Accessing VLC Audio Effects/Filters – Equalizer, Compressor and Others

Audio effects and filters are useful in VLC Media Player if you use it as your standalone music player or as a movie player. The equalizer, compressor and other advanced effects are put in place to help your audio give that crunchy sound that’s music to your ears. You can use VLC’s equalizer to correct the currently playing sound and music across various decibel (dB). There’s also a 2 pass option. You may also find the use of the built-in compressor to lessen the dynamic range between loudest and quietest audio. Furthermore, there’s also a spatializer for surround sound settings.

If you would like to dig further into the audio filters, there are more options in the advanced settings. You will find filter settings related to audiobar graph, compressor, delay, equalizer, gain, headphone effect, mono, parametric equalizer, remap, scaletempo, spatializer, stereo enhancer and volume normalizer. These advanced settings make it seem that VLC is a total rockstar in audio settings. But a normal user won’t be using most of them. Only a sound engineer will know how to make use of all these options. So, this post is to help you find VLC’s built-in audio effects.

The Most Used Audio Effects and Filters

It consists of Equalizer, Compressor, and Spatializer. To access it, go to Tools > Effects and Filters or press the shortcut key CTRL + E.

Audio Effects in VLC

As shown in the screenshot above, it is the first tab in the effects option. There are three areas:

  • Equalizer: Enable it and you can load a preset from pre-built ones like Dance, Rock, and Techno (perfect for your music tastes). You can also manually drag the sliders and enable the 2 Pass filter.
  • Compressor: Enable and use it like the equalizer.
  • Spatializer: It’s the same, enable and drag the sliders to fit your taste.

You may like: How to Fix Movies with Loud Action Sound Effects and Low Dialogue Volume using the Compressor

The Super-Basic Audio Effects

These are just related to volume:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
  • Switch to Audio.

Simple Audio Preferences

You will find options to enable audio, reset audio levels, enable/disable time stretching audio, normalize volume to a certain level, choose the replay gain mode, enable/disable Dolby Surround for your speakers as well as your headphones, select audio visualizations and set the preferred audio language.

The Advanced Audio Effects

If the compressor and the spatializer overwhelmed you then you should not mess with the advanced audio effects. But for those who dare, follow these steps:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + E].
  • Click the All radio button to reveal Advanced Preferences.

You will find a whole lot of options grouped under the heading Audio.

Advanced Audio Preferences

There are some basic looking options at the base level Audio. Expand Filters and you will find options like Parametric Equalizer, Remap, and Scaletempo. You will also notice the previously discussed Equalizer, Compressor, and Spatializer.

There are also more like Output modules under which you will find DirectX, File and WaveOut settings. There’s also Speex resampler and SRC resampler. And finally, there are Visualizations.

You may like: How to Access Graphic Equalizer in VLC for Android

3 thoughts to “Accessing VLC Audio Effects/Filters – Equalizer, Compressor and Others”

  1. Hello. I am using the latest version of VLC with various screen readers (JAWS, NVDA, Narrator and Window-eyes). I can access all the simple audio filters: equalizer, compresser, spacializer, stereo widener, etc. But when I check the advanced tab, I expect to find the items I have checked in preferences: volume normalizer, parametric equalizer, etc. However, under the advanced tab under filters and effects, all I “see” is pitch shift. Since I have many others checked, why are they not appearing for me or to my sighted fiancee? Why, for example, can I not access the input values for the parametric equalizer? I tried disabling the 10-band equalizer, in case I cannot have both running. But the parametric equalizer fields still don’t appear. Please, help!

    1. Hello, thank you for writing about your issue. I also only see the pitch shift under the Tool > Effects and Filter > Advanced tab. The features like Volume Normalizer and Parametric Equalizer are accessible through Tools > Preferences > All > Audio > Filters. You will have to expand the Audio > Filters options in the Advanced Preferences. Under there you will find these effects-Audio pitch changer, Audiobar Graph, Compressor, Delay, Equalizer, Gain, Headphone Effect, Mono, Parametric Equalizer, Remap, Scaletempo, Spatialaudio, Spatializer, Stereo Enhancer, and Volume Normalizer. So, right now you are going to the wrong place in the menu. You should access it from the Advanced Preferences screen. Let me know if your problem is solved. I am happy to provide additional details.

  2. I never understood what the Resampler function in VLC does, and searching the net only yields results about people having problems with resamplers making the audio quality bad, which only serves to make me more interested in finding out what it actually does, and if I need it. It’s on ‘Auto’ for me right now.

    So, what does the resamplers do and/or when is a resampler needed/feasible?

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