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Windows 7: Quiet audio playback with certain files (attached)

24 Jul 2014   #1
drockwood94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
Quiet audio playback with certain files (attached)

Okay, so here's the deal. At my place of work, we are migrating to Windows 7. We use computers that run an access frontend as timeclocks with sounds that play on loudspeakers at specific times. When we were using Windows XP, the played audio was extremely loud (so-much-so that you don't want to be near the speaker when it goes off). We need it this way, as they are located in a loud factory and need to be heard.

On Windows 7, the sound plays much more quietly. The catch is that it's only these sounds that are being problematic. Music and system sounds play extremely loudly.

Some things I've done already:
Ensured that the volume is all the way up both master and in mixer for windows media player.
Ensured that volume is all the way up in windows media player.
Tested other sounds. They work fine.
Tested on more than just the known problem computers. It appears to be a universal issue. (It plays loud on every XP machine I've tested, but quiet on the 7 machines.)
Tested it in a different media player (Gom and VLC) same volume output.
Changed audio bitrate (no effect)
Reinstalled drivers - nothing different
Used stock drivers (Microsoft provided) - no avail
Disabled volume reduction when communications are detected
Disabled allowing exclusive control of audio device

I looked online, and there's not a lot of documentation about similar problems, but some people had stated that disabling enhancements on the desired audio device would help. While this did help, it did not really make it the same volume as before.

Nothing seems to work.

Any ideas or suggestions?

I've attached the files that we are working with
Three of the sounds are identical. I don't know why. I don't have access to any of the backend to clean it up.




Attached Files
File Type: wav buzze.wav (23.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: wav buzzer.wav (1.45 MB, 2 views)
File Type: wav extra.wav (23.5 KB, 1 views)
File Type: wav prebuzz.wav (23.5 KB, 1 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
25 Jul 2014   #2
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

This is obviously an application specific issue. If the program was designed for Windows XP and now being used on Windows 7 machines that can be the issue. Windows 7 (and Vista and Windows 8) handle some audio functions differently than XP, thus a Windows 7 specific program version may be needed.

Have you checked with the software vendor for any Vista/Win 7 updates?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #3
drockwood94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
Misunderstanding

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fireberd View Post
This is obviously an application specific issue. If the program was designed for Windows XP and now being used on Windows 7 machines that can be the issue. Windows 7 (and Vista and Windows 8) handle some audio functions differently than XP, thus a Windows 7 specific program version may be needed.
It appears that I may have not explained my problem clearly. The program that we are using is Windows Media Player, packaged with both Windows XP and 7, albeit with some updates. We are simply trying to play an audio (.wav) file at the proper volume (attached in my original post). I also stated in my original post that the audio file sounds the same across media applications (VLC, GOM, iTunes, and Windows Media Player), so I don't believe that it could be application specific.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fireberd View Post
Have you checked with the software vendor for any Vista/Win 7 updates?
Since the original program I am attempting is provided directly by Microsoft, if there were any updates, they would be installed through windows update automatically. For the other media players I have tried, the version I am using is the latest, and, therefore, built for Windows 7 and later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Jul 2014   #4
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I looked at the buzze.wav using my audio editor (Goldwave) and it shows a -1 signal, which should be adequate. The others sound loud, using WMP and the volume control on my speakers.

Are you using the Speaker jack (GREEN) on the PC? to feed the external amplifiers? Or, do you have a separate "Line Out" that you are using?

The fact that other audio plays at correct volume levels, either goes back to the sound itself or the external speaker system. Does other PC audio, e.g. a known good song file play OK on the factory speakers?

I see "My System Specs". Is this a sample of the PC's you are using? Or is it some other PC? Also what sound device do you have? RealTek? IDT? Conexant?

I have a recording studio, so I deal with audio and audio issues daily.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #5
drockwood94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thank you for replying so quickly and trying to help. I'll address your response in order.

The sounds are loud, just not LOUD. What are the chances you have both a windows XP machine and a Windows 7 machine you can hook up to the same sound system? It's almost the only way you can experience my issue first-hand. I'm using the standard green speaker port.

We have not changed the speaker system, and it affects more than these specific speakers. It happens on headphones, this speaker, and across all of our windows 7 machines. Songs appear to play properly, but we cannot actually test this with the factory speakers at full volume, as we don't want to play loud music while the workers are busy.

The "My System Specs" section is actually my own personal computer, as I intend to use this forum more after the resolution of this issue. The computer's we are using in the factory are Dell Optiplex 3020s (with stock hardware)
Intel® 4th generation Core™ i5 Quad Core
Intel® H81 Chipset
Windows 7® Professional SP1 (32/64 bit)
Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4600
It's a realtek card

I don't want to get too distracted by the specific computer, though, as it behaves similarly on other models as well. (HP Pro 3400 is our office test machine)


I've been playing around with a free audio editor (audacity) and I've found that, even on the integrated mono speaker, mixing in mono vs stereo makes a difference as to volume. The loudspeaker (think this: http://soundonline.co.za/image/cache...er-800x800.jpg) may only have a mono 3.5 mm connector. (I'll check and report back) Could Windows 7 handle a mono speaker differently than XP? For instance, XP detects it's mono, and sends both channels to the one speaker, whereas windows 7 detects it's mono and only sends the one channel?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #6
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I don't have an XP system, only Win 7 and Win 8 systems.

XP handled some audio functions differently than Vista/Win7/Win8 and the reason I questioned the program that generates or keys the tones.

I don't know how a mono signal is handled (I should but don't) but I suspect it is only one channel. Do you have the correct speakers set? Go to the Control Panel/Hardware and Sound and finally the Sound Playback Panel. Click on the "Speakers" to highlight that and then click the "Configure" Button.


I have RealTek and also the RealTek HD Audio Manager (located in Device Manager/Hardware and Sound).

There is a "Loudness Equalization" option on mine and that has increased the volume level for some with low volume levels. If you have this, give it a try.


Attached Thumbnails
Quiet audio playback with certain files (attached)-capture.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #7
drockwood94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

I checked and the loudspeaker has a stereo connector, so all audio should be going to the speaker properly (Unless the wire doesn't connect to the speaker with both channels. The speaker has 5 wires (Red and black for signal and Green, white and grey for power) This means that, at some location on the wire, the stereo connector is wired to the red and black wires. It could be that they are only connected to one of the two channels.

I have the speakers configured properly, according to the steps in your instructions. I don't have the audio manager pictured above, but there is a loudness equalization option native to Windows 7. This option does not work. In fact, disabling all enhancements seems to make for the loudest effect thus far. It's still nowhere near the original volume, though.

I misunderstood your question about the program used in your first post. The original program used to generate these sounds is unknown to me, but I've edited the sounds in audacity and re-exported them after taking the original clipping out. (I don't know if I gave you the new or old version.)

It's unfortunate that you don't have access to a Windows XP system, but is also understandable, as it's old and no longer supported.

I was hired on here to help migrate their system 2 months ago, so am unfamiliar with their whole system, but am pretty well versed in general computer troubleshooting. This is the only problem that's legitimately stumped me in quite some time.

(I've never actually made a forum post asking for PC help. This is my first one.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #8
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I'm a retired LAN/WAN Network and Hardware Help Desk Manager. I've been in electronics and computers since "Before PC's". I've worked as a computer tech on old discrete component computers in the mid 60's at the Ascension Island Tracking Station and then on the Apollo project as a processor tech then programmer.

I worked as a guitar amp tech in Nashville in the early 70's.

If the speakers only have Red and Black wires for audio, then they are only mono. Red probably the "hot" and black "Ground". If you trace the wires back I would bet they are only connected to the Tip or Ring connection and ground.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #9
drockwood94

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

My apologies. I had been looking at a model we have in the office, but it's not the same model. The model in the factory has 7 wires. It has Brown/Brown-White, Green-Green/White, Red-Red/White, and Black.

The Horn says green is for the tip, and red is the ring. Both are wired up, so I would assume that it's meant to be able to interpret stereo signals. (It is only a single horn, though, so it is technically mono.) It shouldn't be the horn, because that worked before the swap, but the wiring is sound.

Here's the horn we're using:
http://www.valcom.com/pdf/v1030c_v1036c.pdf

I really just don't know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jul 2014   #10
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

For testing, I converted the buzze.wav to a stereo file. Try this and see what happens.

Buzzestereo.wav
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Quiet audio playback with certain files (attached)




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