I understand the basic concepts of compression, expansion, gating, and limiting, but I'm still working on best applying them to my podcast to achieve the best resulting sound. I'm also working on trying to figure out where Levelator fits in, and when and where are the ideal times for using each effect.

There are basically three points where I can apply the Levelator:

  • Directly to the raw input of the individual tracks
  • To the individual tracks after normalization/compression/gating/etc processing
  • To the mixed output before it's converted to MP3

My question is, where should I apply it? Conceivably, I could apply it at every stage, but that would be tedious and might be potentially damaging to the resultant audio. Also, the Levelator is a literal black box that you drop audio files on, magic happens, and you get audio back. Are there some effects I should avoid before or after applying Levelator? I don't want to over-compress or do other things that make it sound over-processed.

1 Answer 1


The recommended order of operations is as follows.

  1. (If needed) Noise reduction.

  2. (Most people don't do this) Normalization/compression/gating on individual tracks.

  3. Apply Levelator to mixed output, before any music is added.

  4. Add music, convert to MP3.

Step #2 is generally not needed because The Levelator does all those things for you. But if you really want to do your own compression, etc. that is the stage to do it at.

Bruce (co-author of The Levelator)

  • Great, thanks! Your software is fantastic, by the way :)
    – Kyle Cronin
    Sep 29, 2011 at 18:45

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