What Does DRC Stand for on Soundbar?

Norvan Martin
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DRC stands for Dynamic Range Compression and balances the range between the quietest and loudest sounds. That’s why most audiophiles use it whenever they want to enjoy their favorite movies without annoying others. This article defines DRC in detail, explains when and how you should use it, and more.

What Does DRC Stand for on Soundbar?

DRC on your soundbar stands for Dynamic Range Compression. It’s your system’s automatic volume control. Technically, it is the amount of difference between the soundbar’s frequency response at 80dB SPL and at maximum volume.

A good value for DRC is anything less than 2bB. However, this needs to be adjusted based on the volume of the subwoofer.

If there is too much compression, then there will be ‘pumping’ and you will hear the effects. 

DRC only supports DTS and Dolby Digital systems.

What is DRC Audio Used For?

If you love watching movies, you can witness that this type of content has a wide variety of volume ranges. That’s why some people might not tolerate watching most movies in certain situations.

Unfortunately, if you try to control the volume with the DRC, you might not get the full impact of all parts of your movies.

As already mentioned, this feature only works for Dobly Systems to compress the dynamic range. 

When this happens, the range between the quieter and louder transitions reduces.

 In simpler terms, it is a great feature to use if you consider the interests of your neighbors. Some of them could be sensitive to loud sounds. Some people also rely on their tolerance to sound to determine whether a DRC is ideal for their situation.

Overall, the DRC is used for controlling the volume between varying scenes, and it’s upon you to know whether you should use it.

Many modern soundbars allow you to adjust DRC, one such example is the Bose Soundbar 700.

Should I Use DRC Audio?

Yes, as already mentioned, it automatically controls the volume between varying scenes. So, if you are living in a crowded place, you should seriously consider using it. You don’t want the loud explosives in your movies to interfere with your neighbors.  

You also don’t want to hurt your loved ones. If you live with children or some of your family members are sensitive to explosive scenes, you should use it. The DRC is perhaps a must-have if you like watching movies late into the night.

Shouldn’t you use a DCR if you hate sudden changes in sound volumes? You should. It will help you to enjoy the movies and protect your health.

Assuming none of these scenarios apply to you, you might not need a DRC. If you love experiencing the full audio of your movies, you shouldn’t use it.

In other words, you should use DCR for practical reasons like taking care of the interests of your adjacent neighbors and your family members. However, you can use it for the best entertainment experience whenever you are in a safe environment.

When Does DRC Matter?

If you want to turn your subwoofer up to its maximum volume, then there will be a lot of compression which will introduce pumping and compression artifacts. This will be audible and does not sound pleasant and will be very noticeable in music and sound effects.

At these high volumes, you can reduce the dynamic range compression in the system to reduce these unwanted effects.

Should the DRC Be on or Off?

Should the DRC Be on or Off

You can turn the DRC on or off, depending on whether you want to use it or not. Some of the above points will help you to make the right decision.

If your audio system comes with a DRC, you shouldn’t destroy it. You might need it when you least expect it.

The safest solution is to turn it on if you live adjacent to other residences. It would help if you did the same for your family’s benefit. You might want to ask your family members and neighbors whether they get a better experience when the DCR is turned off.

In some cases, you may have their permission to play your movies without worrying about the volume. In this case, you can turn the DRC on.

However, if you are fond of playing your movies at night, you might have no other option. Please turn it off. No one wants to listen to the noise as they sleep.

Is Dynamic Range Compression Good?

Yes, from what we’ve seen from the beginning, we can rightly say the Dynamic Range Compression is good. If you love watching movies at night, you can confirm this. The same applies if you are in a house with kids, the elderly, or a patient. It is also good to have the DRC in residential areas and other places where people don’t like the booms and bangs.

The DRC is also excellent if you listen in a noisy environment. So, it is a matter of common sense. If you love considering the interests of others, you’ll know when it’s beneficial to use Dynamic Range Compression or not.

Should You Set DRC Audio On or Off?

Choosing to turn on Dynamic Range Compression (DRC) depends on the situation because it can sometimes make your audio quality worse. DRC changes the original sound by squishing the range of loud and soft sounds together, which might mess up the natural sound quality.

For instance, if you use DRC while playing music, it could stop you from hearing all the different sounds the music producer wanted you to hear, making your listening experience less real and not as good.

On the other hand, DRC helps keep the volume level steady, so you don’t have to keep changing it. This is handy when you’re watching a movie and the sound jumps between quiet talking and loud effects, which makes it easier to watch without fiddling with the volume.

We usually recommend leaving DRC off to enjoy audio the way it was meant to be heard. But there might be special times, like watching TV late at night or in places where loud sounds are a problem when turning on DRC could help.

The best way to figure out if DRC makes your listening experience better is to try listening to something with DRC on and then off. Testing it out like this will let you see if you prefer having DRC on.

How Does DRC Work?

The DRC relies on several user-adjustable control parameters and features to work. The most important ones include:


If an audio signal’s amplitude exceeds that required threshold, the compressor reduces its level. It doesn’t process signal levels that are below the threshold. In this case, it passes the unmodified input signal to the output. That means a higher threshold like -10 dB results in less processing and compression than a lower one like -80 dB.

The attack and release settings determine the threshold timing behavior. The attack setting delays the DRC operation whenever the signal level exceeds the threshold. The DRC continues to compress the audio after the signal has fallen below the standard threshold.


A predetermined ratio helps to set the amount of gain reduction. If the input level is 4 dB more than the threshold, the compressor reduces the output signal to 1 dB.

Attack and Release

Attack refers to when the compressor is reducing gain. This typically happens in response to an increase in the input signal level.

On the other hand, the release is the duration the compressor takes to increase gain due to the reduced input level.

Since the compressor’s time-varying operation modifies the loudness pattern, the attack and release settings may change the signal’s character in minor or significant ways. The change in gain and the shift rate determine the length of each period.

In some cases, you can adjust the attack and release times manually.


 It refers to the output level. After the DRC has compressed a track or signal, it can cut it to a lower volume or bring it back to its full volume.


The DRC handles the hard work of controlling the volume without having too loud or low sounds in the movie. So, you need it to enjoy the entertainment without hurting your family members or neighbors. When you are in a place where you can experience every effect of your movie without annoying them, you can turn it off.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin