Dolby Volume: The cure for uneven volume from TV, movies, and music

Don't you hate it when the sound gets too loud when you change channels--or go from DVD to CD? Dolby's latest bright idea, Dolby Volume, promises to provide consistent volume.

Thanks to Dolby Volume, too-loud commercials, inaudible dialog, overly loud special effects, and inconsistent volume will all be a thing of the past, says Dolby spokesman Craig Eggers.

Dolby Volume improves the listening experience "by leveling the volume across channels and programs while preserving the listening experience at any volume level." To hear Dolby Volume, you'll need to buy a new receiver, like Harman Kardon's AVR 7550HD or Arcam's FMJ AVR600. They're the first two A/V receivers that feature Dolby Volume, but we expect to see it appear in a wide range of TVs, home theater in a box systems, and more over the next few years.

Hardware manufacturers are free to implement Dolby Volume in slightly different ways, and some will offer low, medium, and high levels of the Dolby Volume "effect." So the degree of volume consistency may be user-selectable.

The sophisticated technology measures and controls perceived volume levels to provide a consistent volume listening experience. Eggers confirmed that Dolby Volume is fully compatible with all sources: Blu-ray, DVD, TV, CD, MP3, iPods, FM radio, analog and digital, including, yes, DTS-encoded DVDs and Blu-ray Discs!

But Dolby Volume isn't just about maintaining consistent volume, it also preserves the apparent tonal balance, so even during hushed late-night listening sessions you'll still hear the same bass and treble balance as you would with the level turned up loud.

I haven't heard Dolby Volume yet, but if it works as advertised it really will be amazing. No more mad dashes across the room to turn down the volume when changing sources or discs. I can't wait.

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