Sunday, October 2, 2011

Windows 7 audio redux : Loudness equalization

I recently purchased a new laptop for my partner. He has been recording audio from tapes using Honestech's Audio Recorder Deluxe 2.0 . Everything was working fine on his old laptop running Vista.

But on the new laptop, something very strange happened : every time a song faded at the end, there was an ever-increasing amount of amplified hiss. This was extremely annoying. I verified by plugging headphones directly into the tape deck that the noise was not from the source.

I had to mess with the laptop for a while before I found the cause, buried in the Realtek audio settings :

Notice the checkmark for "Loudness equalization", and the explanation for it.
When I turned this effect off, and replayed the music files that were already recorded, everything was quiet between songs, as expected.

This setting really messes up with music playback in general. I think it is really better suited to voice. I'm not sure why Toshiba / Realtek / Microsoft decided to turn this on by default.

Note that the list of effects may vary by hardware device. The above list is from my desktop and is extensive. The laptop only offered a single effect option, which was Loudness Equalization

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