How to Level Automatic Volume in Audacity

By Tom Becker

Audio recording software can perform tasks with a home computer that used to require rooms full of expensive analog recording equipment. From music recording to transferring audio from one format to another, audio recording software can perform virtually any recording task. Capturing audio can sometimes require the adjustment of volume, so that the recording does not distort due to excess signal. When using the audio recording freeware Audacity, you can set the levels at which the program automatically restricts the recording volume.

Step 1

Open Audacity audio recording freeware on your computer.

Step 2

Click on the "Effects" menu and select the "Compressor" effect. This effect sets the levels at which the program will cut different parts of the audio signal.

Step 3

Click and slide the "Threshold" slider to set the level in decibels (dB) at which the program will apply compression.

Step 4

Click and slide the "Noise Floor" slider to set the level in dB at which the program will filter out background noise.

Step 5

Click and slide the "Ratio" slider to set the ratio in which the program will apply the compression. The greater the ratio, the more the program will limit loud noises.

Step 6

Click and slide the "Attack Time" slider to set the amount of time in seconds the program will apply compression after the audio has reached the set "Threshold" level.

Step 7

Click and slide the "Decay Time" slider to set the amount of time in seconds after which the program will release the compression it has applied to the recording.

Step 8

Click the box next to "Make-up gain for 0dB after compressing" to automatically boost the audio signal after compression up to a limit of 0dB.

Step 9

Click the box next to "Compress based on Peaks" to apply compression based on the peaks of the signal's waveform rather than the average of its highest and lowest points. Using this setting will increase the volume of all sounds but will apply less to sounds above the set "Threshold" level than below it.

Step 10

Click the "Preview" button to preview the current compression settings applied to your current recording.

Step 11

Click the "Cancel" button to cancel the changes or click the "OK" button to accept your changes and apply the compression to the recording.