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Sound volume too quiet after installing Windows 7

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I installed Windows 7, and now my sound is way too quiet at maximum volume for my Sound Blaster Audigy 4. I have to turn my receiver up to -50dB to hear music playing quietly, whereas with my iPod, laptop, onboard Realtek sound card, and this Audigy 4 on XP and Vista, I get the same volume at the -70dB setting. That's a 20dB difference.

The volume in Windows Media Player and in Windows is cranked to the max. Audio enhancements (for the drivers that have them) are disabled.

I have tried 4 different drivers -- the official Creative ones, the complete Daniel_K driver CD, the smaller Daniel_K support pack, and a slightly hacked version of the official Creative drivers that enables Vista's audio enhancements. The last one of these was installed in Vista compatibility mode. THEY ALL SUFFER FROM THIS PROBLEM.

My onboard Realtek card has no issues with low volume under Windows 7.

Do you have ANY ideas as to how I can resolve this issue? I have spent all day working on this, searching Google up and down, downloading nearly 1GB worth of drivers (which took quite some time considering my internet connection), etc. and it was all for nothing.

Thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 17
This is all I can think of, and in light of the fact that the onboard audio has no problem with this, I'm not confident that it will work. But I want to try it anyway.
  1. Make sure there is no music playing or anything while doing this as I am going to have you crank the crap out of the volume. hehe
  2. Right-click on the speaker icon in the Notification Area.
  3. Choose Playback devices.
  4. Double-click Speakers.
  5. Click on the Levels tab.
  6. Click on the top-most Balance button.
You should see something similar to this:




Yours will certainly look a little different. Anyway, move all the faders over to the far right so that it looks like this:




But we're not done yet. Click OK on this little window and then "OK your way out" (click OK on all the windows).

At this point, adjust the volume down to something normal and then test it.

If it's still really low, then perhaps the onboard audio chip is still enabled in the BIOS. If so, then disable it. It could also be possible that the onboard audio driver/software is still installed. If so, then uninstall it and reboot. After all, the sound card is completely replacing the onboard audio.
    
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post #3 of 17
I agree with TwoCables. On mine though I raise my back speakers a bit higher than my fronts, because sound to the rear is always extremely low in movies and games, so a little extra volume helps. Most of the time in a 5.1 setup they tend to give you a bigger center channel speaker, so I drop that volume down a bit so voices dont drown out everything else and it gives busy crowd scenes in movies a bit more ambience.

Cheers,
Jerry "wish I was the Mac" Macguire
post #4 of 17
It could be a driver issue, do you have the latest drivers for windows 7? Dont use the microsoft divers, get the original ones from the manufacturer instead.
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yep, all settings have been checked out. The balance was the first thing I checked. And as stated before, a) Windows does not install any drivers by default, b) I tried Creative's official drivers, c) I tried Daniel_K's full ISO, d) I tried Daniel_K's smaller exe download, and e) I tried a version of Creative's drivers that I myself modified to include Vista's audio effects. All of them had the same problem.

I tried disabling the Realtek chip in Device Manager, I tried disabling it in the BIOS, and I tried leaving it enabled (I've had it enabled since I got my computer and it's been working fine, as Windows supports multiple audio devices). I never had any extra Realtek software installed on Windows 7. If I connect my receiver to the Realtek, it plays at the correct volume.

I did find Daniel_K's Audigy Support Pack 3.6, which claims to fix some "low volume bug", so I'll try that and see if it works. It's basically my last hope right now.
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post #6 of 17
Actually I have noticed this same thing with all of my windows 7 machines as well. The standard volume levels that were ok or wonderful in vista are much lower in 7. Luckily for all of these I have auxiliary volume knobs... it is annoying and thought it was just my ears playing tricks on me

Quote:
Originally Posted by nookkin View Post

I did find Daniel_K's Audigy Support Pack 3.6, which claims to fix some "low volume bug", so I'll try that and see if it works. It's basically my last hope right now.
let me know how it works after you try it!
    
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, I tried it. No difference. It's still too quiet.

By the way, I forgot to mention that I also disabled the automatic volume lowering on the Communications tab right away, before even trying to reinstall drivers.

I have it connected to a Harman/Kardon receiver, but I don't like cranking up the volume to -25dB for regular music listening, especially if plugging in my laptop or iPod without lowering this is capable of blasting my ears out (it's 4 times as quiet as it should be).
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Teh Nookkinator
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
OK, I GOT IT TO WORK, for exactly one reboot.

What I did is I uninstalled the audio device in Device Manager and rebooted. It worked at full volume (after Windows installed the driver for me) until the next reboot, and then it developed the sound-way-too-quiet problem again.

I really don't want to be uninstalling my audio driver every time I shut down...
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Teh Nookkinator
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post #9 of 17
run driver sweeper in safe mode to make sure you got rid of all of the realtech crap!
    
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post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I sometimes use the Realtek device in conjunction with the Sound Blaster -- worked fine on XP and Vista. I don't even have Realtek's drivers installed, other than what Windows installs by default.

An additional development: if I use Creative Audio Console to switch to 4.1 and then back to 2.1, the volume stays the same but Windows Volume Control shows that I'm only running at about 1/3 of the volume. (Previously it showed that I was at 100% when it was still too quiet.) I can then turn the volume up to 95 (I don't usually set it to 100 to avoid clipping), and it plays as loud as it should.

It actually persisted across reboots. 2 reboots and it's still playin' loud. Let's hope it lasts though. If it doesn't, I can just repeat the speaker settings thing I guess... better have a half-working solution than a non-working solution.

Thanks for all your help, guys.

EDIT: I take that back. As soon as I touched the bass and treble controls, the problem came back, and no amount of switching speakers brings back normal volume levels. This is just absurd. On top of that, the quality now sounds worse than using onboard... and there was a noticeable difference between onboard and Audigy 4 on Vista.

EDIT 2: I'll just use my onboard Realtek's S/PDIF output. Meh.
Edited by nookkin - 1/8/10 at 10:47am
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