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Audacity: Volume Adjustments - Compressor

Audacity, Version: 2.3.2. Be aware that different versions of Audacity will vary in appearance and functionality. Full Guide: View/Download

If your audio has a combination of loud and quiet parts, use the Compressor effect to even out the levels before making major adjustments to the overall volume. Compression reduces the loud parts so that they can match more closely with the quieter ones.

To compress a track:
  1. With the Selection Tool, click-and-drag to highlight the entire track.
  2. Navigate to Effect > Compressor. A new window will appear.
  3. Adjust the Compressor settings.
    • Threshold: The level above which compression is applied. Set the threshold properly to compress loud parts of the audio in order to even-out the levels. To determine the proper threshold, listen to the audio track and take note of the lowest recorded level during speech (NOT background noise levels). Set the threshold to this db.
    • Noise Floor: Sounds under the Noise Floor limit are considered background, and are not amplified. Something around -50dB is sufficient, but may vary depending on how loud the recording environment was.
    • Ratio: Relative amount of compression, compared to the threshold. A 6:1 ratio is recommended.
    • Attack Time: How soon the compressor starts to compress a volume change. .5 seconds is recommended.
    • Release Time: How soon the compressor releases the volume change. 1.0 seconds is recommended.
    • Make-up gain for 0db after compressing and Compress based on Peaks: Both options should be un-checked. Selecting these options will cause the track to be too loud. To increase overall volume, use the Amplify effect instead.

  4. Click the Preview button to listen to a preview of the effect.
  5. Click OK when done.
The waveform should now look mostly even (no really tall parts with short parts). If not, re-open the Compressor and re-adjust the settings. After Compression has been applied, increase the volume of the overall track with Amplify (see Audacity: Volume Adjustments - Amplify for instructions).

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Keywords:Audacity, workshop, software, production, guide, editing, audio, compressor, compression   Doc ID:86089
Owner:Misty B.Group:Pacific Lutheran University
Created:2018-09-27 12:12 PDTUpdated:2021-04-19 11:13 PDT
Sites:Pacific Lutheran University
Feedback:  15   0