Need tips for adjusting level

I am going to make a radio programme, and I am looking for good ideas for how to adjust the levels for different files.
I have two interviews, 2-3 pieces of music, and then I will make 3 studio texts.
And of course the final product should have approximately the same level all the way. So my question is if there is a smart procedure to make that?

You can try Effect > Amplify, Effect > Normalize, the Envelope tool all on individual clips, or Chris’s Compressor on the whole show.

If all of your work is in the approximate volume ballpark, Chris’s Compressor is the way to go.

Chris wrote this to even out production volume changes in opera performances so he could listen in the car. It works amazingly well. I use it to even out podcast loudnesses so I can listen on foot without constantly messing with the volume controls.

The fuzzy recommendation for live recording is peaks at approximately -6 (zero being absolute maximum volume). If you have people reading who like to be expressive, then you’ll need to reduce the capture volume to give them room to get loud without hitting zero.

Click the right-hand edge of the meters and drag them bigger like the illustration. Those meters are way more important than you would think from the default size.

This is very like the six volume set “How To Ride A Bicycle.” We can write about it all day, but the first few live capture sessions will tell you a ton about how to deal with this. You can practically guarantee the first show or two is going to be trash. Live capture is not easy and it can be magic. You will hear things in the recording that completely escape you in real life. Yes, that rumble in the background is the Vero Beach Metro Bus starting up outside your house, and no, there’s no good way to get rid of it from the show.

Export all live work as WAV files and back them up on separate drives. Never delete or damage original work. You can always build the show again if everything goes into the toilet while you’re cutting the show. “Windows is shutting down…”

I thought we wrote up something about how to do this…


I thought there was another piece I forgot. What are you listening to when you mix? A Totally Excellent Sound System is a good thing – or good headphones. Mixing on the laptop speakers will not show you interference, errors and bad clips – until somebody complains about it in the final show days later.

The BBC technique is to use the Peak Program Meters on the mixing desk to keep you out of trouble (too high, too low), but everything else is done with your ears.

The American VU meter is handier because you can set overall volume with it (without hearing anything), but you can get into trouble because it misses peaks and some audio goes right by it. The Audacity sound meters are a cousin to the BBC meters, which means you have to hear what you’re doing.


Scroll down to the first bunch of tutorials.