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In Windows 7, the volume control is tapered, so that you drag the slider and it skips many levels at the bottom. Is there any way to make the controls finer, so I can access the settings in between these? Either some hidden feature of the Windows control panel, registry, or using third-party software?

For example, my hardware supports 1 dB steps from -30 to +30 dB, but the Windows control only gives me access to -30 dB, then -7.3 dB, then -1.6 dB, etc. I want to access -30 dB, -29 dB, -28 dB, etc.

Speakers and Microphone gain controls in Windows 7

This is for testing hardware, not for casual listening, so I need to be able to reach each value, and preferably control the "playthrough" sidetone level, too.

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As you said, the levels are tapered, or logarithmic, the differences on the bottom end, if the volume faders are programed correctly should have the same perceptional difference as on the top end. If the volume control had a notch for every level, your top end would be very touchy as dBs are non-linear method of measurement. – sound2man Nov 19 '10 at 19:37
decibels are logarithmic. The Windows controls are tapered in addition to the logarithmic dB taper, meaning that, although the hardware supports individual 1 dB steps, the slider skips steps at the bottom and provides too many steps at the top. I need to be able to access every individual 1 dB step. – endolith Nov 19 '10 at 19:48
Don't use the slider; you should just be able to type in a value. – Billy ONeal Nov 19 '10 at 19:55
@Billy: Type in a value where? – endolith Nov 19 '10 at 20:37
The textbox next to the slider. – Billy ONeal Nov 19 '10 at 20:46

I don't think that this will help (due to the logarithmic nature of dB discussed here, which I don't fully understand), but Volumouse from Nirsoft allows you to configure number of steps in a volume change. Any use?

alt text

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I've found this, actually, and it solves my problem for controlling inputs and outputs, but it doesn't seem to have an option for adjusting sidetone paths (the "Microphone" slider in my above image, meaning the level of the direct hardware path between microphone and headphones). OS X doesn't even have a slider for this path, though... – endolith Nov 19 '10 at 22:19
is there a way to make this application work with full screen applications? – user144773 Jan 6 '13 at 23:56
It just doesn't want to work when I launch a game. this is frustrating. – user144773 Jan 7 '13 at 0:04

I don't think so, however, I find that I can generally get an acceptable level by tweaking both the main volume fader, and the individual source I am trying to control. This gives a little more control than just tweaking the master volume.

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I want to adjust the actual hardware gain, though, not software gain. – endolith Nov 5 '10 at 19:12
The only way to adjust hardware gain is with an external attenuating box for input signals. For the most part you can only change software gain unless you are dealing with pro hardware - I'm a sound tech, with a 32 channel audio interface... – sound2man Nov 18 '10 at 20:26
@sound2man: That's not true. The hardware gain is often controllable from the computer. When you move the slider in software, it sends control signals to the converter ICs that adjust internal programmable gain amplifiers. It's not just software gain. Which interface do you have? – endolith Nov 19 '10 at 19:18
I have three, my main unit is a Yamaha 01V96 v2 with a mlan card, my secondary is a mAudio Delta 1010 rackmount, my portable is an ESI Quatafire 610 – sound2man Nov 19 '10 at 19:28
@sound2man: I don't think any of those has computer-controlled gains. The Delta manual says the computer-controlled mixer is after the ADCs, and just does digital attenuation, so I think the hardware gain only has two positions for +4 and -10. The QuataFire manual shows all the gain controls grayed out in OS X, and has physical gain controls, etc. – endolith Nov 19 '10 at 20:56

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