Muffled and Low Volume when exporting to WAV or MP3 for a Cd ,Phone or Mp3 Player

I am a former night club DJ. I don’t do clubs anymore but still do parties and mixed Cd’s or MP3’s for friends. I use to use turntables for the mixes and record to Tape or Pc then to a Cd. Now that Midi controller came out I switches to the Numark NS4FX using Serrato. I have been using Audacity for a long time to edit some of my mixes if I make a mistake. I was on You Tube listening to another Dj’s mixes , I asked him how he was doing his mixes as they were so precise . He said he did all his mixing using Audacity but time consuming.

So I started to do my mixes in Audacity The mixes are great and on beat.

But I noticed that the songs which are MP3’s I am importing from my library are not all the same Volume or over Bass.

My first step is I am importing all my songs in order to how I want each track mixed from one to the other.

Second I would Normalize all the songs so they do not go over the -5 db.

Third I would set the High Pass filter to 100hz to cut down on the over bass.

Fourth I would line the beats up on each track where I want them,

I will then save the project and I would export the file as WAV to burn to CD or MP3 to listen to my phone or Mp3 player.

When playing it back on the phone or CD player I have to turn the volume up to almost max and it sounds muffled. But Listening to it in Audacity program it sounds fine.

If I play any of my music though the Midi Controller not using Audacity as if I was doing a party they sound fine.

I also noticed that any CD’s that I have ripped into my music library are over volume 1.0 Db going into the red and a lot of bass . The other Mp3’s I get from the record pool a varies in volume.

I am using Audacity 3.5.1

Any suggestions on how to correct this.


I’m not 100% clear on what you’re doing. Are you mixing entirely in Audacity without re-recording anything?

Most (but not all) commercial songs will be 0dB peak normalized (AKA “maximized”) but the peaks don’t correlate well with perceived loudness. I’m sure when you were DJing live you had your eye on the meters and a hand on the volume slider… And on the analog side, you usually aren’t on the edge of clipping.

Of course the bass will vary depending on the mixing/mastering.

There are tools like MP3Gain or WaveGain that do a pretty good job of loudness matching but for a few songs it’s best to do it by ear and there is a procedure:

  • Normalize (maximize) all of the songs.
  • Choose the quietest sounding song (after normalizing) as your reference.
  • Turn down the louder tracks as necessary to match.

If you are going to adjust/match the bass, do that first.

If you are mixing 2 tracks, -6dB is 50% so that will prevent clipping when they are mixed. But you might want to make some “manual” adjustments with the Envelope Tool, etc. so you’re not at -6dB most of the time. The Limiter. can also prevent clipping but it should generally only be used for occasional over-loud parts (like during a crossfade).

That’s rather “drastic”. The Graphic EQ can be used more subtly and with more precision as needed.

Is that when you are originally listening in Audacity or when you re-import?

Audacity itself can go over 0dB without clipping and if you aren’t playing at “full digital” volume you won’t clip your DAC. But regular integer WAV files will clip at 0dB. Very-bad clipping can sound “muffled”.

One way to be “safe” is to export as 32-bit floating-point WAV (which virtually has no limits). Re-import that and normalize before exporting to your desired final format.

Audio CDs can’t go over 0dB. But sometimes they are clipped (The Loudness War).

MP3 is lossy compression and some peaks end-up higher and some lower. An MP3 ripped from a CD will often go over 0dB and Audacity will “show red” even though MP3 is not really clipped. You can still clip your DAC but I don’t believe that slight clipping is audible, and I don’t worry about it. But some people normalize to -1 or -2dB before making the MP3.

A note about MP3s - When you open an MP3 in Audacity (or any normal audio editor) it gets decompressed. If you re-export as MP3 you are going through another generation of lossy compression and some “damage” accumulates.

You may not hear any quality loss but it’s something to be aware of. Ideally, if you want an MP3 you should start with an uncompressed original. Or if you don’t have a choice try to minimize the number of times it’s re-compressed.

I’m not 100% clear on what you’re doing. Are you mixing entirely in Audacity without re-recording anything?

Yes, I am doing the mixing only in Audacity by importing my Mp3 songs from my library into tracks and not thorough the MIDI Controller.

I am making 1 hr. and 15 min mix cd which is just under the max that I can do that a CD will let me burn 80 min 700 MB.

I do this in 3 sets of 25 min. Example Mix 1- 25 min Mix 2- 25 min Mix 3 - 25 min Usually it comes top 8 songs per set. I save each set as a WAV.

I then start with a new template and then import each of the 3 WAV’s in Audacity and mix the 3 together them and save that final as a WAV also.

Now I have one WAV that is 1 hour and 15 min of 24 songs in a dance mix for a Cd or I save as MP3 for my mp3 player or phone.

I was doing all my mixes in Serato using the Numark NS4FX controller which does recording. Then I took the recording and opened it using Audacity to save as WAV or MP3. Even though the mixes were on beat I can tell there were not dead perfect.

After listening to one of the mixes on You Tube I had to ask how he did his. He did say he not an official Dj he just makes dance mixes for fun.

This is more of what I am doing making mixes for fun or just doing parties. I’m getting too old for doing night clubs anymore.

• Normalize (maximize) all of the songs.

Confused. Do you mean select all and type 0.0 in the Normalization window? And find the lowest one.
I am using Perceived Loudness.

That’s rather “drastic”. The Graphic EQ can be used more subtly and with more precision as needed.

There was a reason. I was testing that setting. The Spinners I will be there. The disco Version sounds Normal. I found a REMIX version that I like that has a faster BPM. Some good effects. The Dj that remixed it got very happy with the bass.
I was trying to see if makes any difference in being muffled on the CD’s by dropping some of it.

It not just that remix it is other remixes along with some of the original dance cuts that came out from 70’s 80’s and 90’s

With the Midi controller I can turn down the bass if it was to much for the dance floor.

Is that when you are originally listening in Audacity or when you re-import?

When I first start off and get the levels set and while I am working on the mixes in Audacity it sounds great in the headphones. The Level meters are bouncing between -12 and -4 db It never reaches red maybe yellow at times.

I save it to WAV for a Cd or Mp3 for my phone or Mp3 Player it sounds muffles and the volume is way low.

My Truck volume goes to 0 to 30 I am at 28 to hear it. Either by Bluetooth from phone or my potable Cd player plugged in.

If I listen to the Cd player with the Headphones still low in volume and muffled.