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Low volume on Blu-ray playback with Qosmio laptop, Windows 7: FIXED

May 12, 2011

I got an expensive laptop on which to play Blu-rays. But sometimes, the volume on Blu-ray playback was too low. DVDs were fine, and often the Blu-ray menu screen would be fine, but the film itself would be too quiet.

My laptop is a Toshiba Qosmio, but I believe this problem is common to many laptops.

The reason, as far as I can tell (and I may not be precisely accurate here because I don’t actually know what I’m talking about), is that some Blu-rays are using the 5.1 audio track, which splits the sound among different channels. This soundtrack assumes you have an expensive multi-speaker system. But you don’t, you just have crappy laptop speakers. So parts of the sound are being sent to speakers that don’t exist. Hence the low volume.

THE SOLUTION

I don’t know much about why this works, but it does. I’ve only tried this in Windows 7. Possibly it only works with my audio device (Conexant Pebble High Definition SmartAudio), but hopefully it works with anything.

  • Go to Control Panel
  • If you’re in ‘Category’ view (with only 8 or so icons onscreen, click “Hardware and Sound”.  If you’re in normal view (with lots of icons onscreen) jump to the next step.
  • Click “Sound”. A box will appear. See the “Speakers” icon? Right-click on that and select “Properties”.
  • Select the “Enhancements” tab.
  • Put a tick in the “Loudness Equalization” box.
  • Click ‘OK’.
  • That’s it! Blu-rays will now play at a decent volume.
Go figure.
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