Have you ever heard recorded audio where the voice of the interviewer was so much louder than the voices of his/her interlocutors, or vice versa, or some of the guests were closer to the microphone and thus were louder than others?
Certainly you’ve seen this if you’ve had to audio record interviews or conversations, or have been recording podcasts. You’ve also seen it if you own a camcorder (or a Smartphone) and have been video-recording conversations with people, your kids, etc.
And if you’ve ever thought: wouldn’t it be great if there were an almost-magical free solution that can automatically fix the audio at a press of a button then we present you with “The Levelator”, a free tool that runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux that does exactly that.
The Levelator, to quote it’s website is “not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three”. It promises to instantly perform what sound engineers would take hours of painstaking work to do, with such tools as SoundTrack Pro, Audacity, Sound Forge or Audition, and to do it in mere seconds. If you want a more technical explanation of the technology behind it, check out its “Loudness Algorithms” page.
How to use this software: install the software, extract your audio into WAV or AIFF format, then simply drag and drop your file onto “The Levelator” interface. Your audio will be processed and saved at the same location with “output” appended to the filename. Processing is very fast, and will take about as much time as converting to another format would.
The “test”: to test this tool I found an interview that my wife did with our daughter, where the discrepancy between the voices of the interviewer and subject were apparent. I saved the audio as WAV and processed with “The Levelator”.
The results were excellent. In instances where the original had been poor the output was much improved, but overall the changes were very subtle. The audio was still stereo and the location in space of the different sounds were preserved.
The verdict: an excellent tool. Makes me think of starting a software category entitled “automagical” on this site, where this software would most certainly belong.
[Thanks go to reader Panzer for letting me know about this one].
Version tested: 2.1.1 revision 4261
Compatibility: Windows, Mac OSX, Linux
Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx. 6.71 megs).