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Laptops Are Not Loud Enough

What to do if you can't hear your music or movies on your laptop.

Published Apr 21, 2006 by lobo235
Last updated on Jul 3, 2007

The speakers on laptop computers are usually not very loud. There are some laptops out there that have good speakers and can put out some good volume but most consumer laptops are lacking in this area. This doesn't mean that all hope is lost! There is still a way for you to increase the volume of your laptop a little more.

Popular media players have a feature that you may not know about that allows you to further adjust the volume of your media. No, we're not talking about the standard volume adjustment slider. We're talking about the graphic equalizer. A graphic equalizer is a group of sliders that allows you to adjust the level (gain) of multiple frequency groups (bands) of an audio signal. In other words, it allows you to adjust the volume for the bass frequencies (low sounds), treble frequencies (high sounds), and everything in between. Also, a graphic equalizer usually has a master slider that controls the master volume (or gain) of the audio signal.

So how does this graphic equalizer help you? Well, using the graphic equalizer you can amplify the sound signal of whatever media you are listening to whether it is a movie or sound file. So when your laptop's volume is cranked to the max and you still can't hear your movie / song, use the graphic equalizer to boost the volume further. Now, let's learn how to use the graphic equalizer for three of the most popular media players out there.

Windows Media Player

  • To turn on the graphic equalizer in Windows Media Player, go to the "view" menu and choose "Enhancements" and then choose "Graphic Equalizer"
  • Move each of the sliders up to boost the volume as in the image below:
    Windows Media Player graphic equalizer


  • To turn on the graphic equalizer in iTunes click on the leftmost button in the bottom right of the application that looks like blue sliders. See the image below:
    iTunes graphic equalizer button
  • Move the "Preamp" slider up to the desired level to boost the volume as seen in the image below:
    iTunes graphic equalizer


  • Click on the arrow underneath "Config" to expand the graphic equalizer. See the image below:
    Winamp graphic equalizer button
  • Move the "Preamp" slider up to the desired level to boost the volume as seen in the image below:
    Winamp graphic equalizer

Some audio codecs also come with their own gain controls. One such codec is AC3Filter. AC3Filter has a config tool that allows you to increase the gain for any audio it handles. You can also use AC3Filter's config tool to apply dynamic range control which will normalize the audio so the quiet parts are louder and the loud parts are quieter so you should be able to hear everything better on a laptop with wimpy speakers. These options vary depending on the codec; some have volume gain options and others do not.

Also, some sound cards may come with special software/drivers that allow you to further adjust volume and gain settings. Look at the documentation for your sound card or just dig around in the control panel or sound card software to see if you can find any such settings.

One thing to keep in mind is that these methods for increasing the volume on your laptop can distort the audio to a certain degree which may not be desirable for all of the audiophiles out there. Sometimes this is the only option for increasing the volume, however, so you may just have to live with the distortion if you want to hear your movie.

You have now mastered the graphic equalizer so you will never have to watch another DVD on your laptop and at the end wonder what the people were saying during the whole movie. Now pump up the volume on your laptop and spread the word that laptops are not loud enough but they can be helped.

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