Q: The majority of my music is downloaded from sites other than the iTunes Store and is always in MP3 format. When I import the music into iTunes, there is a function that says, “Determining Song Volume” and this always drastically lowers the song volume. It’s an automatic function that I’m not sure how to turn off. Do you know how to turn this off, so that iTunes imports the song without lowering the volume?
A: This is a result of the iTunes “Sound Check” feature, which can be found under your iTunes preferences setting, on the Playback tab:
When this option is enabled, iTunes will add sound check information to any tracks that are imported in order to try to provide a consistent volume level between all tracks in your iTunes library. This option also controls whether iTunes reads this sound check information to apply it during playback. Turning this option OFF will both prevent iTunes from adding this information to any new tracks that are imported, as well as applying this setting during playback. Sound Check information that has already been placed in the tracks previously is left in place regardless of whether this setting is enabled, but this information is not applied during playback unless the Sound Check option is turned on.
It is also important to note that the iPod has a separate setting from iTunes to determine whether existing sound check data is applied, so turning this ON or OFF in iTunes will not affect playback on your iPod for existing tracks. You must also change the setting on the iPod itself, which can be found under the iPod’s “Settings” menu.