Stereo WAV Files Seem To Play Way Louder Than Mono Ones


Title says it all really!

Porting Jetboard Joust to OSX and the volume of most my sound effects seem to be really quiet - upon further investigation it seems that it’s the mono sounds that are causing the issue, the stereo ones are still playing really loudly.

Anyone else come across this or know of a workaround by any chance?


Yeah - it’s definitely the case. I converted all my mono wavs to stereo and now the volume is as I’d expect. I guess the mono files aren’t being volume compensated properly and are just playing as if they were one stereo channel.

I’ve been doing work on supporting more WAV file formats, and have discovered this is a “feature” of OpenAL. It considers mono sounds to be used for 3D, so it plays them attenuated when pan is zero, i.e. it does not play the mono sound in both channels at full volume because then you would lose volume when you panned to the left or right. This is so the sound has same approximate total volume from both channels when the sound is panned from left through centre to right. XAudio (and XNA) does not do this.

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Thanks - that makes sense. I suspected it was something like this.

It’s weird though as the WindowsGL MonoGame platform (which I believe also uses OpenAL) doesn’t seem to attenuate like this.

I guess audio in XNA is pretty limited really in terms of control, many DAWs give you a choice of the ‘pan law’ used in this scenario with either no attenuation, full attenuation or (I think) -6db attenuation which is kind of a half way house between the two. I usually use the latter for mixing as sounds tend to be perceived as louder when panned hard left or right even if they are the same volume.

Anyway, that’s a digression, thanks for the input - it’s good to know I’m not going nuts!


I found this on WindowsGL. Can’t seem to find a way to turn it off, as many posts in a web search reveal.