From: Audacity Help <audacityhelp@au...> - 2005-05-18 19:55:07
> I'm recording a track with several layers of distorted
> guitars... when I use "amplify" or record at a higher
> volume level (not even close to clipping volume,
> though), I start to hear a really nasty
> staticky/popping sound when I play it back. But when
> I record at low volume levels and simply raise the
> playback volume using the volume controls in Windows,
> it sounds fine, even when it's louder than what the
> "amplify" effect produced. I need to make it louder
> without ruining it (if I leave it soft like it is, it
> will be really hard to hear). Can you help me...?
> (Raise the clipping threshold in Audacity?) Thank you.
The important factor for whether a recording clips is not the volume of any given track but the sum of all the track volumes playing back. This is what is shown on the playback VU meter in audacity. When this hits the top then playback will be clipped, even if none of the tracks are. This threshold is not moveable - it reflects the maximum signal level that the digital to analogue converter on your card can handle. The windows volume controls are in the analogue domain, after the digital to analogue conversion, and so can boost the level more without clipping.
The best way to set levels is to get each track as loud as possible without clipping, and then use the track gain controls to turn all the tracks down as needed to avoid the total level being clipped.
If the output meters in aduacity reach nearly the top of the scale then you have got the mix as loud as is possible. How loud it sounds over the speakers then depends on the volume control settings you have.