How can I get more volume on an Audacity recording?

Hi, I have Audacity 2.1.0 on Windows 7. I record live solo vocal/acoustic guitar only, no multitracking, no overdubs etc. I record with 2 Studio B1 large diaphragm mics (one for guitar, one for vocal) and it’s always live … singing and playing at the same time. I plug the mics into a UR22 interface which is plugged into my computer and I record directly onto Audacity. I’m 100% happy with the recorded sound.

There’s only one problem I have … I would like the volume of the “finished” recording to be greater. Of course I can simply turn up the volume of the Audacity recorder (whether it be the recording volume or the playback volume), but then it hits the red line and distorts. Turning up the recording volume levels of my UR22 interface doesn’t solve the problem. I’ve noticed that many amateur recordings I listen to on the internet have non-distorted volume levels much greater than I can achieve on Audacity.

My goal is to have volume levels quite high (without distortion) on the “finished” recording so that when someone listens to a downloaded recording of mine through their speakers or headphones, they won’t need to turn up the volume switch on their equipment much at all, in order to hear the recording loudly.

What’s the best and easiest way to get good volume levels on a completed Audacity recording for solo vocal/acoustic guitar?

Thank you.

You need to take part in the “Loudness War”

For “just a bit louder”, try the “Limiter” effect

(without distortion)

That’s the trick. Everybody adds loudness distortion.

People who make pure, clean, undistorted music recordings notice right away that the sound isn’t as loud as commercially purchased music. Then they notice that just turning the volume up doesn’t work because sound peaks turn harsh, crashing and buzzy. That’s where you are.

The trick is to make the music denser, more intense and loud sounding without seeming to do so. That’s what limiter and compressor do.