Squeezing A Bit More Life Out Of The Levelator

Hey, there!

I’ve been seeing more and more traffic about how El Capitan, a version of MacOS, breaks a lot of software.

As an example, if you happen to upgrade to El Capitan, The Levelator will simply stop working.

I’m working on a better solution for the long term, but in the meantime, I have a fix. And, an update as of 12/1/15.

UPDATE: Bruce Sharpe, as noted in the comments below, is the original developer of The Levelator, and has created a new version, 2.1.2, to address the installation issues in El Capitan. You can get the newly updated version at (as always, I keep that link safe and up to date.)

(The changes made in El Capitan from what was in Yosemite are major. And don’t worry, Windows users, this isn’t for you.)

One of the pieces of software affected is our beloved Levelator. This is the software that was originally created to level out the volumes of both sides of a recorded podcast conversation, but happens to perfectly produce files that ACX wants for audiobooks.

The Levelator is almost a decade old, and development stopped on it in 2007. But it’s lasted a good long time, and you can make it last a bit longer if you follow the steps below.

(The full write up on this is over at my friend Adam Engst’s TidBITS site. Just click here to read all the gory details.)

Be sure you only do this if you’ve decided to update your MacOS to El Capitan, and have already done so. This isn’t for Windows users, and it isn’t for users that are on Yosemite or below. You can check this by going to (Apple menu) >> About this Mac. If you see anything other than El Capitan, Version 10.11 as shown below, you don’t need to go any further with this:


If you drag an audio file onto The Levelator, you’ll see this instead of the usual progress bar:


(If you don’t, please let me know – I’d love to find out why.)

Here’s the step-by-step on how to fix this. You’ll need to do some surgery on your Mac’s user library. This is pretty straightforward, so put aside any fear you have and follow these instructions to the letter.

1. Open your Applications folder. Leave it open on your desktop.

2. Right-click (or control-click) on the, and choose Show Package Contents (click on the image to show it full size):

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 2.40.082 PM

3. You should see the Contents folder. Within that, open the Resources folder, and then open within that the osx folder. There will be a file called libsndfile.1.dylib.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 2.49.06 PM

(You can click on that image to see it full size as well.) That file is our culprit, and we have to find a new home for it. We’re going to create that home, then place a copy of it in that new home (folder, actually).

4. Open a new Finder window (File >> New Finder Window).

5. Immediately go to the Finder’s Go menu, choose Go to folder…:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 2.59.23 PM

Then, type this exactly: /usr/local (you can also copy and paste it from here, just don’t have any spaces before or after it). Then, click the Go button:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 2.59.42 PM

6. You may already have a lib folder inside /usr/local. If so, open it. Otherwise, choose File >> New Folder to make a new folder, and name it lib. You’ll need to enter your administrator password, the one you use when you boot your Mac, to create a folder here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 3.06.07 PM

7. Last step. Hold down the Option key (this will create a new copy of the file rather than just move it), and while you’re holding down the Option key, click and drag libsndfile.1.dylib from the first Finder window (the package contents of The Levelator) into the second Finder window (the lib folder you now have) to make a copy. You’ll need to enter your password after you do this. Now, restart your Mac.

Everything should be hunky dory. Let me know if it isn’t.

As I said, I’m working on a universal solution for the future – I can only imagine what new versions of the MacOS will do to The Levelator. I’m not waiting to find out.

Leave a comment below if you have any issues or ideas.

Hope this helps.


9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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