- Audio normalization refers to consistent output sound loudness levels across different apps and audio sources.
- Enable audio equalization/normalization by going to Settings >> System >> Sound >> More sound settings >> Enhancements >> (select) Loudness Equalization
Having to adjust your volume level over and over again can be annoying. While watching videos, or listening to songs, you may have experienced different volume levels across different apps, and videos, or even whilst watching ads between the content. This can be extremely panicky as you hear a loud burst of sounds after a subtle volume level.
For this purpose, you can normalize the audio level on your Windows 11 or 10 computer so your heartbeat doesn’t suddenly go up while watching a movie, listening to a relaxing song, or streaming a video.
Sound normalization, also known as “sound leveling” and “loudness equalization,” is a technique to balance the audio levels across different content. For example, the sound level while watching a video on Youtube may be normal, but the ads are played loud.
In Windows, you can enable audio normalization to prevent sudden spikes in sound levels so you won’t be rushing to the volume controls all the time.
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What is audio/sound normalization?
While audio normalization might mean something else to the sound producers, to the common end-device users, it means auto-leveling the audio output across all apps and content. In simpler words, sound normalization is a method to make the sound output level consistent across different audio sources.
The Windows operating system has a built-in feature that you need to enable manually to normalize the audio. The system does the rest on its own. Before going through the process of enabling audio normalization, here is why we think you should enable it.
Benefits of normalizing volume
While normalizing volume might seem unnecessary to a few, it can be time-saving for the rest. Not only that, but it also has a few other benefits:
- Consistent sound output: You won’t have to adjust the volume level with each audio source. Instead, Windows will automatically adjust it for you with a consistent audio output with each audio source.
- Prevent audio spikes: Sudden audio spikes can not only startle you but also impact the output speakers and potentially damage them. Enabling audio normalization prevents spikes from occurring.
- Reduces sound distortion: If there is sound crackling and distortion, then volume normalization reduces them for better audio quality.
- Better for people with hearing problems: People with hearing damage can benefit from this precautionary measure and prevent further damage from audio spikes and distortion.
If you are experiencing either one of these issues or having to adjust your output volume level over and over again, then enabling volume normalization just might fix your problem.
How to enable volume normalization
You can enable volume normalization in Windows from the Sound applet. However, depending on which sound driver is installed, the “Enhancements” tab which contains the option to enable audio normalization may not be available. Therefore, we have divided this section into two parts:
Restore the audio Enhancement tab
First, apply the following steps to restore the Enhancement tab, which is normally missing on a Windows PC with regular drivers:
Press the Windows Key + R to open the Run Command box.
Type in “devmgmt.msc” and press Enter to open the Device Manager.
Expand “Sound, video and game controllers” by clicking it.
Right-click “Realtek(R) Audio,” then click “Disable device” from the context menu.
When asked for confirmation, click Yes.
When asked for a system restart, click No.
Now right-click Realtek(R) Audio again and then click “Update Driver.”
In the Update Drivers wizard, click “Browse my computer for drivers.”
On the next screen click “Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.”
Now select “High Definition Audio Device” and then click Next.
When asked for confirmation, click Yes.
Once the driver has been installed, close the wizard as well as the Device Manager.
Once these steps have been performed successfully, you should now see the Enhancements tab when performing the steps in the next section below.
Enable volume normalization in Windows
Once the steps in the section above have been performed, use the following steps to enable audio normalization in Windows:
Navigate to the following to open the Sound applet:
Settings app >> System >> Sound >> More sound settings
Note: You can also type in “mmsys.cpl” in the Run Command box to open the Sound applet directly.
Select the output speakers and then click Properties.
Switch to the Enhancements tab.
Uncheck “Disable all enhancements.”
Select “Loudness Equalization“.
Click Apply and Ok.
Now, the volume normalization is enabled. You should feel a difference in audio levels when switching between different apps and audio sources, and the sudden fluctuation in the audio levels should be fixed.
How to normalize volume in VLC player
The VideoLAN Client (VLC) is a cross-platform video player widely used to play videos on desktops and portable devices. Not only can you increase the maximum volume in VLC, but you can also normalize the audio for the different sources from within the VLC settings. Here is how:
Open the VLC media player.
Click “Tools” from the ribbon menu and then click “Preferences.”
Switch to the Audio settings.
Select “Normalize volume to” and then select the maximum volume level you want to set for all audio sources.
The output volume level will now be normalized to the entered volume level This would mean that all sounds played through the VLC media player will now center around that particular volume loudness.
Audio loudness normalization helps you level the audio output across different applications as well as sound sources. For example, while you are listening to a soundtrack on an app, another soundtrack with a different audio level will seem to have the same volume as the rest.
That said, some people may find audio normalization as a setback. This is usually the people who like to listen to their audio at exceptionally loud levels. While audio normalization may increase audio levels for some audio sources, it may also decrease the level for others.
Therefore, if you are a loud listener, then sound normalization might not be a feature for you.