deamplify peaks above a threshold


I have spoken word recordings with a few high peaks (laughter) that hurt with earphones. Hard Limiter will clip them and distorts; Compressor does too much to the rest of the recording. I am currently getting the best results if I select the tips of the peaks and simply deamplify them so they are level with the surrounding peaks. Is there an automation for that?


ps Audacity 2.1.0 on macbook pro i7 with latest Mavericks 10.9.5

A “limiter” is the proper tool for the job, but not a “clipping” type limiter.
Try “Limiter 2” from:
Installation instructions:

Note that if you are trying to produce a professional quality audiobook, you may need to work on your vocal/microphone technique. You should not really need much more than a small amount of compression to bring the overall level up to the required level.

Limiter2 works neat, thanks! I used the default settings.

Even if I set the Limiter below the main voice (that sits close to the mic and is actually good), it even sounds good then, no sharp ess.

In general, can I apply it (Limiter, compressor) multiple times, or should I better undo and enter a bigger ‘Limit to’ value?

The recordings are not professional, but I like them coming out nice. The dynamic range is a bit crazy from 10 dB above noise level (-45 to -30), when people say something from the back, to clipped when everyone is laughing. I’m just editing a bit to make the difficult parts understandable if people want to listen again.

That’s not really a question that we can answer as it depends on the audio that you are working with. Too much compression and/or limiting will sound weird, but with difficult (bad) recording that may be the lesser evil. You will really just need to experiment until you get a feel for how the effect responds - unfortunately “experience” cannot be taught :wink:

okay, I will just try it out. It’s not teachable, very true. I’ve been experimenting with these recordings for two years now and there is no single thing that I can apply to all of them. Best was always to leave them alone as much as possible. This forum help is very useful and much appreciated. Thanks!

Yes that is often the case. There are different schools of thought about this, but in my experience a little bit of processing can often make a big improvement, but a lot of processing can often do more harm than good.