combining audio clips of different volumes - equalizing?

I am creating a longer file with many different audio clips of ranging volume. Is there a quick fix to this problem, to get them to a standard and universal range of volume? Is it possible to fix this after all of the clips have been edited together?

You want to push a button and everything is going to come out the same volume.

I would create the show by stacking each one of the clips vertically and use the Time Shift Tool (two sideways black arrows) to shove each clip sooner or later into position (attachment). That way you can easily use all the fade and cross-dissolve tools and use the volume and panning sliders to the left to adjust each clip so it perfectly matches with rest of the show.

If you try to create the show by smashing all the clips onto one timeline you could be there for a long time trying to make everything match.

When you Export the final production, Audacity will melt everything into one stereo show.

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Use Effect > Normalize… when you have the clips in separate Audacity tracks.

This is giving each track the same peak volume. It doesn’t make them sound equally loud.


There are a couple of ways to do this…

1. Manual Method - Use Normalize or Amplify to “maximize” each song (set the peaks to 0dB). At this point, all the songs are as loud as they can go without clipping/distorting, but they may not sound equally loud. Note that many commercial songs are already normalized.

After normalizing/maximizing, select the quietest sounding song as your reference and use Amplify again (if necessary) to bring the loudness of the other files down by ear to match your loudness reference.

2. Software Method - Before loading the files into Audacity, use [u]WaveGain[/u] (or [u]mp3Gain[/u], etc.) to automatically match the volumes before opening the files in Audacity.

Then if the volumes are too low, you may be able to increase them… Load the files into Audacity and run the Amplify effect. Make a note of the amount of boost you can give each file (if any) before hitting 0dB, but cancel the effect before making any actual changes.

If any of the files already have 0dB peaks, you can’t go any louder (without clipping/distorting) and you are done.

If none of the files hit 0dB, this time choose the file with the highest peak (the closest to 0dB) as your reference. Increase the gain of this file so the peaks hit 0dB.

Increase the other files by the same amount. (The other files may not hit the 0dB maximum, but since they are all increased by the same amount the volumes will still match.)


NOTE - The ear is usually better than software, so the manual method is usually better if you have a small number of files. And, with the software method, you still might want to check the loudness by ear.

combining audio clips of different volumes - equalizing?

Just FYI - In audio terminology, “equalizing” usually means frequency equalization (boosting or cutting the bass or the highs, etc.)

I’d call what you’re trying to do “volume matching”. Sometimes people call volume matching “normalizing”, but as has been discussed, normalizing usually relates to the peak levels which don’t correlate well with perceived loudness.