View Full Version : Need Loudness compensation plugin
9th March 2006, 17:22
I'm NOT talking about the kind of plugin that adjusts the VOLUME of mp3's, I want a LOUDNESS compensation filter. Back in the days before transistors and solid state wiped the tube manufacturers out of business, high end audio gear had a switch or a knob on it labelled "loudness". Most people (not really capable of hearing the effect) assumed it was a broken volume control. What it did was to affect the equalization curve of just the low and high frequencies, BASED upon the setting of the VOLUME control. At higher volumes, the loudness control had no effect on eq. But at lower volumes, the ear loses the ability to hear extreme lows and highs, so this tweak adjusted the eq proportionately.
So much for the history lesson. I don't know why modern audio gear doesn't have this feature since ears haven't changed in a few thousand years. I'm even more amazed that I can't find a Winamp plugin to do this simple task. There's only one plugin that I found but it's for WMP (http://www.fairsound.com). Does anyone know of such a plugin for Winamp or could someone please write one????
10th March 2006, 17:59
Ahhh... so that's what it does!
Learn something new everyday.
10th March 2006, 19:06
12th March 2006, 22:18
Originally posted by shakey_snake
Not even close, that just adds noise to tracks...
13th March 2006, 05:28
I have a few old receivers with this, but it's usually a switch (on/off) instead of a knob in my case. I was taught that this was necessary not because of the human ears' ability but because of the limitations of older speakers.
Old school paper/cardboard cone woofers with the accordian style surrounds without the heavy magnets behind didn't really have the ability to produce low frequencies unless they were given a good push, at which point with regular volume control the mids would be too loud for your initial desire to keep it soft. Furthermore, paper, although this might sound odd, was often heavier than today's poly or graphite woofers, and therefore harder to vibrate at low volume levels.
Paper is also flexible when compared to the new stuff, meaning that the center of the cone moved in and out a lot more than the perimeter when playing at low volumes, making less bass production.
The same was true for old school tweeters, which (instead of silk dome or other new innovation) were basically a smaller papercone driver. Paper is textured instead of smooth which means it absorbs much of the sound it produces, especially at high frequencies and low volumes.
To correct this, Loudness Control was introduced to compensate for these deficiencies in older speakers at low volume levels. Now, with better materials (e.g. injected molded quartz or graphite or poly woofers and silk dome tweeters), the sound reproduction of high end speakers is much more accurate across the dynamic range (meaning whether it's played soft or loud). Therefore the newer receivers do not have the need to add this feature.
Now before I start sounding like I disagree with the original post person, it is true that vacuum tubes in general can produce more accurate sound reproduction, but they have a lot of limitations as far as cost, available power production, maintenance, delacacy, and chance of failure in the middle of a DJ gig. Replacement tubes are an annihilation to one's wallet.
Also, someone who is around a lot of noise often will develop very slight (and not generally noticeable) hearing loss, which starts with deficiencies in hearing extreme low and high frequencies at a low volume. This hearing loss isn't (as originally hypothesized) caused by hearing things that are too loud, but instead caused by prolonged exposure to constant background noise or music (at the workplace or city traffic noise, etc.), whether it be loud or soft.
Anyway, as far as winamp goes, if I want the above mentioned loudness effect, I just go and adjust the equalizer - whether it be the onscreen winamp eq or the eq hardware on the sound system.
13th March 2006, 10:39
YEAH, but the point is to automatize your comp. according to your wishes as much as you can, not just to jump to your feet and mess around with your hands about everything you need.
This could be very useful, especially if you use a remote control unit, like I do, and liste to Winamp a lot while staying in bed.
13th March 2006, 12:44
Originally posted by wysocki
At higher volumes, the loudness control had no effect on eq. But at lower volumes, the ear loses the ability to hear extreme lows and highs, so this tweak adjusted the eq proportionately.
I thought about this some more - with any type of pre-amp feed (e.g. winamp), you wouldn't want the feature to go away at higher volumes the way you said it used to back in the day, mainly because you'd probably want winamp set at a comparably strong volume while your hardware amp's (or receiver's) volume is low (for best sound quality since a low winamp volume might cause a hissing sound when played through your speakers. So if someone is considering doing this plug-in, it might be best to make the effect consistent throughout the entire volume range.
As far as a suggestion in the mean time, you might save some fuss by creating an equalizer preset, but I don't know if your remote configuration is such that you can enable/disable it from the remote. Maybe have the eq always set at what you want for loudness, so that when you toggle the eq off it's back to flat response for when you turn the volume up.
I guess the question now is, can your remote turn on and off the winamp equalizer?
15th March 2006, 17:31
Originally posted by swingdjted
...it might be best to make the effect consistent throughout the entire volume range...
This is already available, it's called "EQ".
I use Winamp in my CarPC with RoadRunner as the frontend. The idea (especially in a car) is to automate as much as possible. You don't want to have to mess around with a bunch of settings on a 7" screen while driving. Sometimes just adjusting the volume is a dangerous distraction. Why have to bother even with presets when it could be made automatic?
Regardless of the reason, lower volume bass and treble generally could use a boost in the lows and highs. This is evident whenever anyone demos their sound system to a stranger, they always turn up the volume. This isn't because the person is deaf or just to prove that the speakers can handle the power, it's because it just SOUNDS better at a higher level because the bass and treble are made obvious (at low volume levels, I'm not even sure my subwoofer is working).
While I agree that the best quality sound would be to raise the Winamp level and then adjust the power amps, this again is impractical in situations like my car where I can't even get to the amps and the frontend screen can easily adjust volume through Winamp. Since Winamp is controlling the level, it could easily dynamically adjust the amount of EQ based upon volume. Seems simple, I just wish I could write plugins. Maybe this should be a poll?
15th March 2006, 21:07
I wish I'd have the answer - I'm not too familiar with CarPC. I considered it, but put those plans on hold since the car & truck that my fiance and I drive came with trials of XM radio in addition to relatively high-end systems. A carpc would probably make me wreck anyway.
As far as loudness control for a car, it would have to be configured much different from a home system to compensate for the additional loss of highs and lows that you get from wind/road noise. Even in an ultra-quiet luxury car there is still a substantial amount of this (at least when it comes to interfering sounds to low-volume music).
Perhaps some adjustable-direction Infinity "emit" (or other high-end) tweeters and some Infinity "kappa-perfect" (or other high-end) subs would solve the problem, but that might cost a bit too much.
Either way, if someone agrees to do this plug-in, they would have to make it extra-configurable (in other words, able to be adjusted so that you could increase the effect) if you wanted to use it in a car.
Is anyone else on this forum running winamp in a car (other than passanger carried laptops)?
15th March 2006, 21:24
There's over a thousand CarPC owners using Winamp over at the mp3car.com forums. Several frontends like Road Runner, Centrafuse, Media Car, Mobile Media Center all use Winamp as the audio player. Posts over there about this topic all generally lead to "should be a Winamp plugin...", so here it is.
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