VTC Blog
Adobe Audition CS6: How to increase the audio gain without destroying the background sound
Sep - 24 - 2012

Soundtrack recordings sometimes happen on-location to capture authentic background sounds. This is also more likely to happen on video shoots. However, problems are likely to rise when the sound director wants the voice of the talent—could be an actor or singer—to increase its audio gain. What oftentimes occur to the recording is that the lead sound becomes distorted because of too much audio gain. So what to do to prevent this?

Adobe Audition CS6 has an effect called “Hard Limiter” which amplifies softer passages more than louder passages with the guarantee that the latter would stay below limit you set in the effect. It makes the clip louder while maintaining cleanliness of the specific audio’ sound. Limiter effects are applied to narration, voice-overs, speeches, on-camera dialogues and not on background sound effects which you wanted to sound more audible.  Larry Jordan, an Apple-Certified trainer, will explain to us a step-by step process of how to put it and how it works.

1) Select the track to which you want to apply the filter.

2) Window > Effects Rack (shortcut: Option+0) to activate it.

3) Click the Track Effects tab, at the top.

4) Select Amplitude and Compression > Hard Limiter (From the right-pointing white arrows on the right of the Effects Rack)

5) You will see that (a) the Hard Limiter is listed in the Effects Rack and (b) the settings for the Limiter are displayed in a floating window on top of your tracks.

Image 5a

Image 5b

6) Select one setting. For example select Limit to -3dB

Referring on the image below, what will happen is that when the track is amplified up by 6.0 dB, it won’t reach -3.0 dB. Adjust the Input Boost by sliding it to the right to make the sounds louder without distorting it.

7) Click the green power button in the Effects Rack (as seen in the image above) so it goes gray, this turns the filter off without deleting it.

Right-click in the audio meters and set peaks to Static Peaks. This shows you the loudest your peaks are without resetting the peak indicator every few seconds.

Play a portion of your clip to test the effect and watch where the static peaks max out. Since this is a peak, most of your levels will be softer than this. Enter this number into the Input boost.

For example, in the screen shot below, the maximum peak is -7 dB. So, I would enter 7 dB into the Input Boost. This gets the effect close to the level Larry needs. At which point, he plays the sequence and tweak slightly until the levels sound good. The Maximum Amplitude setting limits the total volume so that it does not get louder than -3 dB.


This effect is preferred by Larry Jordan in his webinar series about Adobe Audition as it makes the track not to sound distorted even though you boost its volume. It is easier to set up and control compared to other presets the software offers. If you want to learn more about Adobe Audition CS6, you may look over www.vtc.com for online video tutorials by Mark Struthers on this product. Click this link and you’re off to mastering Adobe Auditions CS6.