Uniform volume level across four song EP


I apologize if this has been covered before. I have a four song EP I’m working on and am wondering how to match the volume across those tunes. From what I understand ‘normalize’ is for an individual track’s sound levels and can’t be used to match multiple songs together. I don’t want people reaching for the volume every time a song moves into the next. Any ideas would be very helpful.



“Normalize” has really good Name Recognition, but Normalize and its sister Amplify just turn the volume up or down once per song, or once for whatever you select. Nothing automatic about any of them, and neither of them has any idea what the content is.

You can do what you want manually which is recommended. Play off the end of one song and the beginning of another, note the differences, drag-select each song and bump it up or down as needed. That can be seamless if you’re careful. You don’t need Amplify or Normalize for that. You can use the volume sliders to the left of each track. When you export the final show, Audacity will smash all the tracks together and burn the volume changes in automatically.

You can also do it with The Envelope Tool. That’s a control rubber band you can move up and down to change the volume of performances, note by note if you need that.


If you insist on leaving it up to software, the best instance of “level it all out and call me if you have trouble,” is Chris’s Compressor. He wrote it so he could listen to opera in the car. Nothing like a bumpy road to mess up double pianissimo violins.


And down at the bottom is the individual Audacity Compressor and Limiter tools.


…and… there don’t seem to be any instructions for the limiter.

As we go.


From what I understand ‘normalize’ is for an individual track’s sound levels and can’t be used to match multiple songs together.

Right! Normalization works on the peak, which correlates poorly with perceived loudness. Many quiet-sounding songs are normalized/maximized for 0dB peaks.

And if you normalize an album/EP as a whole, the whole album/EP will be adjusted by the same amount (not to the same amount) and the level will be based on the highest peak in the whole album/EP.

If you have a “manageable” number of tracks, it’s best to do it by ear -

1. Normalize all of the tracks (individually) for 0dB peaks. That makes all of the tracks as loud as possible without clipping (without distortion). (Some people prefer normalizing -1dB or so.)

2. Listen the the tracks, and if they don’t sound equally loud, choose the quietest-sounding track as your reference.

3. Use the Amplify effect to adjust the louder tracks down (by ear) as necessary for equal perceived loudness.


If you want an automated approach or if you want to match the loudness of your entire music library, look into ReplayGain, or the related MP3Gain or WAVgain, or Apple’s Sound Check, etc. There is also a [u]ReplayGain Plug-in[/u] for Audacity. These tools try to analyze the perceived loudness, rather than simply looking at the peaks.

But since many quiet-sounding songs are normalized/maximized and can’t be made louder, you’ll find that these tools make your music library quieter overall.

I bet you were hoping for: “Here. Push this button.”
Loudness Control can approach a religious war.
So that’s two votes for adjust them by ear and make sure the loudest one doesn’t overload or distort.

I don’t want people reaching for the volume

ReplayGain, or the related MP3Gain or WAVgain,

How do I ensure everybody in my audience is going to get the benefit of ReplayGain?
SoundCheck is a playback tool I can turn on or not, so the sound of my show could depend on someone remembering to flip a switch in iTunes before they go out for a run.


I don’t know if we hit this or not, but are you the artistic performer? Most store-bought music has been processed to appear louder than it was during the performance. This is the “Loudness Wars” thing. Someone records their performance following all the rules, but when they compare the work to other, similar purchased performances, it’s significantly lower in volume.

Commercial works are “punched up” and sent through “Post-Production” and “Mastering” before they’re offered for sale.

There’s a magical process. A singer friend of mine had to delay the sale of his album when the Mastering Producer ran short of newt corneas (It’s close enough. You don’t need the whole eye. Make a note of it).


Excellent. Thanks for the responses. Funny thing is, I was wondering if there was a magic button I could press. I’ve definitely got a better understanding of what I have to do now.

Also, great piece of info regarding commercial recordings. I was wondering why they sounded louder than mine.

Thanks again for taking the time,


you may find this recent BBC show on compression and the Loudness Wars interesting - it’ll only remain available for the next day or so.