How to Even Out Sound Levels In Your Audio/Video Project

How Uneven Audio Happens In Your Projects

Sometimes, when you’re putting together an e-Learning project or even a simple  audio/video blog post, you end up with funky sounding audio levels.  Some parts of your clip seem louder, while others sound softer.  You may have seen this happen, too, when you conduct an audio interview with one or more people who are each at different distances from the microphone.  The folks who are closest to the microphone sound louder than those who are further away.  This is a leveling problem.

audio file that could use leveling

One way to fix this problem is to tweak your audio clips with an audio editor like Audacity (free), SoundForge (not free), Soundtrack Pro (even more not free), or something similar.  You would basically highlight the sections you want to make louder (or softer) and then use the Amplify effect in your audio editor to nudge it up (or down) in an attempt to “level out” the entire clip.  The thing is, that could be a lot of tweaking if you have a lot of interaction in your interview or if you’re compiling a lot of different audio files into the same project.  That’s where a free software tool called Levelator can help do the heavy lifting for you.

What Is Levelator?

Levelator is free software (available for Windows and Macintosh) that automagically adjusts the audio levels within your audio file for variations between one speaker and the next.  It’s like magic… only real.

In the video above you can see a before and after comparison of an audio file that I use to demonstrate Levelator.  Take a look.  I think you’ll be impressed.  (If not because of the ease with which this free software tool can help level your audio, then I’m certain you’ll be impressed with my rendition of “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers….”  ;)


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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of ScreencastingWizard.com; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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