"Unification" of audio tracks

Hello there,

i would like to start saying that i am a complete beginner at audio editing and that i do have absolutely no idea what Audacity, and other programms for that matter, are capable of.

I’ve been given a task where i have like 100 tracks where a guy speaks about something, explaining how something works, it doesn’t matter. But in each track, he speaks with different volume (loudness). Sometimes in a single track, the volume changes, he has a stronger voice, or maybe a little weaker after 10 seconds. What i want to do, is to unify all the tracks with one single level of voice. Yes i can do it by ear, leveling it, listening to it thousand of times untill it sounds similair. But i wanna know if there is a function that would do it for me.

Please if my post isn’t understandable or something is unclear, ask. I really need some advice.

Thank you.

Perhaps surprisingly, that is the most accurate way to do it and is the method used in most professional studios. Judging “loudness” is a very complex task that is dependent on many things, including “who is listening”.

There are a number of ways to approximate the task.

The simplest (and least accurate) method is to “Normalize” the tracks to the same level. Audacity Manual
You may find that this is close enough, so try this first.

A better way is to use “dynamic range compression”. This is an effect that automatically adjusts the level so as to reduce the difference between loud and quiet.
There is a good plug-in for this called “Chris’s Dynamic Compressor plugin”. It is available here: Chris's Dynamic Compressor plugin for Audacity
Instructions for installing it are here: Missing features - Audacity Support
I’d suggest that you use it with a “ratio” setting of around 0.7 or 0.8 and leave the other settings at their defaults.

Note that working with MP3s and other “lossy” formats produce worse sound quality every time the audio is encoded. If you start with an MP3, import it into Audacity, and then export in MP3 format, the new MP3 will be slightly worse quality than the original. The only way to avoid this sound quality degrading is to not use MP3 (or other “lossy” formats). Whenever possible, use a “lossless” format such as “WAV”.

Thanks a lot for all that info. I am toying with compression right now and it kind of does the job, but i guess you are right that ultimately it’s better to it “by ear” so I’ll stick with that for now :slight_smile: