Audio Levelling - does it affect sound quality?

I would love to use audio levelling, but have always been nervous that it in some way degrades the quality.

@Antoine, can you give us the bottom line as to what happens with audio levelling?


It’s like software volume control. It changes the bits, so it’s not bit perfect playback. Whether this is a degradation in sound quality or whether you’ll be able to tell the difference, only your ears can tell.

When in doubt, I prefer to keep it bit-perfect.

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Agree, don’t want to be losing any information

Today Lumin put Leedh software volume control processing into their app and it sounds very good. They claim it is lossless and I must say I didn’t seem to notice any loss of detail. Perhaps this would be a good approach to volume levelling?


Yes, I’m aware of it. It was supposed to come also to Audirvana but to the best of my knowledge Audirvana went with another solution.

Solution Audio uses it also. If they use it, it must be good.

Yes it is lossless, in each and every way: Audirvana uses internal 64bit processing, so even if you truncate the upper 32bits and you play a very, very rare 32bit super-duper Hi-Res file, you still get a theoretical attenuation of -144db before losing any bits…

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@Floschi123, just checking that you are saying that Leedh is lossless, but Audirvana is lossy but relatively low loss?

Audirvana’s Audi Leveling is not overly aggressive to me. It makes the soft parts of a song louder so there is a balance in volume levels. I listen to Yes, early Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Jethro Tull etc. Complex rock with a wide dynamic range. The songs sound wonderful and I can hear detail I would have never have heard had I left the music unprocessed. I worked in Broadcast Communications and am used to producing sound that is compressed and limited. Otherwise, listeners are constantly reaching for the volume control - especially between tracks.

I found your comment very interesting @Sound_Chaser. I would have thought that audio levelling would be applied to the track or album as a whole so that there is levelling between tracks/albums. However, you seem to indicate that there might be levelling of parts of a track and so reducing the dynamic range.

I would be very keen to hear from @Antoine exactly how audio levelling works in Audirvana.

Thanks Zane

@Zkeller You are probably right. Volume Leveling is supposed to correct variances between volume in different tracks. I swear it sounds to me like it decreases the dynamic range. I prefer that unless listening to classical or jazz.

I agree with you. We need @Antoine to set us both straight.

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