Headroom for mastering

I want to send my tracks in WAV-files for mastering and have to leave around -3db to -5db of headroom but how does this work?

Do I have to change the individual tracks from a WAV-file or the whole file? Where is the function to leave around -3db to -5db of headroom?

I heard normalize doesn’t work and limiting and compression is also not done before mastering.

What are you mastering? Are you reading for audiobooks?

We publish a suite of tools that will take you from a raw performance recording to a submission master.


It takes into account the three ACX AudioBook specifications: peak overload, loudness (RMS), and noise.

You still have to know how to read out loud. There’s no filter for that.

ACX has the strictest technical requirements and in general, if you can pass that, you can submit to anybody else.

Let us know.


I going to send WAVfiles to a mastering engineer in a couple of weeks and he prefers 24 bit WAV but I have to leave around -3db to -5db of headroom and ensure there is no limiting / compression on the final mix bus. How do I do this with Audacity?

These WAV files are for an album (cd and digital).

Select the work > Effect > Amplify: New Peak Amplitude (dB) -4 or wherever you want it to be. This is a straight, simple volume change and it will push up or down depending on where you started out.

This won’t affect any damage you might have if you already had clipping or other overload damage. It will just put the damage at -4.

And no, if you are going to a mastering house, don’t help. Taking bad effects out of a performance later is almost impossible.


New Peak Amplitude (dB) -4 or wherever you want it to be.

Please note that entry is the second of two boxes. It’s the one on the bottom.


Great, thanks a lot! Didn’t knew it was that simple :wink: What’s the difference then between this (amplify) and normalization?

Normalization sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? They’re the same thing. They just have different controls.

Normalize does have [X] Remove DC Offset. That’s technically not a volume control. That’s a correction for a broken soundcard. Some soundcards have a little of their DC or battery leaking into the sound. It’s not an audio tone, so you can’t hear it, but it makes sound editing almost impossible because it adds clicks and pops For Some Reason.


Okay, thanks. So amplify is better than normalization in this case?

Amplify is the one that allows you to tell it where you want the peaks to be.