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I often find, when playing videos from my computer through a TV via HDMI, that the dynamic range is too great. Loud sounds are too loud, and quiet sounds are too quiet, especially with movies. It's a big issue with dialogue, which I have a hard time interpreting aurally -- dialogue is often quieter than gunshots.

I often have a better experience through my "inferior" laptop speakers. I have had this problem with various separate-speaker setups, so I assume these things are manufactured and configured to be this way. I generally dislike the sound in movie theatres for the same reason.

In a typical home TV or digital speaker setup, is there a standard setting which can use to adjust this? What is it called and how should I use it?

When I am playing videos out my computer (Ubuntu, using Alsa) via HDMI, is there something in my operating system which can adjust the output to fix this independently of the output device? Or in the media player (VLC)?

What I do not want is the "dynamic" setting my TV has which seems to continually adjust the adjustment parameter. By this I mean, if a movie transitions from a loud scene to a quiet scene, the quiet scene will be very quiet at first, then a second or so later the TV will start making it louder. Likewise a sudden loud scene will become quieter after a short period. No thank you. I want the adjustment to be fixed, not "intelligently" shifted to adapt to the changing context.

What is this phenomena called and how to I fix it?

  • See sound.stackexchange.com/a/48859/9601 for a different question with a similar answer. The images are actually from my own HTPC doing precisely this task. If you're on Mac you can do this with SoundSource & either expensive Waves plugins, as in the images, or Apple's own built-in audio effects. Windows, I'm not sure what you'd need. Try searching 'windows APO'. – Tetsujin Oct 17 at 13:37

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