Is there a way with Audacity (or any other software) to find and and mark the 5 loudest and 5 softest points in a movie audio file? It seems like this should be easy to do.

I know next to nothing about audio software

  • Please edit your question to state the actual problem your trying to solve (or in the future, describe that problem right away). As it stands, Tetsujin's answer doesn't really have anything to do with the question, though it does apparently solve your problem. – leftaroundabout Dec 21 '14 at 0:41
  • Maybe you should try scripting with Sound Forge SDK – JSmith Nov 30 '15 at 5:21

A long-shot, but this might work if you have a similar setup to mine.
It works equally well for DVD [I don't have a BluRay] TV, catchup, YouTube, Netflix, VLC, etc etc

I use my PC's built-in 7.1 analog outs to my 5.1 amp [which saves double decoding & odd phase issues I get over S/PDIF, or HDMI.]

My built-in sound is a Realtek HD device [I know, not the greatest in the world but adequate for watching movies]

If you use the basic drivers you get with Windows you can't do this, but if you get the ones directly from Realtek you get a whole lot more 'shiny' interface which allows you to rebalance individual volumes, individual speaker delays, overall EQ etc…

… but more importantly in this instance - it has what they call a "Sound Enhancer" toggle - which is actually a very aggressive compressor. It will really keep the sound in check [watch out, as initially it appears to boost the volume, but it will also really clamp down on the loud bits.]
I can't say I like it personally - I find it far too over-eager, but it does just the job you might need - & in realtime, without having to process the audio separately.

The overall EQ might be useful for dropping back the bass frequencies too - as these are more likely to be transmitting through walls/ceilings.


I doubt it. It isn't as trivial as it sounds to determine. You need to choose a period of time over which to sample to consider the average amplitude of the signal and that would impact the result. Additionally, there isn't a whole lot of advantage to identifying and displaying the x highest or x lowest points in the track, so there isn't really any demand for the feature.

  • It may seem trivial, but I have a legit use for it. Most movies have a huge range of amplitude. I live in a very thing walled apartment and my neighbors are constantly complaining of noise and have even tried to get me thrown out of my apartment due to noise ordinance. It is BS, but it got me thinking. I would like too develop and app that would pull and analize the sound file of a movie, – N.Hale Dec 19 '14 at 2:00
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    find the 5 loudest and 5 softest points in the audio file and for lack of the proper term "equalize" the movie's sound. The goal is to not need to raise the volume at soft parts of the movie and lower the volume at loud parts of the movie. It is annoying regardless of my neighbors. I want this and think others would too. – N.Hale Dec 19 '14 at 2:00
  • @N.Hale that's can be done with normalizing compression without needing to manually identify anything. That's why I asked. :) – AJ Henderson Dec 19 '14 at 2:09

Based on your comment to other post you want to narrow dynamic range of movie sound in such way, that loud sounds won't be too loud and soft sound will still be audible.

Dynamic range of a sound can be shaped by dynamic processor like compressor or limiter. VLC media player has built in compressor, you can try it out.


The SWS extensions (free) for Reaper (free for 60 days, then it nags you to spend $60 but doesn't really stop you from using it) has a "find peak gains" action. Once installed, just run "Xenakios/SWS: Display item peak gains"

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