Increase the loudness of a .wav file

Posted on 2008-06-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I'm not sure if I where to ask this question, but here it goes...

I am inserting .wav files into a video game.  I found the sounds on the internet and they sound ok as far as the loudness or volume goes.  

However, when I insert them into my game their loudness decreases drastically.  I edited the .wav files in Audacity 1.2.6 and increased the amplitude.  This helps, but not by much and the background distortion is increased.also.

I suspect that the issue is that the original sounds were not recorded loud enough.  But I am not very good at sound editing and do not sure.  So maybe someone could help me out with some information on how or even if I can increase the loudness of my .wav files beside what I have already done?
Question by:Mark Volz
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

rindi earned 500 total points
ID: 21801631
I think if you edited the samples with audacity and increased the volume there, that's all you can really do. Anyway, apart from that, you mentioned

"I found the sounds on the internet"

You must be very careful about any content you pull from the internet, as a lot of the data is copyrighted and probably without the author's specific "OK", you could get into legal trouble if you sell the game with those sounds. Also, very often you may also require his OK if you change the original sounds through editing.
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 21801757
I am not an expert, I have not been playing with this since 95 and my first sound blaster.
many sound utilities are able to do this; if you need to get rid of the noise, then you need a specific utility for this.
Some mp3 encoders are dealing with this...
check audiograbber, 'switch' products, 'polderbits' products (they deal with recording LP's so know about noise reduction).
Simply balancing the sound with audiograbber should already help.
LVL 48

Expert Comment

ID: 21802136

Author Closing Comment

by:Mark Volz
ID: 31467202
Thanks.  I thought that might be the case.  I did find an Audacity  LADSPA plugin for Audacity called "Dyson compressor" .  This allows me to increase the sound, but with a significant distortion reduction that amplification makes.  It really didn't make any thing louder than amplify, but at least my sound are a little nit less distorted.

The sounds that I found are just some stock sound effect clips/bits.  I know where you are coming from though.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 21811590

I realise an answer has been accepted, but I thought I might just add to the information to see if it could help.  Amplitude is "loudness".  In terms of a speaker moving air, the more it moves back and forward the more air it moves, and this is translated to apparent loudness.

Speakers can handle up to a certain amount of movement and then the speaker cone starts wobbling all over the place in a non uniform way and you get distorted sound.

An amplifier can boost the level of a signal driving a speaker or other device up to a certain amount until it starts cracking up and producing unwanted distortion.  Old guitar amplifiers with valve "tubes" blended some distortion into a harmonically pleasing mix for some types of music when the amplifier was driven too hard, but an old cheapo "fuzz-box" effect produces hard square sound waves instead of nice blended ones.  This is called "clipping", and is what you get if you boost the amplitude of the wave patterns you see in audio software too much.

When boosting a signal's "volume" in this way, software may or may not have a check-box that says "allow clipping".  If you leave that unchecked, then it will increase the amplitude as far as it can until it detects this harmonically aggravating distortion.

What you have to remember is that a sound that is recorded with a microphone or produced electronically will always have some kind of background noise that is normally hidden by the louder passages, but would be heard as hiss when it went quiet.  When boosting volume of a sound file, you are also booting the background noise.  Some audio software offers filters hat you can mess with to try and isolate the frequency (pitch) of the hiss, and cut its amplitude down without affecting the overall sound too much.  This is how "pop" and "click" filters work on software that allows you to convert old cassette tape and vinyl record signals from the respective players into digital audio files (ie. recording the input to file).  Boosting the amplitude after filtering out background noise can sometimes give better results.

I think rindi gave the best answer here in saying that you tried and did the best you could with what you had, but if this is very important to you it may be worth trying a few of the inbuilt noise reducing effects or graphic equalisers to try and cut out the unwanted noise before boosting the volume.  Also try the "normalize" filter and mess with the parameters.


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