tl;dr: How can I manipulate an existing MP3 recording have a consistent volume level?
I have a few 60-90 minute long MP3s that I would like to listen to through my headphones but the audio volume ranges sporadically from almost inaudible lows to painful highs. I've tried listening by using winamp (default settings), WMP (ditto) and my android phone's MP3 player. They all have the same problem, and they are just not listenable in their present form.
It's a set of recordings from a stand-up-comedy club and so most of the time it is one person speaking quietly followed by a round of laughter which can be extremely loud.
A friend of mine suggested using Audacity's normalize, levels and equalize filters but I was not able to fix the issue (I'm not familiar with audio manipulation). I want to bring up the low levels and bring down the highs so I can listen without having to constantly mess with the volume dial.
I am not too bothered by poor sound quality as this is only for my own use, I'd be happy with a bit of noise as long as the volume wasn't an issue.
I've got about 50 such MP3s that suffer from this issue to a greater or lesser extent, each one I'm happy to deal with individually by hand if need be, but if it can be scripted then that would be great too.