Laptops are great. You can take them with you wherever you go – but they tend to lack in the speaker department. Between the cooling fans in the laptops and any background noise in your environment, watching or listening to anything on your laptop can be a real chore.
Sure, you can wear headphones/ear buds and that is often an excellent choice – but what if you want others to hear as well? At some juncture you may need to plug in external speakers – but that sort of defeats the idea of a laptop. You could buy wireless speakers but they are pretty pricey. So is there any affordable option that will allow you to maintain your mobility and increase your laptop’s sound? Yup – and it isn’t just affordable, its free.
In Windows click on Start, then Settings, then Control Panel. You should see a window like this:
Yours may appear a little different. If it only has a few icons or looks significantly different, look in the top-right corner. Note how in the window above it says “View by: Large icons” – change whatever it is currently set as to Large icons and your window should more closely match the one above.
Once you’ve done this you’ll need to open the Sound application, so click on Sound. You should see a window like this appear:
Now we need to select the speaker we’ll be working with. In my case, I have three different options – Speakers (High Definition Audio Device), Headphones, and Speakers (USB Multimedia Audio Device). We’ll want to select the Speakers (High Definition Audio Device) and then click Properties at the bottom right of the window. Now a new window should open that looks like this:
Great! We are almost there. Click on the Enhancements tab. You’ll see a window like this:
Ensure that “Loudness Equalization” is checked. Note the description under “Enhancement Properties”: “Loudness Equalization uses understanding of human hearing to reduce perceived volume differences.” In other words, if you are watching a movie and people are speaking normally and you can hear them fine but then the movie moves to a scene where individuals are whispering, this option will automatically boost the volume of those whispers so they can still be heard by the human ear.
Click OK at the bottom to close out the Speaker Properties window and then OK at the bottom of the Sound Properties window to close it out. Now give it a try – you should notice that your computer’s volume has “appeared” to increase.
The actual max volume your laptop speakers are capable of hasn’t increased, it is just that Windows is now increasing the volume of sounds that previously were being generated at a lower volume.
- Sorry folks, I’m not familiar with the process, if there is a process, for doing the same on Mac OS X or Linux.↩