eliminating spikes in live recording

On some live recordings, I have some peaks or spikes. I’m trying to eliminate or reduce them so I can amplify the entire track more, but wondering the best way to go about it.

I can “drill down” on each spike and delete the few offending cycles, or I can use the amplify effect and reduce a small section by -3db or whatever. Is there a better way to go about this? Something I can apply to the whole track at once, like clipping the track to +/- 0.5db to catch the spikes but not the audio?

And can I make my own key-binding to get to Effect->Amplify with a hot-key?

Thanks to all…Lyle

If you’re only wanting to reduce the spikes by a few dB then you could use this “limiter” effect: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/peak-limiter/20300/1

Note that the audio should be Amplified/Normalized to 0 dB before using the effect.
The effect should only be used within the normal operating range of the slider.

If you use Audacity v2.0.1, you can apply your own key-binding to almost anything.

Thank you both for the replies.

I’ve got a new batch of live recordings to clean up, and want to attach an example (hope a word doc is ok) to make sure I’m asking the right question. These are music class recordings made with a Zoom H2N, and on Windows 7, I’m using Audacity 2.0.0

  1. The spikes are usually hand claps or outbursts, and I have no interest in their content. But they do prevent me from amplifying the level of the track. I’ve been searching them out, selecting them, then reducing their volume manually. Is this a good place to apply the limiter effect instead? Thanks for the tip about normalizing first.

  2. Does it look like the recording level of my Zoom is set too low? And what’s the level in Audacity I should amplify the level to (or what in the documentation should I be reading).

Thanks again to all…Lyle

Ouch, that’s a big spike.
Try using the “pop mute” effect: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/new-plug-in-effect-popmute/17499/1

For a live recording that it about right. You could possibly go a little higher, but it’s better to be a little too low than too high.

While you are working on the recording I’d suggest just using the default (Amplify to 0 dB).
When you are ready to export the finished product you may want to go a little lower, say -1 dB so as to allow the player a little head room.