Creating equal, appropriate volume on multiple tracks


I am going to be performing at a nursing home and would like all of the karaoke tracks I use to be close to the same volume, with not much variance either between the tracks or within the same track, so that most everyone can hear the music at all times and I don’t have to constantly adjust the volume. What is the best way to do this?

So far, I have seen recommendations to

  1. Normalize, and remove DC offset
  2. Use the “compressor” tool. In compressor, I brought the threshold all the way down and made the ratio 10:1. That seemed to make the song relatively the same volume throughout which is what I wanted. However, I don’t know how to measure the volume of multiple songs to each other. Since they all start out at different levels, will they all have different decibel levels, or did something I tried in there make them all the same?

I know nothing about decibels or the audio world.

Tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

[u]ReplayGain[/u] or the related [u]WaveGain[/u] or [u]MP3gain[/u] will match the perceived loudness of your music. There is a ReplayGain plug-in for Audacity [u]here[/u]. If you are using an iPhone, iPod, or iTunes, you can simply enable Sound Check, which is Apple’s version of ReplayGain.

Note - ReplayGain does not adjust the volume up-and-down in the middle of the song. So, you still may want to use (dynamic) compression (before applying ReplayGain). Normally, you don’t want to do that because music is supposed to be dynamic (have loud and quiet parts), but that’s a creative/artistic decision you can make.

Do NOT normalize after running ReplayGain because it will un-do ReplayGain. Normalization sets the peak level (so all of the files will have the same peak) but the peak level does not correlate well with perceived loudness. Loudness is more-related to the average level and the frequency content.