Reduction of loud voice in MP3 file

Hello Everyone,
I am completely to this Forum and I am seeking help.

I have version 2.0.5 and Windows 7 running on a 2 year old Dell Inspiron. I have a reasonable level of experience in making DVDs from a raw photo and movie file start etc, etc and generally good computer knowledge.

In simple terms I have an audio file in MP3 of an Interview where the “loudness” of the Interviewer is much more than the people he is interviewing.

I am wanting to quieten down the “interviewer” to make the complete MP3 file of basically a “standard volume” throughout without the overpowering loudness of the Interviewer.

I can see from the wave form in Audacity where he speaks and the very high peaks. The responses from the people are very much lower peaks. This was all caused by a microphone not be spoken into in the same distance away as well as everyone natural voice levels being somewhat different.

I have had a real good look around in Audacity FAQ and also looked at all the toolbar options etc, and also checked generally over the internet of how to do it and I cannot find what to do which I sort of assume will be rather simple.

Can anyone help me with a simple step by step procedure ??

Thank you kindly in anticipation.

Cheers - David

We recommend interviews be done on two separate tracks (two microphones) to help with problems like this. It’s a simple matter to increase the volume of one track without affecting the other, and then combining the two voices into the final show.

But when both voices are on the same track it’s much more difficult. There is no convenient way to split voices to boost one without the other. You can try Effect > Compressor to bring them closer together, but that tool will never completely remove the differences. It may help a little.

If the show is very important, you can to through it word by word, drag-select, and Effect > Amplify to erase the differences. This will fail if during the interview, they talk over each other. There is no way to split voices combined in that way. Even if you do a word-by-word correction, the background noises are going to go up and down, so it will sound a little odd.

Making the show an MP3 is another problem. Audacity doesn’t actually edit MP3. It does conversion tricks and MP3 compression sound damage goes up when you create the final show.

This series of problems is normal for someone conducting their first cellphone interview. Voice Recorder software software doesn’t capture both sides. Usually, the show is a loss; there is no good way to rebalance.


You can also try Effect → Leveler.

Hi Kos,
Many, many thanks for your detailed and considered response, that was great.

I am doing this job for a friend who believes that I know a lot just because I have a computer, he doesn’t !!
Yes I know a few things and I very much enjoy making “home DVDs” etc, etc, but always zillions of things to learn on an ongoing basis.

I was provided a CD disk file which I could see Audacity would not recognize as such I converted to an MP3 file.
From my understanding / viewing in Audacity I definitely have two (2) separate stereo sound tracks. Regretfully I don’t know how the original recording was made.

In any case I am going to try your suggestions and again many thanks for your efforts.

When I start looking at all this stuff I can see that it is very complex so I need to being doing a Technical Course or whatever.

Cheers - David.

Hello DVDdoug,
many thanks for your interest and response.
I will definitely be giving your suggestion a go as well as the suggestions from Koz.
I appreciate your efforts to assist.
Cheers - David

Thanks Kos & DVDdoug,
both suggestions helped considerably so I am most grateful for your help.
Cheers - David