Windows audio volume control not putting out
July 16, 2015 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Let's say you found some nice music on Utoob but the volume is a bit lacking. The 'toob's volume slider is all the way up. All the Windows Mixer sliders are all the way up. So you figure well, that's all the louder there is in this vid, tough beans. And yet, ... (posting form says move some of this mess inside, sorry).

And yet, if you download the mp4 and play it back in VLC, the VLC volume slider seems to be able to crank the sound not just to 11 but to 19 or 20. Where is VLC finding this additional loudness? And is that 11+ also possibly available somewhere else in the OS that I've never stumbled on? Thanks very much from me and also from Michael Haydn.
posted by jfuller to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
Best answer: Notice how VLC's volume bar goes to 200%? It's got a software amplifier that sends a higher volume signal to the soundcard.
posted by fifthrider at 11:45 AM on July 16, 2015

Best answer: Below 100%, VLC is basically scaling all of the amplitudes in the input file down, and above 100%, it's doing the reverse. But most audio programs don't do this by default because there's a maximum amplitude that can be specified in a digital audio track. The result is that if you scale the amplitudes up a lot you'll probably hear digital clipping, a kind of harsh speaker-blown-out-sounding distortion, because some of the amplitude peaks will now be greater than the maximum that a digital sound file can encode, so they'll be cut off. If an audio track is pretty quiet, the clipping might be subtle or rare enough that it's an acceptable trade-off to have it be louder. There are ways to get more volume on average adaptively, so that regions of lower amplitude get a greater boost than louder regions, but you'd probably have to actually open up the audio track in Audacity or something to do that, plus it's sort of an art form to apply those transformations in a way that won't make the recording sound strange (particularly for something like Haydn).
posted by en forme de poire at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK, I got it. So if I really want to crank it I actually have to do what I've always done, namely download the MP4, patch it over to my stereo (by no means audiophile-quality but still good enough to hear, in a good recording, pretty much everything I see if I follow along in a printed score) and crank that until I hear distortion. Hokay.

Thanks to both of you, and here's your reward. I haven't yet found the exact version of the Michael Haydn thing that I was hoping for but OMG here's the other one I especially wanted (F. J. H. this time)--exact soloist (Christine Walevska), exact conductor (de Waart), exact ensemble (ECO) and recording. Poppin' fresh, appears to have gone up on July 2. The cadenza is Walevska's own; I've never heard a better.

Plus, the heartthrob record cover. C.W., sigh. I know she's not still that age--but then I'm also in love with Ellen Terry. Que The Who, Pictures of Lily.
posted by jfuller at 2:24 PM on July 16, 2015

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