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I recently switched from using a Creative Zen Vision: M to an iPhone as my primary music player.

With the Zen I used a program called MP3Gain to set the ReplayGain tag in the MP3, and that combined with the Zen's own volume levelling function worked brilliantly - I hardly ever had to adjust the volume while listening.

However with the iPhone I find myself constantly adjusting the volume both up and down from the base level, despite having SoundCheck enabled in both the iPhone and iTunes.

I have added songs to iTunes over a number of years, so possibly I need to run SoundCheck over the entire library again? I can't see an option to do this though.

What is the best way for me to level the volume of songs on my iPhone?

I have a non-jailbroken iPhone with the latest firmware. I'm running the latest version of iTunes on Windows XP SP3.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

SoundCheck is really more trouble that it's worth. I'd suggest using MP3Gain to both calculate the ReplayGain tag and apply the gain to the MP3 file and not use SoundCheck at all.

Here's why using SoundCheck is such a pain:

  • By default iTunes scans each track for loudness information on a per-track basis. You probably want your songs scanned on a per-album basis. So you have to use another program to scan your library.
  • iTunes doesn't use the ReplayGain tag information, it does its own scanning. However it does cache the scanning results in the COMMENT ITUNENORM tag field (in an iTunes-specific binary format). So you have to use another program to write the COMMENT ITUNENORM tag field.
  • In iPhone OS 3.0.1 (on my 3GS) SoundCheck isn't applied when listening over bluetooth headphones. (I don't know if Apple did this on purpose or not.)

The last two bullets are what finally drove me away from using SoundCheck. If you want to use the ReplayGain information, you have to convert it into the iTunes SoundCheck format (before you add the song to your iTunes library). There isn't very good software to easily do this conversion. Mp3tag will do it (here's how) but it's hardcoded to use ReplayGain's default volume of -89dB, which is too quiet for my taste.

I've been much happier just applying the gain directly with MP3Gain.

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First you need to make sure "sound check" is enabled in iTunes, and then set up on your iphone. This tutorial leads you through exactly how to set it up.

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I stated that I have SoundCheck enabled in both the iPhone and iTunes. – jwaddell Aug 20 '09 at 6:54
Try turning it all off, restarting, then turn it all back on again to force it to recheck. – Troggy Aug 20 '09 at 7:13

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