|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2013)|
|Developer(s)||The Conversations Network|
|Operating system||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Type||Audio Editing Software|
The Levelator is a free application distributed by The Conversations Network and developed by Bruce and Malcolm Sharpe, Norman Lorrain and Doug Kaye. Originally distributed by GigaVox Media, Inc (a for-profit company), the rights were transferred to The Conversations Network (a California 501(c)(3)) in 2008. The underlying code was originally used only for The Conversations Network's own podcasts but was subsequently released to the public, free for commercial and non-commercial use. It was unveiled to the public at the first Podcast and New Media Expo in 2005. The adjustments and drag-and-drop workflow of the Levelator makes it a valuable tool for professional and non-professional broadcasters and podcasters.
The Levelator non-destructively adjusts the audio levels within an audio segment by combining traditional discrete compression, normalization and limiting processing. By taking a global view of the data in various time segments (both long and short), the Levelator automatically balances various audio levels, such as multiple microphone levels in an interview or panel discussion, or segments combined from multiple sessions that were recorded at different levels. The Levelator can read and process PCM audio files of many sample rates and resolutions.
The Levelator reads the original audio file and creates a new audio file with balanced levels and a uniform overall volume level that is then saved in the same format as the original, but with ".output " added to the file name. Because the ultimate goal of the Levelator is to improve the quality of audio, only PCM audio source files are supported (most major file formats, including WAV and AIFF). Audio quality degrades significantly after multiple instances of lossy compression. For example, the audio quality of a 64-kbit/s MP3 file re-encoded as a 64-kbit/s MP3 file is roughly equivalent to that of a 32-kbit/s MP3 file.
Example of Levelator
Screenshot of before and after renderings of an audio sample adjusted by the Levelator as seen in Audacity.