Music Too Soft for YouTube

After I master and set my music levels at maximum in Audacity making sure that my recording levels are not distorting and after I export my tracks to a mp3 file and then use movie maker to produce a mp4, I find that when after I upload them to Youtube the sound levels are too soft. How can I increase the overall volume of my tracks on YouTube without distorting them in the initial recording mix?

Even after I create a mp3, the best volume level I can get is about a 7. I can get a greater volume but I would have to distort my tracks to get there. I also notice that there are many other YouTube videos that have a big sound but with perfectly mastered recordings without distortion.


Nobody posts gently recorded music directly for customer use. You are probably experiencing compression/limiting/loudness processing common to for-pay music.

perfectly mastered recordings

Only because you haven’t heard the raw performance. I think it’s a good bet you would be shocked if you heard the original studio tracks on some songs before days of studio processing and boosting, late nights and many cups of coffee/tea.

There is a pre-packaged loudness booster. Chris’s Compressor was designed so he could listen to opera in the car. It evens out phrase by phrase volume variations and makes the whole thing louder.

I boost the first variable, compression, from the default 0.5 to 0.77.

If you don’t use a pre-baked utility, then you get to become an expert on the individual compression tools and variable adjustments. I don’t remember why “Limiter” occurs in two different tools. Sorry.


Hi, I read this because I have my drum parts from an online drum machine which I prefer sometimes over my own drum machine.

On audacity I listen with headphones on and the drums sounds well. But on Youtube and other platforms the drums are barely audible on mobile or pc, out of the speakers. Though with a headphone on I hear them well (on Yt and the other pf’s). Is this a question of simple volume, loudness or something else?


YouTube turns down the volume if it’s too loud …
How to get the RIGHT AUDIO LEVELS for YouTube videos! | YouTube volume normalization - YouTube t-50s

Ok! Do you know what makes the difference between the sound on my mobile speakers/pc speakers where I don’t hear the drums and the sound on mobile/pc headphones where the drums are fine? That is for internet audio so as well as for my mobile’s/pc’s audio software. The sound on headphones seems wider but that’s all I know…

Can I just increase the drum part 1 or 2dB if I want it to be audible for both speakers and headphones?

With Regular linear volume adjustment like YouTube uses or your volume control, everything gets turned up or down by the same amount. It’s impossible to adjust only the drums by accident. (And probably impossible to do intentionally.)

Compression (or limiting) can be used bring everything more toward the same volume.

There is one odd thing that can happen…

If the left & right are out-of-phase, the out-of-phase sounds will be cancelled when mixed together on a mono phone speaker (but not with headphones/earphones plugged into the phone).

If that’s what’s happening (losing the drums in mono) you may be able to fix it by killing the left or right and making and making a mono drum file (which will play out of both sides), or you can invert the polarity of one side. But those tricks will only work if both sides are the same but out-of-phase. If the left & right are different and only some drums are out-of-phase, it can’t be fixed properly.

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The drums are panned very wide on two mono channels but they run parallel with no time difference (I’m not sure if I understand out-of-phase though). I didn’t like the one mono drum channel in the middle too much that’s the reason. But of what I get from you it would be better in the mix to make it one centered mono channel. If they’re out-of-phase - which is probable - it should be more hearable then. I will test this, thx!

Normally panning would mean different drums on the left & right. The phase relationship between different drums/instruments is random. If the sounds on the left & right are different, you don’t get cancelation when mixed.

By “out-of-phase”, I mean one wave is inverted or “upside-down” relative to the other. Usually that has to be done intentionally but there are some “defects” that can cause it accidentally.

If you Generate a sine wave tone in Audacity and zoom-in to where you can see the wave, you can run the Invert effect and see what happens. You can see it with a regular audio too but it might be easier to see with a “pure” wave.

Mixing is done by addition so adding an inverted copy of the original is subtraction and you get silence.

If the left & right are identical and out-of-phase that can give “wide” impression. But you’ll get silence when played on a mono system…

If you have a mono file in Audacity, duplicate it, then run the Invert effect on one of them, and then mix them, you’ll get silence. Or one can be panned left and the other right and if you mix them to mono you’ll also get silence.

The classic vocal remover effect flips the polarity of one channel and then mixes to mono. Since the main vocals are usually in the center (identical or nearly identical in both channels) the inverted vocals are subtracted-out. Hard-panned sounds (sounds that exist in only one channel) remain but sounds in the “center” are subtracted-out.

Hi Doug,

A little update. I tested the drums in one mono file again. Drums were better hearable on my mobile, but not as a professional sound does. But I don’t like it very much centered. I then took it back at the wide drums and added 2 dB left and right. It is a drum machine sound, so it’s always the same and maybe I can easier live with the fact that it’s not prominently present. But the sound goes from left to right and back so if I have to choose I prefer to have the sound well in the headphones. Though perfect it should be prominent hearable on all speakers on every device. Possibly I will research compression more but I don’t feel the compression that’s standard available in audacity is a great tool…


If you want to boost the bass drum, need an expander on the bass frequencies, (which is the opposite of a compressor).

Two free plugins which can expand, & can work in Audacity are …
" La Petite Excite", & “Cramit”.

Thanks Trebor! I will check this out