How can I make iTunes play louder?
January 2, 2007 7:05 PM   Subscribe

How can I increase iTunes volume beyond the current maximum on my Powerbook G4?

I don't understand volume on my Mac. I've visited websites where flash videos are annoyingly, surprisingly loud. So, I know the system is capable of playing loud noises.

However, if I set iTunes to maximum volume, and set the system volume to the maximum, the actual loudness of the speakers isn't near what I've heard from flash videos.

How can I get iTunes to play louder?
posted by odinsdream to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For one thing you can use distortion and compression to increase the perceived loudness of sound, so it my be that they're physically no louder.

In iTunes, you can boost the actual volume of quiet tracks by selecting Get Info on a track and using the Volume Adjustment slider. You can also select Window > Equalizer, select Flat and turn the "pre-amp" right up, and if necessary all the other sliders. This will add distortion on loud tracks.
posted by cillit bang at 7:12 PM on January 2, 2007

Open the iTunes preferences.

Click "Playback" at the top.

Un-check "[ ] Sound Check".

For some reason, iTunes' idea of normalization is "make everything really, really, really, really quiet." I don't know why.
posted by majick at 8:03 PM on January 2, 2007

The Powerbook G4 speakers (depending, of course, on model - the 12" has the worst and the 17" the best speakers) are pretty awful. I'm continually surprised at the TYPES of sound that are loud, versus soft-- but yes, make sure Sound Check is off and bump up the preamp if you so desire. Also you might want to check into Volume Logic (a plugin that may or may not yet work with iTunes 7, but that raises ALL playback, within a song, to similar levels-- creating an interesting effect that many people love and a few people hate).
posted by dmaterialized at 8:15 PM on January 2, 2007

I've got the 15" model, if that helps. Thanks so far everyone.
posted by odinsdream at 9:00 PM on January 2, 2007

Please don't take dematerialized's advice about Volume Logic.

The dynamic range of most new music is awful enough already without making things worse for yourself.
posted by revfitz at 7:56 PM on January 3, 2007

oops, dmaterialized.
posted by revfitz at 11:19 PM on January 3, 2007

as dmaterialized mentioned, Powerbook G4 speakers are terrible, especially in the 15" (which I have. bummer) where the two side speakers are hi-range only and the mid-range speaker is located under the left side of the space bar. This is why the sound will ALWAYS sound like it's coming from the left side even when you adjust the balance in system preferences. this is obviously not isolated to iTunes though.

[a similar but unrelated problem is in the computer's tendency to change the balance settings randomly. this seems to happen on a lot of older mac laptops.]

the BEST solution, as mentioned above, is to go into the EQ settings and bring the pre-amp all the way up (making sure that the equalizer is turned on with the appropriate checkbox). this can effectively "double" the volume output, though I'm sure it's terrible for the speakers.

but whatever you do, you don't need to limit the dynamic range of your music any more. stylus magazine's Nick Southall writes more on this subject.
posted by the_arbiter at 11:16 AM on January 4, 2007

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