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela
Machine: System: Dell product: OptiPlex 755
Mobo: Dell model: 0GM819 Bios: Dell version: A09 date: 03/11/2008
CPU: Quad core Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q6600 Graphics: Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD/ATI] RV610 [Radeon HD 2400 PRO/XT]

Drives: HDD Total Size: 2000.4GB (53.6% used) 1: id: /dev/sda model: ST9500325AS size: 500.1GB
2: id: /dev/sdb model: ST95005620AS size: 500.1GB 3: id: /dev/sdc model: Name n/a size: 1000.2GB

I installed Audacity 2.0.5 from my package manager ; also Lame 3.99.5+repack1-3 ubuntu1

thank you

I suspect before I opted for open-chest surgery, I’d try to find out why my dialog is too low to hear.

Many movie DVDs are burned with two different audio tracks. One is plain, ordinary stereo PCM. That’s what plays back on my home music/video system which is plain stereo.

But the other is Dolby 5.1 Surround. That’s the one with the killer bass track, all four corners of your room and most importantly, the Center Dialog Track. If your music system is trying to use the Dolby 5.1 audio but there’s something wrong with it, you may in fact be missing the dialog. You can get very close to normal movie sound by just playing Dolby Front-Left and Front-Right and ignoring the two rear channels. Most speaker system have no idea how to do real bass, so nobody will miss that. But the dialog track may be low or missing.

Some systems try to mix Dolby Surround down to stereo. If you have one of those and it doesn’t work very well, that can kill dialog too.

So, no. It’s not normal to have natural movie volume and no dialog.


I’m playing an .MKV file in sm player on my pc. With simple speakers - no dolby or anything else. They are sufficient to hear with. Problem is , when movies are made , the sound track many times is such that the sounds in the movie , cars , trucks , crashes , music etc. , is louder than the dialogue and if I turn the volume up it doesn’t help. The dialogue is there but if I try to turn it loud enough to hear it clearly the other sounds are too loud.
So I would like to learn how to separate them if possible and replace the original audio with an edited one .
When I imported the file into audacity 5 waveforms came up . I I read a lot of the tutorials but they talk about splitting etc. with recorded audio. I think maybe I should record or copy or something with the waveform(s) but I don’t know how to isolate the dialogue out of the 5 waveforms . Am I on the right track ? No pun intended. thanks.

The short answer is, you can’t. An “audio forensics expert” with expensive specialist equipment and years of training and experience can probably do more than the rest of us, but the idea of digging out clear speech from a sea of noise is basically fiction.

when movies are made , the sound track many times is such that the sounds in the movie , cars , trucks , crashes , music etc. , is louder than the dialogue and if I turn the volume up it doesn’t help.

When was your last hearing test? Those are the exact symptoms of someone whose hearing around 3-4KHz is degenerating.


Don’t you notice that all the other " sounds " in movie’s except the dialogue are louder ? not always in every movie but enough to want to change it if I could . Maybe I have hearing loss but I don’t have any problem realizing that there is a difference between dialogue and other sounds. not trying to argue just saying I notice it. Haven’t you? but I guess it can’t be changed. have to live with it. thanks for your replies .

I’m not saying movie effects aren’t loud. There’s a saying, “When your movie is in trouble, blow something up.” I’ve taken that to heart.

The reason I bring up Dolby is the design center of being able, given a good sound system, to directly recreate a jet taking off, a thermo-chemical explosion and a thunderstorm. Dolby is God’s gift to hand grenades and land mines.

However, no producer I know would do anything to damage the dialog they paid millions for. So no, I haven’t noticed that.

Selected Costco stores in the US will give you a free hearing check with the idea of selling you an enormously profitable hearing aid if you need one.


ok . well. I think yer right . thanks

It seems to me that your sound problems lie almost entirely with a combination of your machine specs and SM Player.

I looked up the specs for this Dell. According to their own data, this machine has NO support whatsoever for DTS, Dolby, or mult-channel audio. Likewise there are NO takeouts on the rear for anything other than the standard 3.5mm headphone jack/

I’ve been happily watching movies on VLC on a computer for years with no problems at all. I don’t use SM Player, but imagine that like VLC it has preferences for audio that allow you to control how it handles multi-channel sound within the player, including such features as resampling and adding gain during playback. “Downmixing” (don’t know if that is the correct technical term ;0)) refers to a process inside the player where it works out how to deal with these precise issues you describe i.e. how to render environmental sounds, noises, and balance them out against dialogue and music, all the while respecting a simple stereo output. My computer handles this with ease because the motherboard has built in 7.1 channel support, along with all sorts of features that are standard these days, such as 48000hz sample rates for DVD (as opposed to 44.1 for CD audio), 8, 16 and 24 bit audio, dithering etc. etc. Your machine on the other hand, has none of these features. It’s difficult to see how SM Player is going to have any means of properly handling these multi-channel sounds because there’s not even proper hardware support for the audio that the player can talk to.

One solution is sometimes to add an internal PCI sound card to the computer. Among all the options this provides, such as SPDIF and Optical out, you will find that there are SIX line outs using the 3.5mm jack and which correspond to front/rear - left/right channels, plus bass, plus (the one you’ll want) front center. Using the front center output only into a pair of speakers you will find the dialogue audible while still hearing all the other sounds.