General Question

lilikoi's avatar

Why are commercials always aired at a louder volume?

Asked by lilikoi (10079points) February 21st, 2010

Has anyone else noticed this? I always have to turn down the volume on commercials, then turn it up again for actual programming. It is really annoying. Do they do this on purpose to make sure you hear the commercials or is there a better explanation?

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21 Answers

semblance's avatar


(Sorry for the high volume.)

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’ll bet it’s as simple as the ad people knowing you’re going to get up for a wee/go to the kitchen for a snack/otherwise leave the room for two minutes, and dammit, you are bloody well going to hear all about their craptastic product!

wundayatta's avatar

they also want to counteract people who lower the volume when the commercials come on

DarkScribe's avatar

People tend to move away from the set during breaks – the increased volume is to counteract this.

VohuManah's avatar

All advertising executives are satanic. You didn’t know this? Let’s just hope calm passes.

DominicX's avatar

Because they’re not annoying enough.

gasman's avatar

While they sometimes are actually louder, often they SEEM louder because vooices & music are more sustained—fewer quiet pauses that normally occur in regular programming. Recently the FCC has begun to address this issue.

Berserker's avatar

Literally so that you hear them. It’s insulting I say. Worse is, they always do this at night when you’re being careful to not be too loud for your neighbors…then alla sudden; HEY THIS IS VINCE WITH SLAPCHOP…YOU’RE GONNA LOVE MY NUTS!

The other thing that pisses me off is that they synchronized most stations to all have their comercials at the same time, more or less, so you can’t even get away from them by changing channels for a bit. Lame.

Kraigmo's avatar

The commercials are louder because TV and radio executives think that this is a good way to “impact”.

Most TV and radio executives are complete idiots, though of course. There’s no logic in most of their inane little industry axioms.

Also, the commercials are electronically altered so that all lower points of volume within the audio are heightened to match the high-lines of audio with no variance.

gailcalled's avatar

Similar to the increased (read- deafening) volume during previews at the movies. I have to put my fingers in my ears sometimes.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Like @VohuManah said, I really hope that bill passes that will require commercials to be the same volume as the regular programming. I hate having to adjust my volume all the time. Gaahhhh

judochop's avatar

Commercials are played at different volumes due to the differences in mastering the recorded voices and sounds. Most (I think all) stations do not have a volume stabilizer (can’t remember tech term). Also most TV shows and movies are compressed to allow for the variances in music and speak, this is why we have to turn them up on the TV. When a commercial comes on that is not compressed it is louder. It is not done to just get your attention. If you pay attention, most of the time it is the cheaper commercials that sound really loud and bad, this is due to not having the bank to master well.

Berserker's avatar

@judochop Interesting. But what do we consider cheap commercials to quality ones? I guess all those used car commercials they play at three in the morn must really be hurtin’. >_>

kheredia's avatar

Just mute the commercials.. lol.. there’s nothing they can do to avoid that.. haha!

davidbetterman's avatar

So you won’t sleep through the stupid commercial.

judochop's avatar

Yes they are hurting. If you figure airtime plus the cost of a camera man (union only), editing, and possibly actors and on top of it, engineering and mastering it gets very expensive, even for a cheap commercial to air at 3am on a network.
I once was part of a video shoot. The cost alone for one song topped $3500.00 and all we did was rent one room and four cameras. The editing was done by a friend.

YoH's avatar

To wake you up.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@judochop If it was only poor control, statistically I would expect half the commercials to have higher volume and half to have lower volume. Clearly this is not the case.

Programmers of commercials have the latitude to control their volume. Rather than matching the show’s average volume some have chosen to “match the show” by staying below the peak volume broadcast during the previous 30 minutes.

The FCC does not regulate volume—- yet. FCC:“”

If we don’t like the loud noise from Crazy Herb’s Sock Emporium we should not shop there. Even if they have the lowest price on argyle socks in the country.

judochop's avatar

@worriedguy I lurve argyle socks.

gailcalled's avatar

I knitted a pair of lumpy argyles for my father when I was thirteen. Thirty years later, when he died, we found the socks (unworn) in the attic of our house. My sister then used them for gardening…all those bobbins and four needles.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

They do it to get your attention. Advertising isn’t worth anything if nobody pays attention to it. As annoying as they are they are vital to our economy.

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