Question about playback volume

Hi! I’m doing some recording in Audacity & I have had an issue come up. After getting songs recorded, edited, & then exporting them, I find that when I playback the WAVs in iTunes, the files are much, much quieter, almost to the point of being unlistenable unless the volume in iTunes is turned up loudly (which of course, then leaves any other song in my iTunes library far too loud). I’m curious as to what (if anything) I can do to correct this problem. I have the files amplified as high as possible in Audacity without clipping. And like, I said, they sound louder there even with the input output volume control set to just 0.1 (and in the volume mixer for Windows I have the main speakers, iTunes, & Audacity sound volume all set at the same level). Is there some reason for the discrepancy in the levels & a way to get the playback volume increased without distorting the sound?

Make sure you have not turned the -…+ gain slider down on the Audacity track before you export. If you import the problem files back into Audacity and the waves are tall then the problem is in iTunes.

Right-click over the problem files in iTunes and make sure you have not turned their volume adjustment down.

I am guessing you are on Windows Vista or later from your description, but you should say what version of Audacity and Windows (see the pink panel at the top of this page).


Hi Gale, thanks for getting back to me & for your suggestions.

Sorry, for not including any of the pink box info before; I am on Windows 8 & using the most current version of Audacity (2.0.5), & it had an .exe installer. The issue isn’t iTunes because the same thing crops up with Windows Media Player. After looking into it further, I guess the problem I’m having is with the files I recorded rather than Audacity.

I’m recording myself playing an amplified classical guitar & after spending a lot of time messing about with them I found when I normalize to -3 dB, then amplify, & compress, the files do get a bit closer to the levels I’d like without distortion (I actually used Audacity to do a recording as well with an amplified classical guitar like two years ago & don’t recall having the same problems with volume, but I guess that was a different computer, different version of Audacity, & different amp which may account for it).

I noticed when I opened up a Beatles song in Audacity to get a feel for how a commercially-released recording would look, the waveform (or whatever it that you call the visual output in Audacity lol) looked a lot more consistent across the board, whereas mine has more peaks & valleys with the sound, which prevented me from just simply amplifying the file without clipping. Now obviously, I’m not going to be able to match what George Martin was able to do, but are there any other tricks I can use to get the sound more consistent & amplified? Like I said, I did some normalizing, amplifying, & compression, & I also tried out equalization, but couldn’t really figure out how to use the EQ without causing distortion.

If you ripped a recent CD transfer then it may well be overcompressed due to the Loudness wars . What matters is whether you like dynamic range or not.

If you don’t like dynamic range, then use Normalize to -12 dB. This will give you some headroom to boost frequencies in EQ and may make it easier to use Compressor.

Note that if your Default Sample Format in Quality Preferences is 32-bit float then you can EQ to over the 0 dB distortion level then still use Amplify at default settings to remove the clipping (make the peak level exactly 0 dB).