Settings for VLC dynamic range compression


Kept Googling for this, so finally figured I should note it down on my own blog. The dynamic range compressor in VLC is a very handy tool I discovered recently. You can use it to even out movies which have both very quiet and very loud scenes so you can hear what people say and not damage your ears when the action scenes kick in.

You find the thing in VLC under Tools, Effects and Filters, Audio Effects, Compressor. Or simply just press Ctrl+E.

Update: To make the Compressor settings persist through VLC restarts, select the Write changes to config option on the Compressor setting tab.

Update: To make the Compressor on by default when you launch VLC, go to Preferences, All, Audio and Filters, and check the Dynamic range compressor box.

Following are some good initial settings you can use. Remember to hit the Enable dynamic range compressor checkbox, or it won't do much good 😉


If threshold should apply to peaks (machine-like) or RMS values (human-ear-like)

Attack50 msHow quick to react
Release300 msHow slow to release
Threshold-20.0 dBWhen to react
Ratio20.0:1How much to compress levels above the treshold
Knee radius1.0 dB

How soft the compressor should kick in. Zero will apply ratio immediately when level hits threshold. Higher values leads to softer compression closer to the threshold.

Makeup gain12.0 dBFixed audio boost

As you see, I'm not quite sure what all these does, but these settings are a good start which usually gives a good result in my experience. I usually only adjust the makeup gain and leave the others as specified above.

If you know exactly what they do, don't hesitate to leave a comment and explain it to me cause I'd love to know!