Vinyl transfer normalize track by track or as a whole?

I’m in the process of transferring a bunch of records to my computer. I’ve been pressing record and playing the entire album through and editing the album as 1 whole project which I’ll later split into individual tracks.

The songs are recording at a very low volume from my USB turntable so I’ve been normalising them to bring them up to -1.0 DB. Should I be highlighting the entire album and normalising all the songs at the same time or should I highlight each track individually and normalise them one by one?

Oh, and I should be normalising and not amplifying, right?


Use Normalize on all tracks at once. Uncheck “Normalize stereo channels independently” unless you want to modify the left-right balance in each track.

If you used Amplify on all tracks at once, it would only bring the loudest track to 1 dB, and would only scale up the other tracks by the dB amount applied to the loudest track.

See Amplify and Normalize - Audacity Manual.


Thanks for your reply. Going from your link for amplify it says -

If you select multiple tracks and apply the Amplify effect, then all audio tracks will be amplified by the same amount.

And for normalisation it says -

If multiple tracks contain intentional differences in peak levels, you should never normalize any of them. The only way to preserve the relative balance between them is to select them all as a group and amplify them, so they are all scaled up by the same amount.

So with that in mind, shouldn’t I avoid normalisation as I want to preserve the original volume differences between each track? If track 1 is loud and track 2 is soft and quiet won’t normalisation make track 2 unnaturally loud in order to match track 1?


You said in your first post you had been bringing all tracks to -1 dB.

If in fact you want to bring only the loudest track to a peak of -1 dB and retain the relative quietness of the other tracks, then yes, you must use Amplify.

Also how low is the recorded volume of the tracks? If it’s below +/-0.5 (-6 dB) then you’ll be bringing up the surface noise when you Amplify or Normalize to -1 dB. Are you using the Mixer Toolbar input slider to set the recording volume?

Are you selecting the USB Audio CODEC as recording device in Device Toolbar?


Thanks for your reply.

Whenever I record from my turntable, the input is something like -18.0DB despite having the input mixer toolbar at the maximum level. Hence, I want to raise the peak volume of the entire project to -1.0 DB whilst retaining any differences in peak volume between tracks. The wave form is small/low/quiet so I want to boost it up - so with this in mind should I be amplifying or normalising?

BTW I’m using Audacity 2.0.5.

Edit - I’d attached a screenshot but apparently I’m not allowed…

Ok so I’ve experimented using amplify and normalisation across the entire album (as in, all the tracks in 1 project hitting Ctrl+A and selecting either amplify or normalise) and they both appear to create the same results.

My next question is should I be applying amp/norm to the entire project (all album tracks at once) or to each individual track…?

My inclination would be to apply to the whole album - and thus retain the relative levels that the recording engineers thought appropriate for the recording

but as me ol’ mum used to say “you pays yer money and you takes yer choice”


As I pointed out, you should try to fix that otherwise your recordings will be noisier than they need to be. Are you actually recording from the USB Audio CODEC? Does the turntable have a gain knob? There is often a gain knob underneath the chassis.

That has already been answered in great detail. If you cannot increase the level of the recording and you want to retain any intentional volume differences between tracks, select all the tracks and use Amplify.

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