I have ripped, using Windows Media Player, the audio from an audiobook CD. Now I am using Audacity to make some slight clipping changes to the tracks.
The Audacity manual recommends -- for example, here and here -- that audio be normalized (especially when ripping from an LP or cassette tape, which I'm not doing here). Should I normalize the audio that I ripped from an audiobook CD?
I am a sound editing novice, so -- not knowing what to do -- I tried normalizing my track using the default settings in Audacity:
Here is the waveform of the track before normalization:
... and here it is after normalization:
Which of these -- BEFORE or AFTER -- is "better"?
Clearly, this is a vague question, since what is "better" probably depends on the application. But since I'm a novice, please bear with me and try to give me some advice.
From what I understand, normalization is the process of scaling the maximum wave amplitude to a specified decibel level. This, I think, somewhat alters the "loudness" of a recording. I think that this can be useful if multiple tracks were originally recorded at different levels; you generally don't want a really "loud" song followed by a really "soft" song on the next track.
But if all of the tracks ripped from the audiobook CD appear to already have the same maximum amplitude (i.e., all tracks of the audiobook were recorded at the same level), is there any reason to normalize all of the tracks to a new maximum amplitude, such as the -1.0 dB that Audacity recommends as a default setting?
And suppose I later rip another, different audiobook CD that was recorded at a different level; would it be a good idea to normalize that audiobook to the same -1.0 dB level as the first one?
I will be playing the audiobook(s) on a smartphone or a tablet, just for personal use.