Newbe question: Audio levels are peaking off the chat


I am recording a podcast. Is there a way to configure audacity to confine my voice between high and low peaks level? I am spending a lot of time cleaning the peaks with Effect?>Amplify after recording because the peaks at hitting the top, but, on the other hand a lot of the track is in low places.


If you’re used to commercial or broadcast sound, home recording can seem low volume and gutless. Part of this is the loudness wars (I can make my music louder than you), but part is broadcast compression. Broadcasters are required to maintain certain volume standards and there are machines at the transmitter to make sure that happens.

Blue waves that go all the way up to 1.0 in either directions can become permanently damaged (harsh ticking and pops). We recommend a fuzzy goal of peaks at -6dB during recording. You can process higher later.

I use Chris’s Compressor to level out downloaded podcasts so I can listen on headphones while hiking without blowing my ears out.

I change the first number, compression ratio from 0.5 default to 0.77 and it converts wild volume podcasts to level, even broadcast. Chris designed the compressor so he could listen to opera in the car.

Chris doesn’t like a show that starts with dead zero, so leave that last edit alone or put "fake sound’ at the beginning of the show just to give Chris something to chew on. You can clip it off later.

A different method is to use the AudioBook process. As long as you don’t go completely nutso screaming into the microphone, this should increase the overall volume of the recording to AudioBook standard and tame the higher peaks.

That’s probably overkill because AudioBook companies have crazy standards for sound quality and consistency, but that does work too, and you can change the tools around to get what you want.