Can I pay someone for help? Just 1 puzzling issue left (Volume related)

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Marcos Offline
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Question  Can I pay someone for help? Just 1 puzzling issue left (Volume related)
Post: #1
I will paypal £15 to the first person to figure this one out.

Here is the scenario:

A 1.83Ghz Intel Mac Mini running Snow Leopard, XBMC for Mac.

Playing the exact same file, XBMC is a good 8 times quieter than any other media player. The XBMC volume is set to Max, the system volume is untouched at Max.

Something is happening inside XBMC that puts the volume out quieter. I've tried as many settings as i can find, the audio offset is normal.

Now, i've tried amplification software and it causes problems with lip-syncing etc, also, thats a cheap fix, I want to solve the problem in XBMC.

So I will paypal the first person to correctly pin point what to modify in XBMC to make it output normal volume like all the other media players.

Thanks for reading!


mods: let me know if this is somehow against the rules

XBMC 10.1, Mac Mini 1.83Ghz, 1.25GB, 80GB + 4TB
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Chris! Offline
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Post: #2
Not interested in the money but a google search threw this up:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Tro...nything.21

Have you tried mucking about the volume in music section (maybe use album levels is having an effect for some reason).

and

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Adv...3Caudio.3E


Also how are you outputting sound? Is it optical/analog or usb or something?

Good luck, must really be annoying you


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Marcos Offline
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Post: #3
pseudo7 Wrote:Also how are you outputting sound? Is it optical/analog or usb or something?

Good luck, must really be annoying you

Thanks, sound is outputting through the headphone jack, analog 3.5mm to 35mm lead to the handy separate HDMI Sound-In on the TV. (Picture goes via DVI to HDMI lead.

pseudo7 Wrote:Not interested in the money but a google search threw this up:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Tro...nything.21

Have you tried mucking about the volume in music section (maybe use album levels is having an effect for some reason).

and

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=Adv...3Caudio.3E

Have tried the settings in here, but even the headroom option had no boost on the volume.

Also, the low volume is consistent across any media i play in XBMC, doesnt seem to be specific to AC3 etc, which makes me further confused.

Quote:The volume level in XBMC is down really, really low – I can't hear anything!

The right thumb stick (push up or down) alters the volume level. Sometimes a second controller is tucked away and could be lowering the volume.

This applies to the Xbox but I have made sure XBMC volume is Max in the App, as well as system volume.

I hope this info helps narrow down

XBMC 10.1, Mac Mini 1.83Ghz, 1.25GB, 80GB + 4TB
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Chris! Offline
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Post: #4
I used to have my old powerbook set up the same way but never ran XBMC on it.
The issue is strange as it just seems to be with mac mini's, I can't replicate the issue on my macbook pro (using headphones)

I probably can't help you but I can suggest stuff and you confirm whether it helps. So feel free to ignore. But for further narrowing down:

Suggestion 1
If you go into:
Settings --> System --> Audio output
Is the audio output analog and "boost volume level on downmix" enabled?

Suggestion 2
Within XBMC have you checked the balance isn't shifted to the left or right, I have no idea how to do this but hey it could account for a lower output level if half the channels are being output.

Kind of a Suggestion 3
And have you experimented using headphones from the back of your mac mini (to check it isn't some issue with the TV). I.e. see if the same thing happens if you use headphones.


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Marcos Offline
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Post: #5
pseudo7 Wrote:I used to have my old powerbook set up the same way but never ran XBMC on it.
The issue is strange as it just seems to be with mac mini's, I can't replicate the issue on my macbook pro (using headphones)

I probably can't help you but I can suggest stuff and you confirm whether it helps. So feel free to ignore. But for further narrowing down:

Suggestion 1
If you go into:
Settings --> System --> Audio output
Is the audio output analog and "boost volume level on downmix" enabled?

Suggestion 2
Within XBMC have you checked the balance isn't shifted to the left or right, I have no idea how to do this but hey it could account for a lower output level if half the channels are being output.

Kind of a Suggestion 3
And have you experimented using headphones from the back of your mac mini (to check it isn't some issue with the TV). I.e. see if the same thing happens if you use headphones.

Hi thanks for your input, here are the results:

1. Both of these options are set as you have described. I have tried a few other configurations too but same result IIRC.

2. Stereo is working fine and I couldnt find a balance option but the volume is coming out of both speakers evenly.

3. Tried this just now, the difference is still there, i think this definitely happens in software, or at least, before the output.

Its strange to me that it would affect only certain Mac Minis, does XBMC address the audio card directly? I thought it would have to go via the OS

XBMC 10.1, Mac Mini 1.83Ghz, 1.25GB, 80GB + 4TB
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Chris! Offline
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Post: #6
When playing a video if you go into audio and subtitle settings is the volume set to 0.0 dB?

The other thing to try would be playing music file and video file (from files view and from library) to see if the problem is uniform throughout. If there not then I could indicate something.


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(This post was last modified: 2011-06-07 17:53 by Chris!.)
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Marcos Offline
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Post: #7
pseudo7 Wrote:When playing a video if you go into audio and subtitle settings is the volume set to 0.0 dB?

This has helped, appears to have random values on different videos, but i've set it to 0 and told it to apply to all media. Even so, the volume is still at about 1/3 the regular volume of VLC and MPlayer X

pseudo7 Wrote:The other thing to try would be playing music file and video file (from files view and from library) to see if the problem is uniform throughout. If there not then I could indicate something.

Just tested this with a regular AVI, identical volume on both Library view and Files view.

Also tried it with an MP3 track in XBMC and MPlayer X where I can confirm the volume is roughly 1/3 in XBMC what it is in MPlayer X.

Tough one! Frown

XBMC 10.1, Mac Mini 1.83Ghz, 1.25GB, 80GB + 4TB
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Chris! Offline
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Post: #8
My last suggestion, which probably isn't quite a solution but could be eventually.

Have you tried a nightly build, it apparently has a reworked sound engine.

Though I wouldn't recommend sacrificing your current library (just in case).

Simplest way to test would be to install it on a different user (so it leaves the user data in the usual user folder intact).

See if that helps.


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lehite Offline
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Post: #9
I just wanted to chime in and say that XBMC is quieter than other applications on my mac mini as well (2.26ghz, 2009 model). I haven't been able to figure it out either.

I'm running from 3.5mm jack to rca cable + DVI to HDMI.

I appreciate your suggestions, pseudo7.
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gatorback Offline
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Post: #10
Does playing .mp3s through XBMC music suffer from the same malady?

If sound from other applications works well, then your approach to isolate the problem to XBMC should be sound.

I am running Dharma on an three ATVs (OSX):

-bash-2.05b$ uname -a
Darwin appletv 8.8.2 Darwin Kernel Version 8.8.2: Mon Jan 29 18:57:29 PST 2007; root:xnu-792.94.18~1/RELEASE_I386 i386 i386

Volume works well: connected to Bose Companion 3:

[Image: qSQbfx6XDEEy0g2zjh8un-oA1ak3BxSF6ypECZhx...dwuLZSS5Wc]
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nmirza Offline
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Post: #11
I posted this on another thread, but posting here as well to get some attention going on this topic. I'm surprised this issue still remains without much being done about it despite it being a 3 year old problem for me.

First, just a note on the headphone to 3.5 mm jack issue. Depending on your headphones, this could be because the sound card on the mac mini/any non external system is limited in how much power it can pump out anmd thus heavy duty headphones probably will be lacking in volume without a DAC in the middle to provide amplification.

I initially had a 2008 mac mini, c2d, and temporarily connected it to my rotel integrated amp with floor standing B&W speakers with a simple 3.5 mm wire to stereo in on my receiver (red and black) and there was obviously a lack of fidelity and volume from my system. This is obviously because the mini's sound system does not have enough energy to power this.

I then got a USB DAC, connected via usb to mini, and then connected to mac mini. in itunes, mplayer, vlc, etc volume on avi's, mkv's, etc was perfect. Infact having it half way on vlc, and maybe 1/10th of the way up on my receiver was sufficient volume. I now have a mac mini 2010 c2d and the same issue is there,

Playing through xbmc though is not at the same level of volume. my receiver now has to be almost at 3/10 or 4/10 to be sufficient volume, on some files i've even had to take it to more than half way. This is not restricted to only some files, as alot of times i will just play the file in vlc to be able to play it normally, and all of them play fine in vlc.

Now i cant abe this on any scientific evidence but i think this has something to do with downmixing the 5.1 channel track to 2/2.1 channels. As i recall, my mp3's do sound better through xbmc than mkv's do, and also simple avi files (600-700 mb for a movie) i think have sufficient volume. It is always the mkv's, which most have 5.1 channel sound, that have issues.

I used plex for a little while in addition to xbmc, and i remember initially plex sounded even lower than xbmc, but at some point with a major update, the volume then got louder than xbmc on the same files. So it is a software issue or the codecs xbmc uses. i only use xbmc now, but could test if someone wants.

In addition, volume boost on downmix is not a solution. It seems it only aritifically inreases the volume and does not resolve the data stream correctly (again, non scientific layman explanation, i am not an engineer nor a programmer) since turning that on makes my speakers crackle, even in low vsound scenes, and if it suddenly gets into a loud screen it is unbearable. And like i mentioned, this is neither a DAC, receiver, or speakers issue, as i can have my speakers up at half way in vlc (and half way on my speakers is deafeningly loud) without ANY distortion or crackling, on mkv's, mp3's or any other files, unless the file itself is low quality.

I hope we can get someone to look at this issue as this poses a major issue in enjoying my movies, especially the non action non loud ones which can be very difficult to hear.

if someone needs logs etc I will be happy to provide jsut have to guide me exactly which bits and where to get them.
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nmirza Offline
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Post: #12
so i was looking around in the windows forum and found this thread:
It seems this was an issue on windows as well at some point but got fixed. Could it be that the change did not carry over to mac, if thats possible? or that even the mac volume was boosted with this 2008/2009 fix, but its still too low?

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...ion&page=4
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Marcos Offline
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Post: #13
Interesting, i'm convinced it's software-based in XBMC itself, so that strengthens my theory Tongue

XBMC 10.1, Mac Mini 1.83Ghz, 1.25GB, 80GB + 4TB
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johnmcp Offline
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Post: #14
nmirza Wrote:so i was looking around in the windows forum and found this thread:
It seems this was an issue on windows as well at some point but got fixed. Could it be that the change did not carry over to mac, if thats possible? or that even the mac volume was boosted with this 2008/2009 fix, but its still too low?

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid...ion&page=4

I'm on windows and have the exact same issue as you have described, and I'm running the latest 10.1 release. I've also noticed that the volume boost on downmixing setting causes a cracking sound. My PC is connected to a Panasonic receiver via optical SPDIF.

I need to check the audio and subtitle settings mentioned in an earlier post as this is about the only thing I haven't done, but I doubt it will make a huge difference because I'm going from barely audible in xbmc to extremely loud in vlc player.

I'm inclined to agree with your theory. Very frustrating :confused2:
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steve1977 Offline
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Post: #15
Just noticed this thread and am actually having exactly the same issue. I would go so far that the audio level in non-XBMC application is not only twice, but 5 times louder. If I forget to turn it down after quitting XBMC, the Mac control "beep" is warning the neigbours that I am around ;-)

Running XBMC Dharma on a Core2Duo Mini using the microphone jack to connect with my amplifier. Same story when using the Mini internal speakers though...

Any idea? There must be thousands of XBMC Mac Mini users around... Is it only us few who are facing this?

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HTPC 1: Apple Mac Mini (mid-2011) | Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz | 4GB DDR3 | 500 GB
HTPC 2: Apple Mac Mini (mid-2007) | Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz | 4 GB DDR2 | 16 GB SSD
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