We're talking Audacity this time! Adobe Audition has its fantastic multiband compressor, but did you know you can get fantastic audio compression from a free plugin to Audacity? Listen to the episode to learn move!
What are compressors, limiters, and gates?
A compressor fits your audio within a selected volume range by increasing the volume of quiet sections. A limiter does the opposition by decreasing the volume of loud sections. A noise gate will close (like a real gate) when it receives audio quieter than its “floor,” and opens again when it receives audio louder than its “floor.”
You can accomplish these audio enhancement effects by hardware such as a Behringer MDX4600, or by software, which is where we will focus.
Too simple and too complex
Levelator is a popular and free, standalone compressor/limiter/gate. Simply drag your .wav or .aiff audio onto the program, and it processes the audio into a new file (appended with “.output”). This works great for some people, but I don't like the results, which I can't customize because Levelator has no options.
On the other side, you can get some complex multiband compressors for Audacity. I highly recommend that you use the latest Audacity version if you use any of these plugins.
A compressor that is just right for Audacity
I introduce you to Chris's Dynamic Compressor. It has simple controls and produces great results. Although it's free, please support his excellent work!
In the audio, I explain how to set Chris's Dynamic Compressor just right, and demonstrate the audible differences. Here are some screenshots of the different results.
Your results may vary. Remember that Audacity will only maintain your compressor settings while Audacity is still running. If you restart it, the compressor settings revert to their defaults and you can't save them.
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