Widening volume range in music recording

Hi, I am wondering if there is a way to make it so that the louder parts of my audio file are louder, and for the quieter parts of my audio to be quieter. Preferably through two separate adjustments.

For context, I have a classical music recording that has already been processed by someone else, with the goal of making the rather distant microphone sound closer. The quality of sound in the processed audio is great, but the range of volume has been decreased. When the volume should grow, the actual decibel output barely changes.

I would love to be able to make it so that when the volume of the music should grow, the recording itself is actually quieter.


There is a (somewhat rare) effect called dynamic expansion. It’s the opposite of dynamic compression and it boosts the loud parts and/or makes the quiet parts quieter. I’m not sure if any of the standard Audacity effects/plug-ins can do it… You might have to look for a 3rd-party plug-in.

Or GoldWave Has a Compressor/Expander effect. They fouled-up the definitions of compression & expansion but there are presets for Boost Loud Parts and Reduce Quiet Parts and they work correctly so you can ignore the compression/expansion buttons. GoldWave is not free but there’s a fully-functional free trial.

Thank you for your help! I will make an attempt with this tool soon.

That’s very interesting—thank you for telling me. I will get the free trial!

There are free expander plugins which work in Audacity
e.g. Cramit by Sixth Sample - OTT Plugin VST3 Audio Unit AAX
However they don’t “know” what the original audio, (before it was compressed), is supposed to sound like. They just exaggerate existing dynamic range.

That’s a good point. You might be able to make some improvement but it’s impossible to “properly” reverse compression. because you don’t know the exact compression parameters and/or the expander may not be capable of “inverting” the settings. (There are exceptions where compression & expansion are designed to work together as a noise reduction system.)

Limiting is a kind of fast-compression where all of the peaks are “pushed down” to the same level, and with all of the peaks now at the same level, that’s impossible to reverse because you can’t know the original different peak levels.

Most modern popular recordings use regular compression and limiting, and often multi-band compression, and the individual tracks from a multi-track recording may be compressed and limited before mixing, and all of that processing can’t be un-done. it’s just about impossible to improve these “loudness war” recordings.

Classical recordings may have some compression/limiting too but it’s usually not over-done.

Great info, thanks! I do happen to have the raw audio but not the skills to know how it got processed to what it is. Maybe I can extrapolate a bit.

Then an “envelope follower” could be used to force the compressed audio volume to match the original … Envelope follower / ducker

dynamic-mirror demo (following)_

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