I’ve found that online video is REALLY inconsistent in terms of audio volume, particularly advertisements that are inserted into streaming programs. I knew I needed some sort of compressor/limiter to automatically reduce loud sounds and amplify quieter sounds, creating a more uniform volume level overall. I had hoped to find a simple software solution, but was surprised that nothing good really exists. Switching my search to a hardware solution, I stumbled upon the Rolls SL33B Stereo Program Limiter.
The SL33B is designed specifically for consumer-level equipment and keeps things simple with only two controls. One control sets the threshold, that is, the level at which the signal will be processed. The other is Makeup Gain which controls the volume after the signal is processed–basically an output volume control.
The SL33B has both RCA and 1/8″ input/output connectors so it’s perfect for a PC set-up. It’s housed in a small but rugged metal box and requires a typical AC adapter. It would also be quite suitable for a TV *if* you used external amplification/speakers and not the TV’s built-in speakers.
I love this little gem for its simplicity in connections and controls. It’s also great for movies which often have audio levels all over the place. The only thing I wish it had was a bypass switch for listening to music, since you typically don’t want to mess with the dynamic range of music. However, since I don’t typically listen to music on my PC, this is not a deal breaker. So far, the SL33B has really been the answer to my prayers!