What is DRC on Soundbar and Is It Good?

If you have been wondering what is the DRC on your soundbar?, Don’t worry because you are in the right place. In this article, I will try my possible best to answer this common question that I get from many home entertainment owners. I did deep research on the topic to help you understand what the DRC on your soundbar stands for and when to turn it off or on.

What is DRC on Soundbar

What is DRC on Soundbar?. Dynamic range compression(DRC) on a soundbar is simply termed as automatic volume control on your system. The DRC works only for Dolby Digital and DTS systems to compress the dynamic range so that there is less range between louder and quieter transitions. A great feature if you want to be considerate to other dwellers in or adjacent residences.

Movies come with a very wide range of volumes of sounds from quieter dialog or whisper to big explosions or crashes.

The sudden change in sound between quieter and louder sounds might not be desirable to some people or maybe the transition from loud sound to less audible sounds might make it difficult for some people to even hear.

If you are like many people who depend on your personal tolerance may find yourself often turning the volume down or up to find a compromise between the loud and quiet scenes.

That is when you will find the dynamic range compression very useful depending on your personal tolerance to sounds.

Before I go into more detail, let’s look at how a soundbar works.

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How Does a Soundbar Work?

Soundbars are a great compromise between the most expensive surround sound system and the tinny sound from your TV’s built-in speakers.

Consumers who are not electronics adverse may find soundbars as a simplified process of replicating surround sound through their single amplified speakers’ technology.

Essentially, soundbars consist of many speakers in one- with each speaker fitted inside the bar and positioned in such a way as to achieve surround sound.

how does soundbar work

The speakers’ placement inside the soundbar makes it possible to create a phycho-acoustic effect which means the sound is literally bouncing off the walls.

They basically send out different beams of sound, so there is a unique beam for each channel – thus the front right, front left, center, surround right, and surround left.

The soundbars are engineered to be able to bounce the sounds off the wall to create the proper surround sound effect that most home theater systems create.

Some soundbars are designed such that you don’t need separate rear speakers, AV receiver, or even a subwoofer.

What Does DRC Stand for on Soundbar?

DRC on your soundbar is the abbreviation for dynamic range compression. It is a feature that makes it possible to automatically control the sound volumes during the different scenes in your movie. It is a fact that movies have many varying ranges of volume, which can make it intolerable for some people or certain situations.

You can imagine it this way. The sound scale is from 0-100, where 1 is the lowest sound and 100 is the loudest sound. If a system is not using any form of DRC, when you set the volume in such a way that you can hear the softest sounds, when the loudest scene comes, they can really be loud.

This might be great if you want the full impact of every part of the movie. However, this might not be great if you live in a domestic environment with other dwellers or neighbors close by.

DRC is only operational when using Dolby Digital or the DTS system. It is designed to compress the dynamic range of sounds when having peaks is not acceptable in a residential environment.

As already mentioned, the DRC only works with Dolby sources and it also applies to your decoder, so, if you are bitstreaming to your AVR for decoding, then the settings on the player won’t be important. Instead, the one in your receiver will be used. Likewise, if you are decoding in the player, then the DRC setting in the receiver won’t matter.

Pros and Cons of Activating DRC on Your Soundbar


  • Great for late-night viewing
  • Drastically reduce the loud commercial noise
  • Reduced startling sounds
  • Great for movies with very quiet dialogue scenes
  • The TV volume is regulated


  • Music may sound flat and less excited
  • Reduced sound quality
  • Efficiency may vary from content to content
  • Emotional moments in movies may feel less impactful

Now, you might be asking yourself,

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Should the DRC be On or Off and Should You Use It?

In instances where you have other house dwellers or you live adjacent to other residences, it is better to have the DRC turned On. This will ensure that the volume between the different varying scenes is automatically controlled to prevent loud explosive scenes from waking up your neighbors or other family members.

If you are also fond of watching late-night movies, that is where you will find this feature very useful to turn On. You would have to be changing volumes between the different scenes to control the volume or increase it for quieter scenes.

If can also turn the DRC On if you are personally intolerable when it comes to sudden changes in sound volumes on your TV.

If none of the above situations is applicable to you, then it is best to have the DRC turn Off to experience the full audio of the movie or whatever it is you are watching.

Obviously, for the “best” experience, you should leave DRC set to “Off”, but for practical reasons (like late-night viewing, and adjacent neighbors) you may want to turn it on. In theory, the DRC will make your loud scenes (commercials) less loud while making soft dialog louder.

Is Dynamic Range Compression Good?

 Dynamic range compression is good to have on in residential areas, apartments, or in a house with kids and if you are a late movie viewer.

It is intended for low-level listening without creating scenarios whereby lower-level sounds may become too quiet to her and louder sound levels become too loud.

Essentially, DRC keeps volume levels “stable”. It’s effective for those that don’t want to be startled by loud “booms and bangs”.

You may also get some benefit from this if you listen in a noisy environment.

Even some manufacturer manuals would recommend you have it on. But you can always turn it off if you don’t want it that way.

Does DRC Distort the Audio?

Though barely audible, DRC technically alters the audio. DRC doesn’t allow for undesirable distortions like noises, clicks, and pops, even though your TV will sound different than usual and the original sounds in movies and TV shows will be effectively transformed.

When you switch on DRC on your soundbar, an automatic audio effect that processes all of the audio coming from your TV is activated. Because it isn’t the original audio that the audio engineer created, the signal is warped as a result. This does not imply, however, that DRC “distortion” is undesirable.

Final Thoughts on the DRC on Soundbar

Frankly, the DRC is a volume control measure put inside Dolby and DTC systems to control the volume seemingly without having too low or too loud sounds in the movie and to make you enjoy your home entertainment in peace without annoying your neighbors or household members.

It should be off if you want to experience every effect of what you are watching both the loud explosions, crashes, and the low dialog and stuff.

Setting it on or off will be a personal decision to make depending on your situation and environmental conditions around you. It is an amazing feature to have in your home theater system.

Soundbars are aiming to replace home theater systems with separate speakers for front, surround sound speakers, and subwoofers.

Having one that can deliver quality sounds and effects is a plus because you won’t have to so all those connections around from front to back and stuff.

I hope you found this article helpful in your search to understand what DRC is on Soundbar systems. This was compiled from a deep research on the topic and hopefully, you found what you wanted from it.


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