I have just compiled audio from 3 different interviews. What’s the best way to even out the differences in amplitude between the different source tracks?
Every time I try to use Amplify,the already low volume goes to nothing for some reason. The Envelop Tool only seems to let me reduce amplitude not increase it. Why would I want to decrease the “healthy” sections to match the lowest amplitude section?
Depending on the length of the interview and the interaction between the speakers, using either Amplify or the Envelope will probably take forever.
If you use Audacity 1.3.4 there is an effect called the Leveler that might do all the work for you. The Compressor (in either version of Audacity) should also work, but it’s a bit harder to set up. Here’s a topic with a decent set of ballpark figures for the Compressor (it’s a very large ballpark though, so be prepared to do some tweaking):
I don’t know why you seem to be having trouble with Amplify and Envelope, they should not be behaving the way you’re describing. Without knowing exactly what you’re trying to do, I can’t say what’s wrong.
Compression seems to be the tool for you. A word about that. We’re talking about volume compression, not digital compression. Done properly, (and I haven’t messed with the Audacity compressor very much yet) the overall volume of the performance is raised, but the very loudest parts encounter the knee, compression, and attack curve settings which amplify the loud parts less–thereby evening out the differences.
From just a quick look at the control panel, there are a million things to go wrong, some of them hidden. If you have any noise in the same room with the performance, you may find that the voices are perfectly aligned and level, but to get that, the air conditioner noise in the background goes up and down and “pumps.”
There is no “best settings possible” because compression settings tend to change a great deal with the type of performance. You just have to play with the settings. If your entire performance is relatively loud, the whole thing will end up reduced, and if it’s really low, it will never be affected by the tool.
The tool default settings could work first time out. Have a good time.