Loud speaker. Quiet speaker. Alternate at random.
December 15, 2009 9:41 PM   Subscribe

I want to listen to my digital music player at work (technically, WMAs and not MP3s) through speakers rather than headphones. With the latter, all my songs sound fairly consistent in volume. With the former, they're all over the map and ditto for the dynamic range. Suggestions?

I'm using PC speakers. They seem of good enough quality, but is that what's magnifying the variation in volume? Would a cheaper, weaker set of speakers actually make it better?

This is at work, so sound quality and bass isn't too important. And I keep the volume just loud enough so I can hear it, and the environment is usual office ambience/conversations. I've tried maxing out the speakers and adjusting the player, vice versa, and in between on both.

I'd prefer to avoid the hassle of normalization software, unless there's something out there for WMAs that's really easy and effective. USB access to the work computer is restricted. Hopefully others have had similar problems and have found workarounds as simple as just getting the right speakers. Thanks in advance.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Technology (6 answers total)
If you're willing to try hardware, perhaps an Alesis Nanocompressor will do the trick. Compressors are all about control of dynamic range, and a nanocomp runs for around $40 on eBay; it's a little black box you can plug in and forget about.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:49 PM on December 15, 2009

When you say all over the map, do you mean you actually want less dynamic range, poorer quality?
posted by floam at 10:53 PM on December 15, 2009

(As opposed to the overall volume level being different between different tracks. I can't tell if you just want to normalize the volume level, or want to compress the audio.)
posted by floam at 10:56 PM on December 15, 2009

Not sure if I'm using the term correctly, but the volume will not only change from one song to the next, but also within each song, so something that starts out quiet and ballady before going all-out rock will exhibit a big jump in volume. I guess compression would be what I'd like... Sort of like home theaters/DVD players that have the option of keeping the loud and quiet extremes a bit closer to each other.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:46 PM on December 15, 2009

Your DAP doesn't have enough oomph to power the speakers properly.
posted by sinfony at 1:11 AM on December 16, 2009

2nd sinfony. you need a stronger amp.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:03 AM on December 16, 2009

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