Face it: your late-night Jason Bourne binges may make your heart race, but it’s probably bothering your sleeping neighbors. Luckily, if you use an Apple TV, you can quiet loud sounds like blaring music, gunshots, and explosions with a very simple setting.
You’ve probably noticed that some movies where the volume is all over the place. Some have quiet parts where you have to turn up the volume to hear the dialog, and other parts that are so loud you have to scramble to turn it down.
The solution to this problem is called Dynamic Range Compression, which “reduces the volume of loud sounds or amplifies quiet sounds by narrowing or “compressing” an audio signal’s dynamic range.” Many movie buffs look down on this feature, since it’s decreasing the dramatic tension of a movie, but if you have sleeping neighbors just a wall away, sometimes you have to make some sacrifices. If you have a fifth generation Apple TV, then you have a Dynamic Range Compression option, but it’s not enabled by default.
To turn it on, you first need to open the Settings.
Next, click open “Audio and Video”.
Here, you will find a few items that will greatly quiet your Apple TV. The “Sound Effect and Music” option will mute noisy apps like games, the “Navigation Clicks” will turn off the sound as you navigate through apps and menus.
You can turn those off if you want to reduce how much noise your Apple TV makes in general, but if you want to use dynamic range compression, turn on “Reduce Loud Sounds”.
With this enabled, you should now experience quieter sound effects and music, but still enjoy the action and dialog.
Dynamic Range Compression isn’t a cure-all. If you’re trying to listen to music, DRC might make it sound muddied and unremarkable, or it might soften some dialog so that you can’t make out what people are saying. In that case, you might need to turn on the subtitles or try to watch when you don’t have to have DRC enabled.
That said, if you’re just looking for a way to even out your movie-watching experience without jumping between various volume levels, then turning on DRC in your Apple TV will likely do the trick. If you want to learn more about dynamic range compression, complete with real examples, then we urge you to check HTG’s explainer on how Dynamic Range Compression changes audio.