In the Forums...
Updated: July 7, 1999
Written by: tapped
(Originally by Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
Improving Sound Quality
Don't put a great sound system to waste by setting it up for poor sound quality!
First Step: Volume Control
If you don't even have Volume Control installed, do so ASAP:
Note: If your "mixer" is different from the standard Windows mixer, follow as many steps listed here as you can in order to install it. (There may be a setup program on your sound card's drivers CD that will allow you to install "Utilities," or something to that effect.)
First, load an MP3 or MIDI or some sort of sound so you can hear what you're doing as you're adjusting the settings.
Now, open the Volume Control panel (double click the speaker symbol in your system tray):
Slowly increase the main volume control on the speakers themselves until the volume is loud enough. Make sure that in the future you use the volume control on the speakers, NOT the Volume Control Balance. Leave the software-volume low at all times for the best quality and least amount of static.
If you followed the steps above, the sound should already be very crisp and clear. If not:
Try setting the Volume Control in you "mixer" about 3/4 of the way UP - perhaps a tad higher, even. (Be sure to turn the volume on the speakers themselves down first!) Use the volume control on your speakers to adjust the volume to an acceptable level, This is in direct opposition to the aforementioned tweak, but you may want to try it anyway, Why? Well...
Most decent-quality sound cards these days utilize pre-amps of some sort. The pre-amp powers the speakers, which, sometimes, are powered themselves. This can cause potential trouble if the speakers aren't receiving enough signal from the source. The Volume Control (in Windows) controls the pre-amp of your sound card. If your card isn't driving your speakers hard enough, you have to compensate by turning up your speakers. This can cause unnecessary "hiss." Try finding a balance between your sound card's pre-amp output and your speakers' threathold.
One last thing about setting performance:
Go to the Control Panel and open the Multimedia applet. Under Playback, click the Advanced Properties button, and select the Performance tab. Find the Sample Rate Conversion Quality. Some cards' drivers may set this to the lowest available setting. Try upping it to Best. If any problems arise, take it down a notch. Repeat the step for Recording.
Extra little hints:
Some people might not know about these; here are a few tips.
Winamp / MP3
Here are a few tweak tips for the popular MP3 player, Winamp.
(Make sure you've downloaded the latest version prior to tweaking it).
If you listen to MP3s and use plug-ins, make sure you have done the following: