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How to Revive The Levelator in El Capitan

The Levelator Updated -- The Conversations Network has now released an update to The Levelator that works in El Capitan, so the instructions in this article are no longer necessary. For details and a download link, see “The Levelator 2.1.2 Works in El Capitan” (1 December 2015).

Many people who record podcasts use a free tool called The Levelator to ensure that audio files use a consistent loudness, something that can be tricky to achieve otherwise with multiple people in the same podcast, and between podcast episodes. Because of this capability, The Levelator is part of our process for recording TidBITS articles for those who would rather listen than read (see “PodBOT Improves TidBITS Audio,” 7 May 2012). Unfortunately, as of the end of 2012, The Levelator is no longer being maintained, and worse, it displays an error when used in OS X 10.11 El Capitan. That in turn confuses PodBOT, throwing a serious wrench into our audio automation.

We had thought The Levelator was just dead, and were trying to figure out how we’d maintain a Mac running 10.10 Yosemite to facilitate processing our audio, when I stumbled across a comment in a Mac Forums discussion that pointed to the solution. So if you want to use The Levelator in El Capitan, follow these steps:

  1. Control-click on the Levelator icon in the Applications folder, and choose Show Package Contents.

  2. Within the Levelator package, open the Contents folder, then Resources, and finally osx. You should see a file called libsndfile.1.dylib. If a full path would be helpful, it’s Contents/Resources/osx/libsndfile.1.dylib.

  3. Open a new Finder window, choose Go > Go to Folder (Command-Shift-G), type /usr/local into the dialog that appears, and press Return. The window should display the contents of that otherwise hidden folder, and it’s entirely likely there won’t be anything there.

  4. If there is a lib folder inside /usr/local, open it. Otherwise, choose File > New Folder (Command-Shift-N) to make a new folder, and name it lib exactly. You’ll need to enter an administrator password to create a folder there.

  5. Press the Option key, and drag libsndfile.1.dylib from the first Finder window into the second Finder window, which should be showing the path /usr/local/lib, to make a copy. Again, enter an administrator password when prompted.

  6. Restart your Mac.

That’s it — once your Mac comes back up, you should be able to continue using The Levelator as before.


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Comments about How to Revive The Levelator in El Capitan
(Comments are closed.)

cordobatim  2015-09-29 17:48
Wow, thanks! The Levelator is a necessary part of my workflow in preparing a weekly radio program. You saved me some unnecessary panic.
Eric Olander  2015-10-02 22:06
Thank you!!! You totally saved me.
Jerry Zigmont Apple Consulting  2015-10-03 11:13
Brilliant! Thank you so much!
Stefan Constantinescu  2015-10-04 14:57
You've just saved my ass.

Thank you very much.
Nathan  2015-10-05 20:29
THANK YOU so much!
I use Levelator for MicroBrewr Podcast and I almost freaked out trying to put together tomorrow's episode.

I guess there are enough people podcasting these days that, just 3 days after El Capitan was released, someone figured out how to fix it.

Alas, Levelator won't always be compatible with Mac OS, I presume. Who can we nominate to maintain it?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-06 13:41
I know people who have had discussions with the owners of the code about taking it over, but apparently those conversations haven't gone anywhere.

On Twitter, someone recommended Auphonic Leveler, which is commercial but may be even better than The Levelator.  2015-10-05 20:38
At least in my case, restarting the Mac was not necessary.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-05 22:11
Good to know - we'd tried it with the restart, and once you've restarted, you can't un-restart. :-)
David Van Nuys  2015-10-12 23:11
I found my mistake! I was entering /user/ instead of /usr/
Hank Roberts  2015-10-05 22:04
Can I up from 10.9 Mavericks to 10.11 El Cap, or do I have to go through whatsisname 10.10
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-05 22:12
Yes, you can upgrade directly to 10.11 from 10.9.
Thank you so much for this info - you're a real lifesaver!
mopperman  2015-10-06 13:05
Glad to see the fix I came up with working. Thanks for documenting how to apply it for those who would find such noodling challenging otherwise.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-06 13:39
Thank you! It can be hard to give credit where it's due appropriately when the information comes from an online forum. Figuring out how to keep The Levelator alive is a true community service.
rraallvv  2015-10-07 07:02
For some reason I have to install a version of the library that supports both 32 bit and 64 bit architectures. For that I used homebrew ( with the flag --universal

$brew install libsndfile --universal
Bit Polar  2015-10-07 20:30
God Bless
Luis Bermejo  2015-10-09 04:54
Thank You!!! GREAT...

(Not necessary restart the Mac)
Thank you! This was a lifesaver!
I'm not finding anything where is is supposed to be after the 'resources' step... ie. no OSX folder, and a system wide search for libsndfile.1.dylib turned up nothing...

Both manual and system searched for a folder called OSX turned up nothing.

I'm on El Capitan now, and have been using levitator on mac with no problems for over a year.
Addendum, for me INSTEAD of doing the resources folder, there is a folder named MACOS which has the required file. The rest of the steps work as advertised.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-16 14:39
Fascinating - do you perhaps have an older version of Levelator? 2.1.1 is the latest, available from the first link in the article text.
im not allowed to move anything over to lib folder. im getting a circle with a line in it. even while im holding the option key. any ides
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-16 20:33
Are you using an administrator account? I thought it would prompt regardless, but perhaps not.

You may need to do this with sudo at the command line.
thanks so much for the quick reply, im not so great with terminal though. can you tell my the command ? and yes im the administrator
thanks so much for the quick reply, im not so great with terminal though. can you tell me the command ? and yes im the administrator

so is this right? sudo mv ~Contents/Resources/libsndfile.1.dylib.~ /usr/lib
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-19 15:14
I hadn't had a chance to test before this, but you're on the right path, although your specific paths don't look right to my eye. Try this instead:

sudo cp /Applications/ /usr/local/lib
i think its not working cuz it just gives me back
Nadias-MacBook-Pro:~ NadiaAlsouqi$
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-10-19 16:54
It won't give any feedback at the command line, but if you use Go > Go to Folder to look at /usr/local/lib, the file should be there. And if you don't have a lib folder, you'd need to do

sudo mkdir /usr/local/lib
Borgendorf  2015-10-27 20:27
George  2015-10-29 13:57
Thanks so much! Worked like a charm!
Michael Johnston the iOS Show Podcast  2015-10-31 22:36
So happy Levelator isn't dead! I use it weekly.
thank from ukraine :)
Donald Schaffner  2015-11-02 15:21
Thank you so much!
John Wall  2015-11-03 14:35
Weird - first time I tried it something went wrong with the paste of the file. Make sure it's 822kb when it's copied to the new directory
ScavengerLifecom  2015-11-08 12:48
thank you! you saved my podcast
Todd Bishop  2015-11-08 14:38
Seriously, thank you. Huge help.
Just to add a big thank you to all the other ones already posted. I've been using Levelator for years for my podcasts and I had no idea why it wasn't working so I googled and found these instructions. They work like a charm and the Levelator is back! I hope the old Conversation Network people hand off the code to other developers who are willing to keep Levelator alive in the future.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Rob Leachman  2015-11-12 11:37
(typed) words cannot express how happy I am to have these precious bits running again... THANKS
Thank god you shared this information! I just updated and had a minor heart attack as I was testing my software and found Levitator was no broke.
Francesca  2015-11-17 16:41
This is not working for me. I followed all the instructions and restarted but I'm still getting this:

Level reports:dyld:Library not loaded: @executable_path/../Frameworks/libsndfile.1.dylib
Referenced from: /Applications/
Reason: no suitable image found. Did find: /usr/local/lib/libsndfile.1.dylib: unknown file type, first eight bytes: 0x62 0x6f 0x6f 0x6B 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x00

Please help ;( I'm working on a very important project and the sound is really bad!!

Thank you
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-11-17 16:45
Sorry it's not working. The best I can suggest is that you download a new version of The Levelator to make sure you have the latest. If that doesn't work and you're under deadline, perhaps try Leveler.
Francesca  2015-11-17 16:51
I have version 2.1.1 Is this the latest one? :(
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2015-11-17 17:22
Yes, it is. When I read the error you gave, it looks like the file in question might be corrupt - perhaps download a new version and use that to get the lbdsndfile.1.dylib.
John McClung  2017-08-28 01:25
Wow, great to discover this trick to revive Levelator. It worked fine and no restart needed.