(Using Windows 10 and Audacity 2.2.2) Question: What settings, processes, procedures, or methods need to be used to achieve an overall RMS measure between -23dB and -18B MS using Audacity software?

The Amplify effect turns the volume up or down. Amplifying by +6dB will amplify both the peak and RMS by +6dB (unless you run into clipping*). Entering a negative value (attenuation) will bring them both down by the same dB amount.

With linear amplification/attenuation the ratio (difference) between peak and RMS (or peak and average) is constant.**

Compression and/or limiting (especially limiting) can bring-up the RMS level without boosting the peaks. (This process will also boost the background noise.)

If you have some obviously-loud parts, you an “manually fade-down” the volume with the Envelope Tool.

*Audacity itself won’t clip, but WAV files, CDs, your analog-to-digital converter and digital-to-analog converter are all hard-limited to 0dB and if you try to go over, you’ll get clipping (distorted flat-top waves).

** Since decibels are logarithmic, the difference is a ratio.

Can we assume you’re reading for audiobooks?

There are some specialized tools you can use to get there.

Audiobook Mastering 4.


This also features handy analysis tools to see if you meet audiobook sound submission standards. 18-23 is only one of the three readings.


These tools are for post production processing. Audacity doesn’t do any processing during recording.

Let us know how it goes.