Audio Leveling: Normalize Volume of Two Voices in the Same Recording - Audacity or WavePad

Posted on 2007-10-04
Last Modified: 2013-11-13
I'm running Audacity v1.24 on my Windows XP machine.  I record calls with two people on them and the volume of the voices is not the same.  I have been using WavePad by NCH Swift Sound, which has a feature called "Automatic Gain Control".  This boosts the volume of the softer voice and lowers the volume of the louder voice.  It is similar to leveling but works on voices in one mp3 rather than across the entire set of mp3 tracks on a CD (... so mp3 Gain and Wave Gain products won't work, I tried them.)

I don't like the quality that WavePad generates so I'm looking for an alternative.

Does anyone know if SourceForge's Audacity can perform this function?  Or how about Total Recorder by High Criteria?

Thanks for your input.
Question by:WizeOwl
    LVL 69

    Accepted Solution

    look here
    How to "normalize" volume of voices? Audacity

    Author Comment

    Thanks Merete for the information.  

    Unfortunately, as it says in that article, the Audacity version is a difficult tool to use and it seems the automatic tool in WavePad achieves the same thing without all the hassel. The quality of the output from Audacity was not any better and perhaps a bit worse.

    After checking Total Audio, it does not appear to have an audio leveling function.

    Here's the instructions on how to do it in Audacity

    Select the portion of audio to be affected, eg, select ALL

    Then, Effects -> Compressor.

    Tuning those things is something of an art form, but the idea is the quieter speaker is affected by the steeper gain curve and the louder speaker by the shallower curve, thus evening them out. You will have to mess with the controls a bit because this tool can be made to sound really wacky.

    For example, the tool has no way of knowing how loud each guest is, so that's the threshold control -- set for a volume half-way between the loud and soft guest.

    Nothing will make it sound perfect, however. There's no substitute for wiring each guest and ride each microphone for the correct level at a small mixer.

    LVL 69

    Expert Comment

    I agree,  using an equalizer on a stereo system, I can increase the audio aspects in background sounds far easier .
    Did you know they have brought out Audacity beta (3) to test if you want? I wont just yet.
    Audacity is still the best for free
    I have tried a few myself
    Since your question focused on Audacity and  WavePad
    there are tools out there for the computers but like most cost money

    Personally I like GarageBand but its primarily for Mac only
    Mixcraft:  Windows equivalent of GarageBand?
    Krystal Audio Engine

    Author Comment

    I've heard Sony SoundForge is good, but I was not aware that it or the others you mention had Volume Levelers.  I'll have to take a look at them.  I think WordPad will have to suffice for now.

    Bias Sound Soap Pro may also have this feature,   $599 List Price

    Author Comment

    Unfortunately, I can't edit my post once submitted... of course I meant WavePad not WordPad.

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