How to work with equalizer

If I have a track that I want to equalize, I usually want to mark a representative small section of the recording, then I start the Equalizer, then I shape the eq curve until it sounds good. But I only have marked a small section, not the whole track. So now I have to save the curve, close the eq tool, mark the whole track, go back to the eq tool, load the saved settings and run the effect. And now I’m left with yet another setting that I will never use, a setting saved with a phoney name and I need extra time to tidy up the list of saved settings.

So what am I doing wrong here? How could I easily set up the equ curve for one time use? The equ tool remembers the last used setting, so if I click cancel, I will lose my setting. If I click Ok, I get only my small section equed. After that, I could of course do ctrl-z, then mark everything, then redo the equ (which remembers the last used setting), but it’s a bit risky. One should not have to modify something and then do undo.

A simple button in the equ tool for remembering the curve would be nice. Click on that, then on Cancel. Even better, two ok buttons, one says “operate on marked section”, the other says “operate on whole track”.

Don’t save the curve - just apply it to the selected section, then check that it sounds OK. If it sounds OK, “Undo” the Equalization effect (Ctrl+Z, or from the top of the Edit menu). Then select the whole track and run the Equalization effect again.

For the last step (run the Equalization effect again), if you open the Equalization effect you will see that it has the same settings as were used for your test selection (assuming that you are using the current Audacity 2.0.5), but you don’t even have to do that. All you need to do is press Ctrl+R to repeat the last effect (or select “Repeat Equalization” from the top of the Effect menu).

Ok, that’s not over-complicated, yet a bit backwardish, literally. I only asked to be sure there was no other way I’ve totally missed.

It’s actually very handy, and the same technique can be used with most of the other effects too.

How I generally do it is to select about 20 seconds of the track.
The Preview button will play back a few seconds *
Apply the effect and listen to the full 20 seconds - it should be OK. **
Ctrl+Z (undo)
Ctrl+A (select all) ***
Ctrl+R (repeat last effect).


  • The Preview length can be configured in “Edit > Preferences > Playback”. I usually have that set to 6 seconds.

** Sometimes the longer selection can show that it’s not quite right, and it can be useful to play from just before the start of the selection so that you can compare before/after the effect.

*** If the project contains more than one track I would double click on the track to select it because Ctrl+A selects all audio in all tracks.