Volume adjustments for an Audacity mixdown

Hi -

I’ve just made the transition from 4-track recording to Audacity and have been very pleasantly impressed with the ease and quality of the recordings that I have made. One issue though, I’ve recorded a drum track that I would like to be louder on the chorus than on the verse. Is there any way that I can get Audacity to remember the volume adjustments I’d like to do (as per a fader on a mixing desk…) I’m guessing it will involve highlighting the selected areas and opening the effects tab, but any advice would be gratefully received.



you can pick any part of any track and make it louder
is that what you mean ?

otherwise i am guessing the answer is no or the question needs to be tried again with more info

Hi Cpt,

There’s at least two ways that you can approach this:

Method 1

  1. Select the drum track and apply the Amplify effect (with the default settings) to the entire track. This will amplify the track as much as possible without producing clipping.
  2. Select a part of the track that you want to be quieter (Click and drag the mouse across the track)
  3. Apply the Amplify effect again, but reduce the “Amplification (dB)” setting so that it is a negative amount. (use the preview button to hear the effect before you apply it).
  4. Repeat for other regions as necessary.

Ctrl+Z = “undo”
In Audacity 1.3.12, “Edit menu > Playback tab”, increase the “Length of Preview”.

Method 2
Use the “Envelope Tool” to shape the volume of the track.
This would be my preferred method. One major benefit of this method is that it is “non-destructive” and you can change it later.
See here: http://manual.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=Envelope_Tool

F2 key switches to the Envelope tool. F1 key switches back to the “normal” selection tool.

Audacity 1.3.12 is much better for this type of work than the old 1.2.6 version.

Thanks guys. I figured out the amplify function very shortly after making the post - amplified the track to the point where it didn’t clip, then reduced it for the quieter sections. [Will definitely take a look at the envelope function later today…]


Amplify is relative. You don’t have to boost the track first and then knock portions of it down. You can select portions of the track and reduce or boost as needed by typing values in the dB window. The rest of the track will remain where it was.

Envelope tool will let you change volume slowly over time in addition to straight boost and dip. Highly recommended.


Yes you can work either way, but “bringing the whole track up and then working down” has a practical advantage over “starting low and bringing levels up” in that it takes away the possible risk of running out of headroom on the track.

There is a really common scenario with bands where they think “I can’t hear the lead guitar clearly > turn it up. Now I can’t hear the vocal > turn it up. Now the drums are too low > turn them up. Now the rhythm guitar is too low > turn it up” and it never occurs to them that all they needed to do was to turn the keyboard down.


Silly geese.