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When playing counter-strike certain servers will force you to download sound files their server uses. These range from song clips to sounds from other games like unreal tournament and quake. The problem is that some sound clips are much louder than others - mostly the song clips. I've found the sounds folder buried within my Steam folder and all the sounds are .wav files. How can I even out wave sound on Windows Vista?

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Note to the 'closers': Although this question is centred around video games, the question itself (and therefore the answers) is only about audio normalisation. – Josh Hunt Sep 18 '09 at 6:38
Title updated to something more suitable. If you'd like the old one back for whatever reason, do a rollback. Although specifying the .wav sounds are for counter-strike makes no difference, .wav is .wav, normalizing works the same either way. – John T Sep 18 '09 at 11:04
shortened it even more thanks for the suggestion – Anonymous Sep 18 '09 at 15:44
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This process is called normalizing. There are quite a few good wave normalizers out there. Normalize, a handy Windows CLI tool in particular is very good and open source.

Info from their page:

On an AMD Athlon 1.1 GHz with an IBM 30 GB/7200 RPM/UDMA100 hard disk, a 1.3 GB WAV file can be normalized in about 3 minutes.

Usage:  normalize [flags] input-file

            -l    don't find peaks but multiply each sample by 
            -a    don't find peaks; amplify by  (given in dB)
            -m  normalize to  (default 100)
            -s  smartpeak: count as a peak only a signal that has the
                     given percentile (50%-100%)
            -x    abort if gain increase is smaller than  (in dB)
            -p           prompt before starting normalization
            -b     specify I/O buffer size (in KB; 16..16384; default 64)
            -o     write output to  (instead of overwriting original)
            -q           quiet (no screen output)
            -d           don't abort batch if user skips normalization of one 
            -h           display this help

        error levels: 0 = no error, 1 = I/O error, 2 = parameter error,
                      3 = no amplification required, 4 = out of memory,
                      5 = user abort

            - wildcards are allowed in 'input-file' (e.g. normalize *.wav)
            - 'input-file' needs to be a PCM WAV file.

Since it is a single executable you can drop it in your System32 folder rather than making an entire new path entry for 1 file. Then simply navigate to the directory using the command prompt and run this command:

normalize *.wav

or save the above line in notepad as "normalize.bat" (keep the quotes) and drop it into the sound directory, then run it.

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As answered in Normalising sound levels, you cannot go past MP3Gain:

MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear. Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.

Other than that, Audacity seems to be pretty good and well known

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mp3gain is for mp3s – John T Sep 18 '09 at 5:15
as for audacity I believe you have to normalize by ear, which can be cumbersome. Not to mention doing it 1 file at a time =\ – John T Sep 18 '09 at 5:18

I use Audacity to normalize audio files. It seems to work well, however there is a bit of a learning curve if you have never used the program before.

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