Envelope tool vs Effect -> Amplify, vs Compression for interviews...

Windows 10 - Audacity 3.2.1

I recorded an interview of 3 people, interviewer & 2 interviewees. The interviewer is louder than the other 2. My workflow in these situations is typically to delete commercials & unnecessary loud intro music etc. & then to select all of a track & use Effect → Amplify and just use the default amplifier # that comes up. It seems to work well at amplifying the track up to near the maximum level of the loudest portion of the track without causing clipping. Then I typically look at any sections where the volume drops significantly from the average & where warranted, select a portion and do the amplify thing again to bring it up to about the level of the loudest portion.

This can really improve the listening experience, I think, but can be rather time consuming for things like interviews where there is a lot of switching back and forth between the speakers.

I accidentally activated the envelope tool earlier today & when reading through the manual trying to figure out how to get out of it I learned a little & am wondering if that might be an easier, quicker way to try and accomplish the same goal of evening out the volume in these types of situations.

I also noticed in that section that I could use the gain slider on the track to increase the volume. It doesn’t look like moving the slider gives any real time indication of how it would affect the volume levels, however, so that seems sub-optimal. The amplify option seems to optimize the volume. The gain slider seems to require making changes, seeing later what it does & then modifying it again (& again?) to get the same effect.

Alternatively, would using compression from the menus be a much quicker and simpler way of doing so? Would it compromise the sound quality significantly?

Thanks for any help or recommendations.

The Audacity plugin LevelSpeech2 , or the stand-alone software Levelator.

After either of those processes, (which use both use single-band dynamic-range-compression),
the sibilance may become excessssive, then you’ll need a de-esser plugin like desibilator.

Thank you once again, Trebor!

I will check those out. Could be a real time saver for me.