ITunes is qui­eter than Quick Look

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

I have some MP3 tracks that are nice and loud when opened with Quick Look, but they’re no­tice­ably qui­eter in iTunes. I have turned up the preamp but it’s still not as loud as Quick Look. I use an iMac with Yosemite and have the lat­est ver­sion of iTunes. Derek Cham­p­ley The preamp isn’t usu­ally the best way to boost the vol­ume be­cause it will add dis­tor­tion. The rea­son iTunes is qui­eter for most tracks is Sound Check is turned on in its pref­er­ences. This fea­ture at­tempts to nor­malise the loud­ness of songs by cal­cu­lat­ing the av­er­age loud­ness of a track by it­self and then adding an ad­just­ment fac­tor to that track’s ID3 tags. This boosts the vol­ume of a few very quiet tracks, but most tracks end up slightly qui­eter to com­pen­sate – about 10% is the fig­ure I’ve heard. Sound Check al­lows you to play mu­sic from lots of dif­fer­ent artists, recorded at dif­fer­ent gain lev­els, with­out hav­ing to con­tin­u­ally tweak the vol­ume level up and down your­self. Some­time in the last cou­ple of ver­sions, Ap­ple qui­etly tweaked Sound Check so that it pre­serves the in­trin­sic loud­ness of a track when you are lis­ten­ing in al­bum mode. This al­lows artists to have in­ten­tion­ally quiet tracks, with­out iTunes drag­ging them up to match ev­ery­thing else. If you lis­ten in shuf­fle mode, those quiet tracks will sound much louder, be­cause Sound Check is boost­ing them.

The im­por­tant thing to re­alise is that Sound Check doesn’t change the au­dio data in a file at all. It just adds an ex­tra field in the ID3 meta­data of a file. When you lis­ten to MP3s through Quick Look, you are us­ing the Quick­Time au­dio en­gine, which ig­nores this meta­data and plays the track at the gain level that was set when the track was orig­i­nally mas­tered. For al­most all tracks this will be louder than the level with Sound Check en­abled. To get this ex­pe­ri­ence in iTunes as well, just turn off Sound Check un­der Play­back in the app’s pref­er­ences.

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