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Audacity

The Meter Toolbar

The Meter Toolbar is located at the top of the Audacity window to the right of the Control Toolbar. The Meter Toolbar shows the input level while you are recording, and the output level during playback. By watching the Meter toolbar, you can determine what adjustments need to be made to your input and output levels to allow for better quality recordings. Using the Meter Toolbar you can make and fine tune those adjustments.

return to topUnderstanding the Meter Toolbar

The Meter toolbar is made up of the Float button, the Output meter, the Output pull-down menu, the Input meter, and the Input pull-down menu. This section will explain the function of each part.
Annotated Meter toolbar

Name Image Function
Input meter Input meter The Input meter indicates the volume level at which you are recording. The bar on the top represents the left channel, the bar on the bottom represents the right channel. The light red in the bar indicates the average volume level you are recording, the dark red indicates the highest volume level.
Input pull-down menu Input pull-down menu The Input pull-down menu provides access to various input functions. For further information, refer to Meter Toolbar Functions.
Output meter Output meter The Output meter indicates the volume level of the playback. The bar on the top represents the left channel, the bar on the bottom represents the right channel. The light green of the bar indicates the average volume level, the dark green indicates the highest volume level.
Output pull-down menu Output pull-down menu The Output pull-down menu provides access to various output functions. For further information, refer to Meter Toolbar Functions.
Float button Float button The Float button puts the Meter toolbar in its own movable window. To restore the Meter toolbar from its original position, from the View menu, select Dock Meter Toolbar.

 

return to topMeter Toolbar Functions

The main function of the Meter toolbar is to indicate whether the input and output levels are too low or too high. When the levels are too low, it will result in silence. When the levels are too high, it will result in clipping. For more information on clipping refer to Sound Track Basics: Clipping. Audacity also provides you with different ways to view the input and output levels.

Name Image Function
Output clipping Output clipping When the green bar reaches 0, the slot at the end of the the meter will turn red. This indicates that clipping has occurred. For more information on clipping, refer to Sound Track Basics: Clipping.
Input clipping Input clipping When the red bar reaches 0, the slot at the end of the meter will turn red. This indicates that clipping has occurred. For more information on clipping, refer to Sound Track Basics: Clipping.
Monitor input menu Monitor input menu Normally, input levels are visible only during recording. Available on the Input pull-down menu, Monitor input allows you to test the level of the input without recording.
NOTE: Monitor input is found only on the Input pull-down menu.
Horizontal Stereo Horizontal Stereo The Horizontal Stereo option is found on both the Input and Output pull-down menus. It puts the meter in a horizontal orientation. This is the default setting for the Meter toolbar. Horizontal Stereo can be applied to one or both of the meters.
Vertical Stereo Vertical Stereo The Vertical Stereo option is found on both the Input and Output pull-down menus. It puts the meter in a vertical orientation. Vertical Stereo can be applied to one or both of the meters.
Decibel meter Decibel meter The Decibel (dB) option is found on both the Input and Output pull-down menus. In decibel mode, the meter will measure the levels in decibels. It starts at -60 on the left and extends to 0 on the right. This is the default setting for the Meter toolbar.
Linear meter Linear meter The Linear option is found on both the Input and Output pull-down menus. In Linear mode, the meter will measure the levels on a scale from 0 to 1. This can be useful to coordinate the Meter toolbar with the Waveform Display, as the Vertical ruler measures on a linear scale.
Disable menu Disable menu The Disable function is found on both the Input and Output pull-down menus. It removes the Meter toolbar from the Audacity window. You may want to disable the Meter toolbar if your computer is slower and having trouble displaying the levels on the Meter toolbar. To enable the Meter, toolbar select Edit » Preferences. At the Preferences dialog box, on the Interface tab, select Enable Meter Toolbar.
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