Welcome to the Audacity Bootcamp Podcast. I teach podcast courses on Audacity and a question that comes up frequently has to do with the difference beween loudness (LUFS) and volume. It can be a challenge to wrap our brains around, but there is a difference.
The bottom line is that loudness is digitally embedded in the waveform as part of our editing. When I level a piece of audio to a LUFS level, I’m manipulating the waveform to adjust it to a consistent loudness end-to-end, eliminating extreme peaks and valleys in the loudness and creating a more consistent listening experience. This reduces or eliminates the need for the listener to chase the volume up or down while listening because the loudness has been leveled. The listener can’t adjust the loudness because they can’t get to the waveform to manipulate it. But you and I can as editors. Let’s talk…
In the last video I talked briefly about the difference between loudness and the amplify effect in Audacity. Let’s put another piece of the puzzle together by talking about the difference between loudness and volume. I talked about this in a previous video but the question comes up a lot so I want to address it again, emphasizing that loudness is a component of the waveform. These are not the same thing. Loudness is embedded in the waveform and volume is not. Let’s talk about it.
What’s the difference between the amplify effect and the LUFS effect in Audacity? Can I use amplify in place of loudness leveling? The biggest problem with using Amplify to make levels consistent in an audio track, is the amount of time it’s going to take to fix it. You’re going to have to go to each spot in your project where the audio is either real low or too high and apply a different amount of amplification to each one.
Applying Loudness Leveling is much better and much easier. It sets the overall loudness of the track or project to the specified LUFS level from start to finish one time, eliminating the need to find and correct every variation in amplitude individually.
I talk briefly about the Auphonic Desktop Leveler in this video. It’s a stand-alone program that levels the audio you export from Audacity, along with performing other behind-the-scenes audio production. I use the Auphonic Desktop Leveler on every piece of audio that I export out of Audacity. I’ll be doing a separate video on how to use it soon but in the meantime, I’ve included a link to it in the event you want more info. I’m not associated with Auphonic in any way. It’s simply a good product that I use and recommend.
If you do Loudness Leveling on your podcast (and I hope you do), is that the same as volume level? Are loudness and volume the same thing? That’s the topic for this video as we look at the difference between loudness and volume when it comes to leveling our audio to a LUFS standard.