[HOW-TO] Utilize built-in Loudness Equalization in Windows 7 or 8
There's bunch of articles which explains what Loudness Equalization does and how it operates and affect supported playback devices and platforms. Essentially, it's a volume compressor which handles Dynamic Range Compression. This guide will explain how to utilize the feature as intended and also guide you on how to utilize it for a quick system-wide volume boost.
Now some may ask, "How exactly would this benefit me?" or "I can already bump volume up to 200% with VLC when playing my media so will this still benefit me?" Read on for more details!
What is it good for?
There's a few key intended uses of this feature with such as eliminating dynamic contrast in digital content playbacks (from DVDs and others) where, for example, you can tune down the volume when watching your DVDs without missing the quieter parts such as dialogues. Another use is for normalizing audio playback levels on supported applications.
For instance, when playing videos on YouTube or moving from one clip to another, hopping from channel to channel, or rather going through a mixed playlist, sometimes you'll bump into a video with a much higher volume. With Loudness Equalization enabled, your eardrums will less likely get violated with disturbing or annoyingly loud output, not levelled with the rest. With it, you won't have to adjust your volume up and down at random times, giving you a more consistent output.
Alternate use of the feature
Since Dynamic Range Compression basically narrows down the audio signal's dynamic range, effectively amplifying quiet sounds and reduces the volume of loud sounds, on most systems it affects the overall output volume level (dB) in an interesting way -- few notches of dB bumps! (higher upper limit for maximum volume)
What we're aiming to achieve here is essentially a system-wide volume boost. All apps, in browser-streams and more. Read on for details! :)
Groups of people that might benefit
- Laptop users in which their built-in speaker have a low upper (maximum) volume.
- Desktop or laptop users which pipe their audio to a monitor with a built-in speaker via HDMI or the 3.5mm audio jack where the speaker also suffers similar case as stated in (1)
Please take note that this has been tested on multiple Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems with different audio chipsets. You mileage may vary and yes, it should work in Windows Vista as well :)
Enabling Loudness Equalization
The following procedure is based on Windows 7 work-flow as a reference. Please take note that if you don't see the Enhancements tab, your audio chipset might not be capable or supported by the feature.
Right-click the speaker icon, next to the clock and date on the toolbar → "Playback devices" → double-click on your default output → click on "Enhancements" tab → scroll down the list and click the check-box next to "Loudness Equalization".
Alternatively, navigate to "Control Panel", make sure that it's in default view mode which is Category → "Hardware and Sound" → "Manage Audio Devices" → double-click on your default output → click on "Enhancements" tab → scroll down the list and click the check-box next to "Loudness Equalization".
Congratulations! You should now have have Loudness Equalization enabled! Now go give it a spin. Play a video on YouTube or something from your collection using any of your preferred media player. Everything should sound a lot louder, much like what you have before but with the volume cranked to 11 :)
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment down below. Have a nice day! :)