Need Help With Sound Problem [SOLVED]

I am a newbie to Audacity and using version 2.0.5. I am really into singing acapella so have downloaded various congreagational singings of gospel songs. Some were recorded by someone that knew about recording levels, others were not and were recorded either too hot or not with enough volumn. I need to get the playback to basically the same volumn level and try to repair the ones that are overdriven.

I have figured out how to amplify and how to use the normalise and click removal. I need help on if there is a solution to the “being recorded too hot” problem and if I can fix it or make it better.

Also, some recordings show in Audacity it only one track. I noticed there is a “Stereo to Mono” but could not find the opposite. Is there anyway to separate into stereo tracks?

I appreciate any help, but please make answers simple as I am trying to learn this on my own. My hubby taught and performed classical guitar most of his adult lif and knows a lot about physicall recording music, but unfortunately not the computerized aspect.

Thanks so much!

If there are tracks that sound noticeably distorted, forget them and concentrate on the others. If a track sounds obviously distorted then it is almost certainly beyond repair.

If the track is mono you can’t usefully make it “stereo” except by using trickery on it. If it is mono it will already play equally on left and right channels of a stereo system.

One “trick” for fake stereo is to duplicate the mono tracks, zoom in, then time-shift the duplicate very slightly. Then use the Track Drop-Down Menul on the upper track to “Make Stereo Track”.

If a track is stereo and you want to edit the left and right channels separately, use the Track Drop-Down Menu to “Split Stereo Track”.


Some are so bad, I figured there was nothing that could be done for them. There are others that are not really distorted just have kind of “tunnel sound” so was hoping there would be some way to fix them. They are not up in the “red”, just briefly touch the edge sometimes. Just way too loud!

Thanks for the responses and suggestions. I got rid of the really distorted ones, but hoping to salvage the ones that only barely touched the “red” sometimes.

I will try the duplicating trick. Thanks!

Have you used Normalize to bring the peaks down to say -6 dB? That may make the problem a little less audible.

If the tracks have “flat topped” waveform, they have been recorded at excessive volume, causing “clipping”, where the tops of the waveform are lost because most digital recording equipment cannot capture sounds that are above 0 dB. Those songs are not fixable if the distortion sounds more than slight.

If there is a “tunnel effect”, it will be very hard to remove that. If it is reverberation, plug-ins to remove that are hard to make and usually cost a lot of money. See Mitigate overdose of reverb - #8 by Robert_J_H for a possible way to ameliorate the reverb using Audacity Noise Removal. But it may be better to see if there are other copies of the songs online.

If you are interested in pseudo stereo effects, also see How to turn mono into stereo other than just duplicating .


Thanks Gale,
That makes a lot of sense and helps me understand this better! You’re right, if they are that bad, I will find other downloads of the same song… I do appreciate the help! Living in the “bush” of Alaska has been an adventure for the last 20 some years, but I sure miss being able to go to singings, so this is the next best thing. :smiley: Thanks so much for explaining.

I have another question. Looking at one of the mp3’s that only shows 1 track window, rather than 2 - I don’t understand if it is mono, why does it show it playing on both left and right channels? This song was recorded at the same time as other songs that show in Audacity with 2 track windows. Appreciate any explanation. Thanks!

This is a stereo track:

This is a mono track:

You can see above the Mute/Solo buttons whether the track is stereo, mono (or left or right if you split the stereo track using the Track Drop-Down Menu).

As I said, a mono file will play back in both channels of a stereo system. The same sound is sent to both channels, so Audacity’s Meter Toolbar shows that.

If you recorded the songs yourself, look in Device Toolbar. In the rightmost box of that toolbar, there is a choice for “Recording Channels”. If you set that box to “1 (Mono) Recording Channel”, Audacity will only record one mono track. The track will play on both speakers, but the same sound is in both speakers.


Thanks! That is what mine shows too, except the little box on yours that says “stereo or audio”, on mine it give a partial song name. I downloaded all these. It just was confusing cause this batch I am working on now were recorded at the same time, one after another, but some are stereo and some mono. Couldn’t figure out why that happened. They were recorded at a singing. Just thought it was odd and that the “mono” ones were just not showing correctly in audacity. Thanks again!

I’ll lock this topic now as (I think) you are satisfied.

If you have more questions, please feel free to start a new topic.