I’m learning how to narrate and edit an audiobook. Yesterday I could do it but today my volumes don’t match. I recorded a short story. Yesterday I could erase mistakes, record phrases correctly and paste them into the original. Today the volume on my new tracks doesn’t match my original and I have not changed one setting. I wrote down the position of every slider so I wouldn’t have this problem. Using the analyse tool, I see that my new tracks are 6 dB quieter than my original. I’m dealing with raw audio. I haven’t normalized or amplified. My distance to the mic is the same, I’m breathing the same, etc. Two questions: why is this happening? and what’s the best way to fix it?
Just to be clear, you live recorded two voice tracks and the volumes of the tracks don’t match?
You may not be changing any settings, but did you stop Windows from doing it?
Yes, I recorded two tracks. I’m probably using a needlessly complicated method of editing. I cut the offending words in track A and used “split boundaries” to create a space for my replacement. Then I recorded the correction on its own track directly below the space. Then I cut and pasted the correction into the waiting space and cut the unnecessary space on both sides of the edit. I did this a number of times yesterday and it worked fine. Now today when I try to do the same thing the correction on track 2 is lower in volume than the original track, which I recorded yesterday. I haven’t changed a single setting and I’m the same distance from the mic.
I’m using a Focusrite Scarlett interface and a AudioTechnica 2020 condenser mic and Windows 8.1 To fix it I suppose I could select the low volume part and use the Amplify tool, or I could normalize each track separately and then combine them, but I’d rather figure out what went wrong so I don’t have to deal with this again. Thanks for your prompt response.
if all of the equipment settings are exactly the same, and the recording setting is identical (including the exact positions of you and the mic), then the only explanation that I can think of is that you were talking a bit louder yesterday than today. It’s common for peoples voices to change in loudness with the time of day, when they last ate, what’s on their mind … and really quite difficult to hit the same level and same timbre from one day to the next. if that’s not it, then something has changed that you’ve not told us about (but I can’t think what that might be as you’ve been quite thorough in your description).
Thanks for your prompt response.
And you did go into Windows to check for those settings, right?
Windows conferencing is completely able and willing to set recording characteristics to suit itself ignoring what you want or need. Windows machines aren’t plain white, generic machines any more. They come out of the shrink-wrap as business, communications and conference tools. If you have a job that conflicts with that directive, Windows can give some nasty surprises.
I’m not sure which Windows settings you mean. I went to Control Panel/sounds but don’t see anything to adjust. My interface becomes the default input when I turn it on. My record level in Audacity is 0.36 and the gain on my interface is about 65%.
I doubt Windows would show you sound effects for Focusrite, but right-click over it in the Recording tab of Windows Sound then choose Properties.
I doubt Windows would show you sound effects for Focusrite
True, but the complaint is the poster didn’t change anything but the sound changed. That’s classic Windows enhancements and worth investigating.
6dB is a significant change. I don’t think someone having a bad day and getting 6dB quieter is likely…but it’s possible. This is where it’s good to watch the Audacity recording meters during a performance. The latest Audacity versions come with much larger sound meters and it’s why the “Gradient” type meter was designed. A volume change would have been revealed and possibly corrected way back at the recording step.
It was a Windows quirk. I couldn’t find a level to adjust in Windows because it doesn’t appear until you click on the input device that you have made the default. I went to that menu, saw that my interface was the default and couldn’t find anything to adjust. A day later I tried clicking on the name of the interface and then the properties button went to black instead of gray and there was the level. It’s labeled “record volume” and it was down around 30. Raising it to 50 solved my problem. I keep all my other settings where they always have been and now my new tracks match the original. Why Windows dropped it down from one day to the next I have no idea. I didn’t touch it because I didn’t know it was there.
Thanks to Kozikowski, Steve and Gale Andrews for the help.
It should not work like that. You should be able to right-click the device and choose Properties (or select the device and click Properties) then click the Levels tab, whether the device is default or not.