How To's

Bad Sound: Why is my video so quiet on youtube?

Bad sound is one of the ultimate no-no’s when it comes to video production. Whether you’re recording your own videos for youtube, or producing a corporate film.  Here’s is a couple of things to check before you upload, and some reasons why your sound might be below par.

Why is my Youtube video audio so quiet?

Firstly you need to decipher whether the audio is just quiet (not loud enough as a whole), or if you are just struggling to hear your presenter talking due to background noises when filming. These are of course too different problems.

This blog post assumes your video is just not loud enough when playing back through laptop speakers for example:

This is probably because the audio levels are set too low in the original file. As you probably know, audio is measured in decibels ‘DB’. When using video editing software you will see an audio meter. Generally with 0DB in the middle, and a series of + and – numbers.  If you don’t see audio meters check if it can be turned on.

0DB (Zero DB) does not mean silent. In fact 0DB is your target maximum level. No sounds should be playing louder than 0DB ideally, and not too much below it!

Sounds much lover than -6 DB will result in quiet audio, even with the volume cranked high. Via head phones this may not be a problem but for viewers using laptop speakers it will be. The opposite is true for audio showing louder than +1 DB, this makes the audio too loud and will cause horrible distortion, and on cheaper speakers create spine tingling vibrations, no doubt making your viewer switch off quickly! Oops.

My guidance would be to check all speaking audio is playing consistently between -4DB & 0DB.

When I turn my audio up there’s a lot of hiss…

Turning quiet audio up can introduce hiss, known as audio noise. This is simply because the low quality / low volume sound is being artificially amplified.  And in most cases there is not much you can do to remove this.  The problem occurred during recording, the recording devices sensitivity was simply not turned up high enough. Maybe you were using a mobile phone or camera without manual audio controls.


To conclude I suggest making sure you are using suitable equipment when recording videos where audio is important. The better the raw sound file, the better the final result.

If you considering commissioning a corporate video or professional youtube video, consult the experts. Why not chat to us at elDRAW for a complementary discussion on your requirements, and how to get the most from video marketing.