Even out volume of voices

I’m a novice. I have a file that has been created by pieces of two recordings and the voice levels are uneven, some louder than others. Is there a way to select the whole file and even out the volume. Or do I have to do it selectively. And if selectivly, how?

<<<do I have to do it selectively. And if selectivly, how?>>>

That’s the best way. There is an envelope tool on the left with the magnifier tool, the pencil, and the snowflake. You can change the volume of the tracks free-form ad-lib down the length of the show.

You can change the volume automatically with Effect > Compressor…

Audacity 1.3 has better tools than 1.2. If you think leveling out your show manually is a pain, it’s nothing to getting the compression settings right. Each tool has at least four settings; attack, release, hold, and ratio. I think there are some presets you can try. It’s not unusual for the compressor settings to be different for different shows. It’s not fun. FM Radio compressors are very different from AM radio compressors.

Ever listen to the same show in your car and then tried to download it, put it on a CD and then listen in the car again? You can’t do it if you have a noisy car. The streaming and the radio broadcast have different compressors.

By the way, this has nothing to do with digital compression. That kind of compression makes your show file digitally smaller for posting on YouTube. This is changing the volume of the performance using the performance itself as the control element–and the show file stays the same size.

Oh, and don’t fall for the siren song of “Normalize.” All that does it allow you to put the loudest part of the show at a particular level. It doesn’t change the content of the show at all.


As koz said, doing it selectively is the best way.

A little “trick” that works for some kinds of material:

Lets say that you have a recording of two people having a conversation, and
person A is recorded a lot louder than person B.
You then want to increase the volume level each time that person B speaks, so that the two voices are at a more similar level.

In this description I am using Audacity 1.3.4 (which is better than 1.2.6 for this type of thing).

  • Import the recording into track 1
  • Create a new track from the track menu - make the same kind as the original (mono or stereo).
  • Listen to the part of the recording and find the first place where person B (the quiet voice) speaks,
  • Select the area where person B is talking and use “Alt+Ctrl+X” to perform a “split cut”
  • Press [Enter] to deselect the track
  • Use the “down cursor key” to move focus to track 2
  • Press [Enter] to select track 2 (the same time period will be selected as previously)
  • Press Ctrl+V to paste Person B voice clip into track 2
  • Repeat this process for each time that person B speaks

You now have 2 tracks with the following:
Track 1 contains the voice clips of person A
Track 2 contains the voice clips of person B

You can now use the volume slider at the left hand side of each track to adjust the track volume.
When you Export the audio, the two tracks will be mixed together.

In addition, certain speakers talk louder than others, and this can lead to differences in
recording volume when a podcast contains multiple participants.
• Normalization
• Amplification

What exactly does that mean?

I have to go through and do each voice separately in the recording?

The quickest way is to use Chris’s Dynamic Compressor plug-in http://pdf23ds.net/software/dynamic-compressor/
This is a Nyquist plug-in.
For information about installing Nyquist plug-ins, see here: http://audacityteam.org/download/plugins

This will usually produce quite good results, but for best results use one of the manual methods described in the previous posts.

OK, these solutions were given in 2009.

Now we have 2013 and audacity has been improved greatly. Is there a way to “automatically envelope” (automatically even) audio levels in audacity, so the louder moments would be silenced and quieter parts would be amplified?

I need this to edit my lecture records, because when the teacher walks in the class, teacher gets closer or farer from the microphone, so the audio volume level always fluctuates from louder to quieter accordingly.

Editing the audio level with envelope tool consumes a lot time and still I find the audio level fluctuating, because in order to envelope faster you try not to zoom too much, therefore you lower the audio too much or too little as it is shown in this example:

Is there a way to automatically even the sound in Audacity?

If not, is there any other software that could do that?

Yes, just as there was in 2009. See my previous post.

It’s 2014, I came to this page after a search for help with the same issue, and felt I should post an update.

Chris’s Dynamic Compressor plugin for Audacity is no longer at the link seen earlier in this thread. It can now be found at http://theaudacitytopodcast.com/chriss-dynamic-compressor-plugin-for-audacity/

Thanks isquiesque.
This is a problem that occurs when ancient topics are revived years later. The original topic is dated 2008, but then it was revived in 2009, again in 20013, and now again in November 20014. There are many more recent topics that give the current link, but unfortunately the repeated resurrection of this old topic keeps it current in search engine results. I’ll lock this topic now so that it can sink gracefully into obscurity and allow more recent information to take precedence.

Ednote: the current link for Chris’ Compressor is maintained on the Compressor page in the Audacity Manual - see the bottom of this page: Audacity Manual