Too quiet!
May 11, 2016 9:14 PM   Subscribe

I have a boot-camped Mac that suffers from a known issue which disables the onboard audio-out in the Win 7 config. I have a Scarlett 2i2 USB breakout box that I have been using instead as my audio source, mostly to a) listen to YT playlists while I b) play a flightsim. The flightsim audio can get as loud as a real plane in headphones, while YT audio is simply too quiet. The net result is that I damp the sim audio waaay down and crank YT, and it's mostly satisfactory.

Sometimes, though, I really want to hear the sound, and I rather imagine there must be a simple audio control panel widget that allows one to override and enhance any given audio source to a volume that one desires.

Relatedly, I recently learned that Win 7's audio controls do not include assignable or mixable channels, such that one cannot swap L/R or blend L/R into binaural mono, which is in keeping with the MS ethos, I suppose, but still, how irritating.

Searching for solutions to these aggravations produces a rich field of advertising spam. Where are the nuggets I seek?
posted by mwhybark to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I assume you're aware of the per app volume mixer in Windows 7. If that's what you've tried and it's not working for you (though I'm not sure I understand why, exactly), what you might try doing instead is enable Loudness Equalization, which will make all sounds to play at roughly the same volume.
posted by Aleyn at 9:45 PM on May 11, 2016

The Scarlett when selected per instructions in your last link does not offer a tab labeled "Loudness Equalization," and as previously noted, the other audio devices available via the speaker icon do not produce output.

The Volume mixer appears to be the default Volume control, I think. It does not allow one to overdrive a given audio channel that I have been able to discern.
posted by mwhybark at 10:52 PM on May 11, 2016

Sounds like a hardware-specific issue with your breakout box. My searching suggests that not all audio devices support Enhancements. I assume that you've installed the drivers for your breakout box rather than relying on any Windows-supplied drivers? Maybe a different USB sound card (like this one) would work.

The per-app volume mixer is the default volume control, yes, which is why I assumed you knew about it. It won't overdrive any channel; the max volume for an app will be the overall maximum volume, so at best you can tamp down one (or more) channel and then raise the overall volume.
posted by Aleyn at 11:32 PM on May 11, 2016

I can't say authoritatively that I have purposefully installed any specific software from the manufacturer of the Scarlett; I believe I simply plugged it in. I suppose that may be worth looking into.
posted by mwhybark at 11:42 PM on May 11, 2016

Manual d/l and install produced a dialog indicating the newly-sourced software was the same as that currently installed.
posted by mwhybark at 11:45 PM on May 11, 2016

You can use something like (the strangely named) VoiceMeeter Banana. It comes with a 'virtual audio device' that you'd send your youtube and game audio to, mix as needed (even applying effects) then send the 'post-mix' output of that virtual device to your actual sound out (headphones, speakers, whatever).
posted by destructive cactus at 12:34 AM on May 12, 2016

That sounds promising. On the Mac side Rogue Amoeba produces a range of audio re-piping and fiddling widgets and I was envisioning something like their stuff.

Fixing the audio issue is supposed to be associated with rolling back any Windows Update delivered or installed drivers and using Boot Camp audio drivers only. Various internet fora indict the 2i2 as having a notably low monitor output, most commonly fixed by the acquisition of an inline headphone amp. IIRC the device may have been sold after the end of Apple support for Boot Camp on this specific model, but that is a vague memory from more than a year ago.

So no truly optimal solution: everything involves a time investment of more than 30 minutes or at least some cash.

I wonder if I have anything in my various gear piles that would work as an amp. I do have some dusty guitar amplifiers with headphone jacks around here, and sticking one under my desk and patching it in would take less than 30 minutes and cost no money. I sort of appreciate the inelegance of the solution.
posted by mwhybark at 7:49 PM on May 14, 2016

Which leads me to wonder, hey, what does an old school FM amp head with 1/4" ins and outs go for these days at Goodwill? $5?
posted by mwhybark at 7:50 PM on May 14, 2016

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