How To Use Realtek HD’s Loudness Equalization For Easy Volume Control

Although the Realtek HD sound card is now an obsolete product, there are many computers out there still using this audio workhorse for their PCs. The Realtek HD was built into millions of motherboards, and many of them are still in service. Chances are pretty good, if you have an older but still functional computer, you have a Realtek HD audio card in it. The Realtek HD was generally a pretty good card for basic sound playback.

Some quick notes about upgrading Realtek driver software

If you have a Realtek HD card, you probably already have the latest drivers for it. However, if your drivers have been corrupted or lost, it’s still possible to get the software online. Follow the instructions in this article and you should be able to get your drivers installed.

Using Realtek HD’s Loudness Equalization

Before telling you where this is and how to use it, I’ll explain what it does.

Loudness equalization is in simple terms a compressor and a hard limiter. The compressor boosts low volumes and the limiter establishes a ‘ceiling’ so things don’t get too loud. The end result is that just about everything pushed through the speakers has an even, consistent volume somewhat similar to how modern FM radio sounds.

Using Loudness Equalization

Launch the Realtek HD Audio Manager. This can be done by either double-clicking the orange speaker icon in the tray:

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…or by searching for ‘realtek’ in the Control Panel if the icon isn’t present:

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Enabling Loudness Equalization is only one checkbox. In the Realtek HD Audio Manager, click the Speakers tab, then the smaller submenu tab Sound Effects, and look for the checkbox Loudness Equalization:

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When checked, it’s enabled. When not checked, it’s disabled. Either happens instantly the moment you click with no reboots or software restarts required.

Where is Loudness Equalization useful?

Loudness Equalization is most useful when playing video, be it from video file, internet or DVD. Some clips/movies have audio mixed terribly where you can barely hear what’s going on in one scene, and then everything is way too loud in the next. With movies in particular, some are mixed loud and some soft where you constantly have to adjust the volume from film to film. With Loudness Equalization, just about all audio will have a consistent volume no matter what levels the original audio tracks used.

Does loudness equalization make audio sound better?

No. All it does is auto-adjust volume levels for consistency; it will not magically make crappy audio sound any better.

If you use your computer often to watch videos and movies with, you should get familiar with the loudness equalization feature if you have a Realtek HD audio card. It’s probably true you won’t need it all the time, but in a pinch it’s a nice thing to know so nothing audio doesn’t go from w-h-i-s-p-e-r quiet to BLARING LOUD and back again.

9 thoughts on “How To Use Realtek HD’s Loudness Equalization For Easy Volume Control”

Avatar robert treis says:
I hate to adjust the volume because I get this LOUD, LOUD sound every time I do it. I have found no way to turn it off…any help greatly appreciated. RET
Avatar bill ST says:
On Windows 10 at least – and I suppose the same holds true in recent Windows versions – you don’t need to click the volume slider to change the setting, if that’s the ‘annoying sound’ you’re referring to. You can simply click on the speaker icon and use the mousewheel to move the volume up or down.
Avatar Cameron Neubauer says:
It was on automatically and was terrible. The intro to All My Life and Territorial Pissings was a certain volume was at a certain volume, but once all the instruments and singing kicked in the volume dropped. Makes listening to music stupid if you have it on, which yeah said it wasn’t meant for that, but it was on automatically and I hadn’t realized that.
Avatar Ed Foster says:
KUCI Irvine sounds like crap without loudness equalization, so distorted, overdriven, that lowering vlc player to less than 80% volume is necessary, but still does not make the distortion go away. The filters and effects in vlc player I am hoping will fix this.
Avatar tom says:
no option for mine too!
Avatar Martin says:
Only good for “night-mode” use otherwise it destroys the intended dynamics of movies / music, especially music. I was frustrated with myself wondering why when listening to my lossless music on iTunes via headphones, it sounded as worse as listening to lossy audio from my iPod. Then I found out, I left the loudness equalization on since my mom has bad hearing. Everything sounds like it was supposed to be again.
Avatar Kevin G says:
Martin, I have a different Realtek driver than the one shown but this action has been driving me nuts for years. I produce videos of live gigs at a local club and I can hear this limiter pumping, it sounds like crap!
Why on earth would they label this switch “Loudness” when that already means low volume EQ and has for 60 years?
It’s stupid!
I can tell that there is really a compressor in there and I just want the damn thing off!
Oh well….
By the way, I’m not completely convinced that this actually disables the volume limiting function.
I’ll have to play with it some more. I wish the company would weigh in on this
Avatar Jotto999 says:
This option isn’t available on mine. Very frustrating.
Avatar Hector Ortiz says:
Loudness equalization is also useful if watching a movie/game or w/e at night. It helps not to wake up the rest of the house or your significant other in the same room. However I personally would not use it for music it tends to make it sound flat, but to me its basically like a ‘night mode’.
Avatar Aidan Sawa says:
I have the realtek HD audio driver and I just downloaded the link near the top of the page, but I still don’t have the option to turn on loudness equalization. How do I get this option?
Avatar Aaron Fournier says:
I would love to have loudness equalization on a HTPC because I hate when the volume level jumps around too drastically when watching a movie. It’s very annoying.

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