increase volume before burning cd

I have 5 or 6 cassettes that I started looking into converting to cd around a year ago with Audacity. My problem is that I put my conversion project on hold for about 6 months and now I forget one step that I had discovered to increase the volume of the burnt cd. I was burning my cd’s using Media Player but found my 2nd converted cd played at a lower volume on my home stereo than I preferred. I tried burning with Nero but ran into the 2 second gap between tracks that Nero adds (and you cannot get rid of). So I searched and somewhere found a solution where I could change the “volume” of my tracks to burn a cd at perfect volume. I used quotes around the word volume because I’m not sure that was the actual name of the setting. I can kind of picture the settings area of whatever I used, I believe there were other options to chose but I just needed to adjust the one setting to change the “volume”. I actually increased 1 cd perfectly but when using the same setting (+14.10) on the next cd it was too loud on my stereo so I needed to decrease that setting, reburn, and check the outcome. At this point I put my project on hold. Now I cannot find this settings area in Audacity, there’s no real settings to adjust in Media Player, I’m pretty sure I gave up on Nero and I can’t recall using any other app. My loud cd has a note on it that it was recorded at +14.10 and to decrease that and recheck, no other hint of what I used or where this setting is. It is driving me crazy. It was not Amplify or Normalize as I wanted to avoid those to keep the “pureness” of the original recording (although amplify might work but that wasn’t it). Any ideas?

The two second gap is the official “standard” for audio CDs, which is why Nero has that as the default. However, Nero will allow you to override that and set whatever gap you like. To set the gap to less than 2 seconds you need to set Nero to burn “DAO” mode. Sorry, I don’t remember where the settings are, but they are there - check the Nero manual or Nero’s web site.

I’ve no idea what that means.

Amplify and Normalize only affect the amplitude (how big the waveform is). They do not affect the tone or “dynamic range” in any way (unlike “compression”), so they do maintain the “purity” of the sound. “Amplify”, with the default settings, will make the waveform as loud as possible without distorting or in any other way changing the character of the sound.

Thanks for reply. Again, I am trying to find someone familiar with the settings screen I am trying to find, that would point me to the actual app I used to change the volume before buring my cds. What I meant by “My loud cd has a note on it that it was recorded at +14.10” was that the 2nd cd I burnt about 6-7 months was too loud playing on my stereo and I put a sticky note on it saying “burnt at +14.10, decrease & recheck on stereo”. So whatever app I used had a settings screen where I could adjust the “volume” in xx.xx increments, +14.10 was what I used on my 1st burnt cd that played well on my stereo. It wasn’t the Amplify setting. I remember selecting an option from a long list and there was the setting I am trying to find. I’m sure I stumbled upon someones post on some page that explained how to do this but for the life of me I can not refind that info. Usually I write this stuff down, documenting procedures, but in this case I was saving links and Audacity was pretty straight forward and worked well. Then I never got back to completing my project until yesterday and I’m missing that one step which is why I posted; hoping someone else stumbled upon/knows what I am talking about.

I found it! It was Nero > Audio Properties (select all tracks) > Filters > Equalizer and I was adjusting the Gain/Volume to increase the loudness of the cd I was about to burn. I guess I was using this method since the changes were being done to the wav files I created using Audacity with no Effects (pure wav) and I could keep adjusting the loudness then check the outcome without recreating the wavs every time. Looking at the test cds I made back then, it appears this method actually produced some clipping as I just ripped a track, opened it w/Audacity and the wave is past -1.0 & 1.0. I’m not sure why I didn’t look more at using Audacity Amplify because it looks like all I need to do is set the New Peak Amplitude to 0 (plus do not allow clipping) when creating my tracks and I’m done. Which brings me to a few more questions…

1). From what I’ve been reading, using Amplify w/the default New Peak Amplitude at 0, my cd should come out just fine, no worries about any clipping. If so, why is the default (and from what I’ve read, recommended) Normalize setting -1.0 and not 0 (I’m sure this has been discussed numerous times but I’m just looking for the short reason).

2). 2 of the cassettes I’m converting were “mastered to Dolby B standards for NR”. What are the opinions on recording these tapes with my tape player Dolby B turned on or off? Tapes usually sounded a little muffled w/Dolby B turned on.

3). 1 cassette just has the Dolby symbol (forward&backward D) on it but no comment stating it was recorded/mastered with it. Does this still mean it was mastered w/Dolby (B)?

  1. 1 cassette has Dolby HX Pro on it w/no comments. What does this mean & should I play/record it with Dolby B on or off?

Thanks for any help with my additional questions.

CD players should be able to handle 0 dB, but in practice quite a lot of them show signs of clipping just a fraction short of 0 dB (even high-quality expensive CD players). -1 dB is only a tiny bit quieter than 0 dB (hardly noticeable) but for making CDs it allows a bit of headroom to ensure that clipping will not occur.

For MP3 Export the situation is worse. MP3 is a “lossy” format - the encoded audio is not exactly the same as the original and the peak level of the MP3 may be a bit higher than the original. To avoid clipping in the MP3 it is best to allow 1 dB or more of headroom. For MP3 export I generally normalize to -3 dB.

Whatever sounds best. Cassettes tend to become muffled with age.

If it’s an old one it could be Dolby A. As for “2”, whatever sounds best.

More information about Dolby noise reduction: