Making One Voice Louder

Ok, total NOOB here. Recorded an interview, but one voice is significantly louder than the other. Used two sperate USB mics. Is there an easy way to make the quieter voice louder or the other way around? Audacity 3.1


Used two sperate USB mics.

How did you get Audacity to recognize two different microphones? It usually doesn’t like doing that very much. Two computers would work.

Or is this what the actual problem is? It only ever recorded one microphone and the quiet voice is someone speaking into “the back” of the one working mic.

Did you ever interrupt each other or talk at the same time or talk over each other? If you did, you’re dead. Audacity can’t split a mixed performance into individual voices.

If it was an interview where you asked a question and then sat patiently for the answer, then there’s hope.

While the show is open, make a protection copy. File > Save Project > Save Backup Project. Use a special filename different from anything else.

Back at the main show:

Magnify the performance (sideways) with the zoom tools and carefully drag-select the quiet voice and boost it with Effect > Amplify or any of the other volume tools. This is word or sentence at a time. Select the quiet voice and jump over the loud voice.

You can slide the timeline sideways with Shift+Scroll or Shift+Touchpad Scroll

Depending on the length of the interview, yes, that’s a career move.

Any chance you can do the interview again?

Which is the loud voice, you or the guest? If it’s the guest, you can type out the words and re-record your voice in a good, quiet, echo-free room. Edit them together.

All of these solutions take a senior, experienced editor. You dug yourself a hole.

What was/were the microphone(s)?


LevelSpeech2.ny plugin for Audacity, or levelator standalone software, (both free).

[ Levelator is simpler: no controls, just drag’n’drop a WAV file onto it]

Post back if you get something to work. Even with these tools, you can’t both be speaking at the same time.


Well that explains it. I was wondering why my voice was exceptionally louder…argh. fortunately I did back up the interview with my IPAD it sounds better than the two mics for sure. If I wanted to have two usb mics, any suggestion on what program to use?

Recording from multiple USB mics is not recommended in any program.

It’s “possible” to record from multiple USB mics in Audacity (or any other recording app) by using third party software (such as “Virtual Audio Cable” or “Voicemeeter”) to combine the mics into one “virtual device”. This can work quite well, but is often quite tricky to set up, and we don’t provide support for apps other than Audacity. If you decide to use this method, test the trial versions first to ensure that you can get it to work before buying the app.

As up the message thread, you plug the second USB microphone into the second computer…

But even that has problems. Unless you spent eye-watering amounts of money on the recorders, they will almost certainly drift apart over time.

Separate Sound has little tricks. You may not have paid attention to it as you were watching, but sometimes a Youtube performer will loudly clap at the beginning of a video. That’s so they can more easily synchronize the video camera mouth movements with the separate tiny sound recorder they’re wearing. The truly obsessive (not that I would know anything about that) will clap at the end, too.

I did back up the interview with my IPAD it sounds better than the two mics for sure.

Highly recommended, although in my case I use my phone.

That was a restaurant interview where I laid my phone on the table with it’s bottom (where the microphone is) pointed to the guest. I joined a forest of other phones so nobody noticed.


So when people are podcasting and they have two mics set up, what are they using?

So when people are podcasting and they have two mics set up, what are they using?

Analog mics and a mixer. There [u]Mixers with USB outputs[/u] or you can use a USB audio interface with an analog mixer (or a soundcard with a line-input).

You can get mixers with many-many inputs. Note that mixers need “professional” stage/studio mics. They are not compatible with “computer mics”.

With more-professional podcasts an “engineer” or “producer” is running the mixer (adjusting the levels in real-time while recording).

With a mixer or interface it’s possible to record one voice on the left and one on the right and then mix later (with software) or with a multi-channel interface you can record as many mics as you want and mix later, but I doubt that many podcasts are done that way because it’s too time-consuming.

Stereo recording is a good idea with an interview because you don’t want to stop and re-do something if one person’s levels are too low… And It’s always a good idea to have a backup (like a phone or solid state recorder) running at the same time.

For two mics they use a 2 channel USB microphone interface plus two conventional (not USB) microphones.

Examples of 2 channel USB interfaces (there are many others):
Behringer UMC202HD
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Motu M2
Presonus Audiobox
and many more…

I think that’s the wrong question.

How would I record two people?

Please note on the back of a super-popular Blue Yeti microphone, there is a pattern selector.

Screen Shot 2021-11-15 at 08.57.03.png
The last pattern on the right is “Figure of Eight” where it receives good quality sound from the front and back but not from the sides. You put one of those puppies in the middle of the table between the two performers. Adjust back and forth depending on who is louder. For even better quality, spread out your furniture moving blanket on the table.

I wasn’t kidding about two computers. USB microphones are self-limiting. They are very “home recording” and limited to one-at-a-time. I have two laptops, one really old which has a track pad that doesn’t always work right. So put one USB microphone in that and the other on the current laptop. Audacity on both. Press R for record.

But yes, the instant you get beyond one microphone, analog microphones are the way to go. The broadcast people have been using lavalier microphones for centuries.

I’m not up on this one, but I know there is at least one hip-pocket sound recorder that makes two different recordings at the same time—at different volumes. There may be more than one by now. That’s a terrific idea.

I know that looks like a disaster because it’s not cleaned up, but that’s my little Peavey sound mixer. It’s mixing my voice, the music playback from the computer on the left and Denise’s Skype voice from the computer on the right.

There’s another rule that nobody wants to hear. If you record in a super quiet room with no echos, it almost doesn’t make any difference what microphone you use.

This is a sound test I made in my messy garage with my phone, a piece of plywood, and two cardboard boxes. It could be easily adapted to two or more people.


You can force a hostile recording environment to work, but then you get into microphones like this.

He’s holding about a thousand dollars there.


So the mics I have are USB/XLR (Samson Q2u) and came with nice cords for a mixer.

If I get a mixer, will I still use Audacity, or do I need a different program?

So the mics I have are USB/XLR (Samson Q2u) and came with nice cords for a mixer.


If I get a mixer, will I still use Audacity, or do I need a different program?

If you get a mixer with USB it should work. Audacity generally works with anything (any audio device) that has a Windows driver.

If you get a multi-channel interface instead of a mixer you’ll probably need different software to record more than 2-channels simultaneously.

A mixer is generally better for a podcast. And you can record simultaneously from as many inputs as the mixer has. It will just be mixed down to stereo (left & right) or mono. (There are some high-end mixers that double as multi-channel interfaces but you would need DAW software to record multi-track.)

There is a caution.

I can’t tell if you need the USB connection to power all the microphone fancy tools and controls if you’re using it as an XLR microphone.

Yes, I got it that if you’re using it as a USB microphone, you have the little light on the side, the power switch, the headphone connection, headphone volume controls, etc. etc. etc.

But an XLR microphone doesn’t do any of that. You plug the 3-pin xlr cable in…

…and the sound falls out the other end. Full Stop.

So that’s worth a trip through your instructions.

There is a serious limit to the different cables. You can run an XLR cable (carefully) 100 feet or more. A USB cable is generally limited to about 6 feet. (2M)


If you settle on a mixer, post it here first to get comments.