sound leveling across all CD in playlist.

I am using windows 10 and Audacity 2.0.5 . I use purchased accom CD’s for my choir. Is there a way to level the sound volumes across the entire CD playlist? I actually have to adjust the volume on the speaker itself to do so from song to song. There must be a better way. I use audacity to run the tracks of the CD together as they are teaching tracks for individual sections of the piece. Thanks

First, “normalizing” won’t work. Normalizing (and the Audacity Amplify default) adjusts the volume to maximize the peak levels, but the peak doesn’t correlate well with perceived loudness. Most CDs are already normalized/maximized, and that includes most quiet-sounding tracks.

And, there’s nothing for the CDs,* but if you “rip” to a digital file there are some options:

Some audio player software supports [u]ReplayGain[/u]. ReplayGain pre-scans the files and adds a ReplayGain “tag” to the file. When the file is played, the volume is adjusted to a standard. The actual audio in the file is not touched. iTunes and iPods/iPhones support something similar called [u]Sound Check[/u].

If your player doesn’t support either of these, WAVgain and MP3gain use the same algorithm but in this case the actual audio is “permanently” altered so it works with any player/software.

ReplayGain has an “album” option that adjust the volume of the entire album by the same amount so that quiet songs remain (relatively) quiet and louder tracks remain (relatively) loud, as the producer intended.

Somebody made a [u]ReplayGain Plug-in[/u] for Audacity that’s allow you to “permanently” change the volume of files.

NOTE - Since many quiet-sounding songs are already normalized/maximized and the volume can’t be boosted without clipping (distortion), the only way to match volumes is to make louder songs quieter. If you use ReplayGain (or any other volume-matching method) you’ll find that your music library is generally quieter overall.


  • You could rip the CDs to WAV, apply WAVgain, then burn your own modified copy of the CD. (Audacity doesn’t rip or burn so it won’t help with that unless you wanted to use the ReplayGain plug-in instead of WAVgain.)

Classical music, I presume?

None of these methods will really work. It’s supposed to have these dynamics. If you compress those, the music is ruined.

Even Apple’s “Sound Check” doesn’t work well with classical music or any other source that has dynamics, like movies, fi. That’s why sound check doesn’t affect movies played from iTunes.

Perhaps the easiest and most convenient solution would be to use a hardware compressor. But that will need to be adjusted between different compositions.

And if it’s really a level difference between different tracks of the CD, you should complain to the makers for this sloppy work.