Fix "Select All" to target tracks only, ignoring dead space

V 3.4.2. Win 64-bit.

OK, so I load multiple tracks from a music album so I can uniformly boost the volume after clicking “Select All” (which is in effect a “Select Entire Project” option). When I do so, clipping occurs. I apply the Limiter to neutralize the clipping, and each track becomes the same length as the longest one due to post-track dead space being detected as “silence” rather than “empty”.

I then apply “Truncate Silence” set at -80 dB/5 seconds (“independently” box checked) and it often eats into the end of tracks where complete silence is detected, esp. on digital recordings where there’s no tape hiss, shortening them by any number of seconds.

This compromises the integrity of recordings where the artist has placed carefully-considered silence between tracks for dramatic effect. (Think “The End” into “Her Majesty” from ABBEY ROAD.)

I’m forced to apply the Limiter to each track separately… very time-consuming.

Could you please fix “Select All” so that it targets only the tracks and leaves dead space alone? Thank you.

Dealing with this first.

The Limiter is a “Nyquist” plug-in effect. One limitation of Nyquist plug-ins is that Audacity passes the entire selection (one track at a time) to the Nyquist plug-in for processing. This includes both audio and empty space, which are passes “as audio” to the Nyquist plug-in. Thus Nyquist sees selected empty space as “silent audio”. That’s just how Audacity works with Nyquist plug-ins and we, as end users, can’t change that.

Now the question that you didn’t ask:

If you use the Amplify effect with default settings, each selected track will be amplified such that the highest peak in any track will not exceed 0 dB, so there will be no clipping, so there will be no need to apply the Limiter effect.

The problem with using Amplify with “Allow Clipping” unchecked is that it doesn’t boost the volume over an entire album uniformly, since it addresses each track individually rather than all tracks as a whole. Also, the boost is barely noticeable with “Allow Clipping” disabled, so it’s essentially useless to me. It seems that modern technology being what it is, my request should be a simple fix. I did get a better result by tweaking “Truncate Silence” duration down to 0.001 seconds and “Truncate to” down to 0 seconds, but it still isn’t perfect. I must compare track times between original and “Audacified” to ensure that vital silence wasn’t removed. More time lost. Having “Select All” ignore dead space would be much more efficient. Can’t have everything, I suppose… but I wish you could in this instance.

That is not the case. When you select multiple tracks, the Amplify effect calculates the maximum amount of amplification that may be applied to reach 0 dB in any track, and then applies the same amount of amplification to all selected tracks.

Note that the Normalization effect is different. This effect amplifies tracks individually to make the peak level in each selected track reach the specified level.

That will be the case when one or more tracks are already close to 0 dB peak.

Yes you can use the Limiter effect to allow the average audio level to go louder, but be aware that you are reducing the dynamic range (the difference between the loudest and quietest sounds in the music).

Rather than using the Truncate Silence effect, try “Edit menu > Audio Clips > Detach at Silences”.

First of all, much obliged for setting me straight re Amplify, but I still prefer to use the Limiter. Secondly, Detach At Silences, while imperfect, seems to be superior to Truncate, so I’m grateful for that tip as well. I remain hopeful that “Select All” will be improved to my liking in the future. Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to respond to my concerns.

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