I installed Vista today as an upgrade from Windows XP Home Edition SP2. My
USB headphones were working just fine in XP at about 10% on the main volume
slider and 25% on all the other volume sliders. However, Vista set my USB
headphones' volume to 100%, which hurt my ears.
This is especially bad considering I wasn't wearing the headphones at the
time. They were just sitting on my desk about two feet away.
There is no physical volume control device on my USB headphones. Whatever
Vista outputs, gets played back at that exact volume mere millimeters from my
ear drums. If my headphones had been on my head after Vista setup, my hearing
would have been permanently impaired. This is not hyperbole.
Turning the volume down to 1% on the main slider, I get decent volume in
some applications while wearing my USB headphones. For example, Windows Media
Player is too loud, but when I lower its volume slider to 5%, the sound
levels of media playback are acceptable.
Windows system sounds (e.g. the beep) are still so uncomfortably loud at 1%
main volume that I am forced disable system sounds completely. I do not see
any point in jumping out of my chair every time a download completes or the
UAC window pops up.
Vista Media Center audio playback is unusable for me. When I set its volume
slider to 1, even minor background noise is ear-splittingly loud; when I set
its volume slider to 0, the sound is too quiet to discern normal conversation.
I suggest you provide an option in the speaker playback device window for
USB headphones. This option should change volume units to 10% of their normal
values. For example, a Vista Volume Mixer value of 100 would equate to 10 on
the USB device itself.
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