Low sound level on playback

Hi all.
This is my first post and hope you can help.

I am a newbie using Audacity 2.1.1 and windows 7

I have converted my tapes to mp3 files but unfortunately when I play them back on my cd player they are at a substantially lower sound level than my bought cds. Can someone help in the settings I should be using…
After recording my tapes I use the Normalize effect with the max amp set at -1dB. I then use the Noise removal effect.These are the only effects I use. I then export the individual tracks as mp3 files.
I would be grateful of any help offered.

You violated normal business practices. You are intended to throw everything out and buy all new CDs. Sorry. Correction. You are intended to rent all your music as needed with your always-on connection.

Past that you probably ran into the Loudness Wars. Music CD are rarely recorded flat and unprocessed. I play some CDs I bought years ago and they more or less match the cassettes. The ones I bought last week, “remastered for your listening pleasure,” are substantially louder.

There’s no good way out. The remastered works have limiting, compression and loudness “distortion” added in order to be louder and thus more marketable than everybody else. Ever wonder why you generally don’t have to change the radio volume in the car as shows go by? There are broadcast audio limiters and compressors required to make it that way. So they’re everywhere … except your old cassettes.

There are tricks to force players to automatically adjust volume on the fly, but they’re probably not going to work in your car or Lori, my lorry.

There are brute force processors you might try. Chris wrote a compressor tool so he could listen to opera in the car. It makes everything louder and more even.


I change the first value, compression, from 0.5 to 0.77 and I’m happy with talk shows in the car/truck.


Been having a play and found that when I use edit>select>all and try to apply the normalize effect to the whole file,it doesn’t. Although the whole file appears to be selected the effect isn’t applied to any part of the file. I can alter the effect if I chose tracks individually.So it seeems I wasn’t applying any effect at all. Any ideas?

Then you may have a volume spike in the track that is already at or close to -1 dB and so preventing the other audio getting any louder. If you select a quiet part of the song and apply Normalize, you will see that Normalize is working.

If the spike is part of the song, use a compressor as Koz suggested.


Normalize, and it’s close cousin Amplify work on the blue wave spikes, not loudness. Loudness processors like Chris are a lot more complicated.