AC3 loudness problems


I’m experincing audio problems with DVDs that have been ripped to ISO. My WD TV Live is plugged directly to my Samsung LED 32" TV via HDMI.  The audio codec is AC3 and I find the audio is so  low, I have to turn the volume right up to say 40 or 50 (normal TV is about 8 or 9).  Oddly, the intro trailers on the DVD seem OK but as soon as you select the movie from the menu, the volume goes right down.  If I select the audio channel with the English description, the audio is much more like normal.

I’ve a Blu-Ray ripped to MKV and the volume is OK although the codec is AAC.

I use DVDFab to rip / copy my DVDs.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



                     hi , i use  imgburn ,which is free software , along with dvd fab to do dvd and blu ray dvd ,and i can load them onto my  wd media player no problem : )  

Lots of people have discussed the fact that when AC-3 5.1 is downmixed to stereo, that the volume is unacceptable.

It doesn’t affect people that have 5.1 receivers, but it does for people that have to set their WD’s to STEREO mode.


Thanks for the reply.

Seems like this is a wider problem that just me.  What audio codec would you recommend instead of AC3?



If your original disc has 2.0 AC3 along with the 5.1 AC3, and you’re not happy with the results of the 5.1 getting downmixed to stereo, you could just play the 2.0 AC3 track instead.

If the disc doesn’t have a 2.0 track (like most TV shows nowadays) and you don’t have a surround amp, the options appear to be

  • live with it
  • make your own 2.0 track, giving more emphasis to the center track, and less to the BGM/effects.

Without actually changing the sound levels amongst the channels, just encoding the audio into a different codec wouldn’t be likely to change anything (unless the encoder itself changes the emphasis during encoding).

As Tony alludes to, we’ve discussed this a number of times… I agree that 5.1 down to stereo is “too quiet” for the dialog, and the effects and music are “too loud”, but the fact is, that’s the exact same as the original discs sound to me when played on 3 different stand-alone DVD players.  If I play the original disc, I have to crank the volume to hear the talking (and everything else is too loud) – long before I got my WDTV, I started watching with the subtitles on so that the effects/BGM didn’t disturb my family because couldn’t hear what was being said.

If I rip the disc to .iso or .mkv, using “passthrough” of the AC3, then the I have to crank the volume to hear the talking and everything else is too loud, but I have to crank the WDTV to the exact same volume level as what I have to crank the DVD players to, so it doesn’t appear as if the WDTV is doing anything different from the standalone players.

As fewer people are using mere stereo, and most folks are playing the 5.1 through an AVR, there’s less of us who this ends up “bothering”.


Thanks for the response.

I’ve had the same issues playing DVDs from my player (Denon) and thought it a problem with the kit.  Heartening (in some respects) to know that it’s a wider problem but disappointing that a DVD straight out of the box and played on equipment with a standard configuration (i.e. DVD plugged into a TV) is likely to give poor sound because of AC3 codec.  Essentially from what you are saying, the DVDs are not fit for home use unless you have an amp and surround sound speakers; it certainly doesn’t state these as prerequisites on the packaging!