I'm looking for a software solution to normalise real-time audio output, basically just the standard audio out for the system. In simple terms I want to set a volume level then have the sound from applications automatically boosted or reduced to that level via some sort of audio filter or plugin.

More particularly, I want a hard volume output limit, a set level it will never go above. So essentially I want to collar audio volume between given floor and ceiling values.

I've looked at similar questions and answers, like this one:

Automatically adjust the volume based on content?

The consensus seems to be to use a compressor with a fast look-ahead limiter (LADSPA plugins). I have set this up and its not really doing the job, the volume will still spike massively without hitting a limit, and more than that the par level seems to drift which is annoying. Either I just don't know how to configure the plugins (i've tried several values but the documentation is VERY sparse) or I just need a much more aggressive solution.

I'm using pluseaudio on xubuntu.

Any ideas?

If you're interested, the use case is for viewing twitch streams, where audio balancing can be very hit and miss, and streamers will often suddenly yell into their mic with no warning.

  • Have you tried the limiter or the other compressor mentioned in the comments?
    – danzel
    Jul 12, 2018 at 15:53
  • I tried to make the TAP plugins but it fails. I don't normally compile from source so its possible i'm doing it wrong.
    – DeepFried
    Jul 14, 2018 at 15:26

3 Answers 3


OK, so just for other peoples benefit, this is the best solution I have found myself:

A program called PulseEffects. its GUI based and runs as an application so its easy to start and stop without having to fiddle with config files. It also allows you to easily stack multiple effects, like compression, automatic gain, a limiter etc and you can apply it application by application, so if you want it on for Chrome but not spotify thats easy to do.


VLevel - LADSPA plugin and command-line filter


EasyEffects (which does require Pipewire however), which is a newer version of PulseEffects.

I think it's great software product!

enter image description here

Effects available:

  • Auto gain
  • Bass enhancer
  • Bass loudness
  • Compressor
  • Convolver
  • Crossfeed
  • Crystalizer
  • De-esser
  • Echo Canceller
  • Equalizer
  • Exciter
  • Expander
  • Filter (low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-reject modes)
  • Gate
  • Limiter
  • Loudness
  • Maximizer
  • Multiband compressor
  • Multiband gate
  • Noise reduction
  • Pitch
  • Reverberation
  • Stereo tools

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .