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Is There A Means Or A Way To Set The Audio Sound (Volume) Level The Same Level For My Windows 7 FROM ANY AUDIO SOURCE/DEVICE?

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello. I have a question to ask and hopefully find an answer and solution. I ahve been wondering about this issue for some time now.

Is there a means or a way to automatically set the audio sound (volume) level to the SAME level for my Windows 7 64-bit operating system *FROM ANY AUDIO SOURCE/DEVICE*?

When I say 'from any source/device ', I mean any audio source/device program that is: native to Windows (example: Windows Media Player and alike), a motherboard onboard audio (example: Realtek HD audio software interface with driver), an audio sound card PCI or PCI-E card (example: a Creative software suite for with driver), a standalone third party program (example: Winamp Media Player), and/or a standalone hardware device (example: using an MP3 portible player through the computer's USB port). I am sure you are aware that the volume level on one audio source/device program is INDEED DIFFERENT from another audio source/device program. I will even add that online video/audio interfaces like YouTube.com have audio/video clips that play different volume levels.

I am aware each audio source/device product's programming has different drivers and different GUI interface program where the user can regulate a volume level for a particular audio source/device product -- that EACH audio source/device controls the volume form their prospective sources/device SEPARATELY. I am looking for a program that controls and sets the audio volume at the SAME level from DIFFERENT audio sources/device products . Obviously, this program would have to be a third program to achieve this objective.

Theoretically, one programming method for this program would need to pre-set the volume from all audio sources/devices programs in some sort of customizable/configurable manner FIRST; then when you adjust this particular audio source/device program's volume that regulates the volume specifically from  all other audio sources/device programs. Therefore everything that you play, the audio level is the SAME volume. I find this programming method complicated and not sure if something like this exists today. I may be surprised that something of sorts DOES exist.

Realistically, another programming method is this audio product's programming would have some inherent auto leveling or 'sensing' volume capability with settings to achieve the desired or user set volume level. A good objective analogy is when the Philips Magnavox TV's SmartSound feature native to many manufactured TVs automatically sensed the volume from a particular TV broadcast and automatically set the volume consistent between TV programming and TV commercials.  Since TV commercials broadcasted were often more louder than the TV programming, the volume would be lowered during the playing of TV commercials.  I had such an old analog TV with such features that worked very well. If this same type of audio sensing technology is available today for Microsoft PCs, please provide me that information.


Please provide your own best possible well written, detailed and documented website links hopefully with images and demonstrations along with the instructions and/or your personal suggestions, hints, and tips. Thank you!!

DO NOT USE LMGTFY.com or similar-like web links in your reply. I consider its use very unprofessional for EE experts. If you do, you will not get acknowledged and receive no credit.

Please reply.

Thank you!
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Comment
Question by:RegulaOne
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7 Comments
 
LVL 82

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 180 total points
ID: 36547602
Not unless it is part of the audio driver.  That is the only place that will 'see' all the sources and be able to compensate for differing levels.  It's called ALC for Automatic Level Control.  I've built a number of them for analog audio units.

And even ALC won't take care of all of it because you can only get a limited dynamic range over which it will operate.  there will some sources that are too quiet or too loud for it to handle properly.
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 230 total points
ID: 36548905
I don't see how this is possible, since an onboard audio chip is completely independent of a discrete sound card.  You would need a custom program that knew of all your hardware and sent appropriate signals to each one.
0
 

Author Comment

by:RegulaOne
ID: 36551105
@ DaveBaldwin & Callandor:

Hello again. Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comments.

Okay, I see where you are coming from. Your more or less saying that it cannot be adjusted FROM THE SOURCE itself with reasonable explanation. Alright, let me ask this:

1. Doesn't ANY and ALL sound/audio is 'eventually' sent ("piped") through the Windows operating system in some manner since you can go to the Windows Volume Control Options window and adjust the volume from ANY and ALL sources before reaching the speakers? Couldn't there be a program that adjusts the volume though Windows with ALC technology (as DaveBaldwin alluded to) at the 'end process' before reaching the speakers? (I'm NOW looking at the 'END process' of where the audio/sound is traveling through instead of trying to control the volume 'at its source'.)

2. Also I will ask this, is there a 'physical device' you can purchase that has ALC or ALC-like properties that obviously would be installed at the end of the audio/sound pipeline -- something that has ALC technology connected in some manner with one's speakers? This physical device would have to be connected to your audio sound card's or motherboard's audio port connections?  

Please reply.

Thank you!
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LVL 82

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 180 total points
ID: 36551187
While it could be done, the purpose of an ALC circuit is to minimize the dynamic range of a signal.  That isn't necessarily what you want with music.  And yes you can buy professional equipment that will do that but I doubt that you will be willing to pay for it.  You might be able to find something here: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/compressors-limiters
0
 
LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 230 total points
ID: 36552630
If you think about onboard sound and a discrete sound card, they have separate output jacks.  They can exist simultaneously because usually you can configure the I/O addresses, but at the Windows level, one would have to be set as the default device (you typically see all your choices in the sound devices configuration panel).

Yes, you can connect a receiver/amp to the line output of your PC and control the volume that way, with or without a remote.
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LVL 78

Assisted Solution

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 90 total points
ID: 36553807
Just to set the record straight on television commercials and regular program content the output is the same, never getting over 100% modulation index the difference being that normal program content has a much higher dynamic range (the range from quiet to loud) than the highly processed commercials that have a fairly flat dynamic range and the difference between a quiet moment in a tv program and the start of the commercial which hits you slam bam with 80-90% modulation index.  There is a US lawmaker that is trying to pass a law to ensure that the commercial follows the program content in its volume levels (this is a lot easier to say than it is to put into practice).  This is why your television using its auto volume that senses the higher average levels and then depending upon the attack/decay levels limits the maximum volume without regard to the actual content i.e. watching top gun, or military battle sequences the maximum volume will be reduced.

Windows Media player, Itunes, and other media programs have the provision of having you flatten the dynamic range (but they must first scan the media and put in the 'replay gain' markers and you can set the maximum difference between soft and loud passages which audiophiles hate.. they want nothing between the source and their ears, they want it pure and unadulterated.

Windows does have a 'mixer' option in the volume control so you can adjust the output of various programs without affecting the others and you can set the maximum level.  Yes you can buy outboard processors and compressors and since the new audio stack in windows is highly protected (thank the MPAA/RIAA and your elected officials (DMCA) for that)

The problem is that unless you spend a fair amount you might be disappointed as the keeping of the audio channels completely in phase is difficult and also the 'specs' come with a price i.e. >0.0025% THD is more expensive than one with 0.025% THD (total harmonic distortion) you may not subjectively notice the difference but you may find that your ears get tired quicker.

You'd be surprised the ooh's and aah's that I get playing the same music that the kids play on their ipod's into earbuds that just by playing a lossless mp3 (flac) of the same material on quality audio equipment even though I play it a lot softer than they do unfortunately once you get used to quality video and audio you can see and hear artifacts that others don't.
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:RegulaOne
ID: 36828297
@ DaveBaldwin, Callandor, & ve3ofa:

Hello again. First, I want to thank each one of you for your articulate and analytical, technical, and practical, realistic, and sensible information. Each one of you have provided 'different' perspectives on my issue in each one of your comments;  even when changed from internally from its source to externally.

The bottom line it is capable, but only from the 'output' device source with additional 'hardware' in one regard. Yes, hardware is more expensive, but some audio/sound experts indicate using some electronics components can be 'cheaply assembled' on one's own to create an 'automatic volume control' (AVC), 'automatic level control' (ALC),  'auto gain control' (AGC), or even 'automatic volume limiter control' (AVLC) . Of course the hardware you see online are not ONLY of setting the highs and lows of the volume, but are expensive audio sound hardware components that are feature loaded with tons of treats. These include other audio/sound settings such as equalizer (EQ), mixer, etc. too with the big popular audiophile name stamped on the hardware raking the prices up for such a piece of hardware. Bottom line: Yes, it can be done with hardware.

Some where I found that the AVC, ALC, AGC, AVLC (you name it) can be made by hand (built from the beginning ) with electronics components from your local electronics store with the proper instructions.  

In another regard, I have found with software programs that it can be done, but some of the reviews are negative online with little or no success, and yet other say it works. Here is a website that has several of AVLC: http://automatic-volume-level-control-software.winsite.com/ .   This is where use your PC as a volume control device which stays between the audio/sound input source (microphone) & the audio/sound output source (speaker) all this software requires is an audio/sound card with a line-in and line-out. So this kind of software programs doesn't 'literally control' the volume of software programs inherent to the audio/sound hardware it is associated with, but for a better word 'monitors' from an 'outside third party program' at a port or jack on one's system. So it *IS* possible.

I have to say that the negative reviews for these types of audio sound volume leveling software programs I have been finding online are because reviewers are only assuming ultimate or absolute pure control of their volume control from anything and everything they listen too! They are not being realistic! There are too many factors here. For one, the sound of the audio live or audio recording itself may be too loud or too soft to begin with. Second, the source at that end that is capturing the audio live and playing the audio recording has its own nuances pertaining to volume levels. Settings on your system from various software volume control sources may be different as well. As a result, too often two original audio live or audio recordings will have the same volume level. The point is even audio sound volume leveling software programs cannot to it all with all other factors. Audio sound volume leveling software programs narrow the variance of the volume level, but they are not perfect as the reviewers expect them to be. So I have to look beyond these reviewers since audio sound volume leveling software programs are doing the best they can under the different conditions.        

Now, I am looking for this technology for ONLY watching TV programs that are full of TV commercials on my computer. Please understand,  NOT to use a volume control device or software for listening to my music I enjoy on my computer however. Let's face it; TV programs, at least for the past, were not meant for quality audiophile listening, but only watching and enjoying for good conversation and acting without the high fidelity of audio sound. As long as the sound was 'decent',  that is all what mattered. Music and TV were 'separate' hardware back in the past. Movies were at the theater BUILDING you go pay to see and hear great sound not in one's living room like now. Today, they are combined to get the 'full experience'. Now it is since it has changed with theater sound systems.   Sound technology has greatly improved and still is going forward.

Even in today's mixing into one source (the personal computer) where it 'does it all', I have to personally perceive them separately like it was in the past when I am watching TV shows or programs only that have riddled with TV LOUD commercials versus listening to good quality music. I do not feel a audio sound quality loss having this audio sound limiting software programs or hardware components ONLY FOR TV shows or programs with TV LOUD commercials. Now place a DVD or Blu-Ray into my player, I want the HD quality sound and OFF with audio sound volume leveling software programs or the audio sound volume leveling hardware component.

Okay, now awarding points and solution titles.

Like I originally at the top of this thread, I like each one of your comments. Each one addresses my topic. Okay, who gets that ONE "Accepted Solution"??? Callandor stated it DIRECTLY when stated, " You would need a custom program that knew of all your hardware and sent appropriate signals to each one.". This also implicates audio drivers as DaveBaldwin alludes too. There is not possible since there are copyrighted and patented proprietary issues at work here and no audio computer hardware or software manufacturer  is willing to 'share'. So it will not happen, obviously. I did not see that in terms of controlling the volume form the 'source' until Callandor make that PURELY CLEAR before me!!! This is not the answer I wanted to hear, but it is the truth in reality!  

DaveBaldwin made me aware of this ('ALC') from my initial question/thread at the top in terms of 'the source'  and how the driver would need to be controlled in some manner from the 'source'. DveBaldwin also briefly address in DaveBaldwin's second comment about, "While it could be done, the purpose of an ALC circuit is to minimize the dynamic range of a signal." ve3ofa talks about this in much greater degree in ve3ofa's comment in ve3ofa's first paragraph. ve3ofa also explains how a user can modify 'individual' programs to achieve one's results. That is useful to know. ve3ofa discusses the Windows 'mixer' option. Yes, this works, but not to the degree found from a audio sound volume leveling software programs. I appreciate the note.  

In terms of points, the one "Accepted Solution" will get 140 points. All other EE expert comments are applicable to this topic and highly useful as well as I previously stated. These comments will receive 90 points with an "Assisted Solution" title. I left a difference of 50 points as a variance between the Accepted Solution and a Assisted Solution.  

Again, thank you all!!! Each one of you got me thinking!!! ;-)
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