What is Loudness Equalization in Modern Warfare 2? Controversial CDL audio setting explained

MW2 character in dark tunnelActivision

A lot of Modern Warfare 2 discourse has centered on a ‘Loudness Equalization’ setting, especially in the Call of Duty League. But what is it, how does it work and why is it controversial? 

From snaking to perk packages, Modern Warfare 2 has introduced some new mechanics (and changed some old ones) that have piqued the interest of its player base. 

There’s recently been a lot of talk about Loudness Equalization. But what is it, how does it work and why is it controversial? 

Modern Warfare 2 Loudness Equalization explained

Loudness Equalization is a PC audio setting that players can enable in Modern Warfare 2. It is not an option for console players, so Xbox and PlayStation users cannot make the most of it. 

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When default audio is equipped, enemy footsteps and direction are naturally obscured by other sounds and some degree of subjectivity.

However, when Loudness Equalization is equipped, it balances audio direction and enemy noise. It makes opponent footstep audio much clearer and easier to pinpoint, so players can pre-aim and anticipate enemies as they approach. 

How to turn Loudness Equalization on in MW2

To enable the audio setting, it’s incredibly simple. As previously mentioned, it can’t be done on console. For PC players though, just follow the steps outlined below: 

  1. Right-click the speaker icon on your taskbar and go to “Sounds”.
  2. In the “Playback” tab find the device with a green tick mark (Your default device).
  3. Right-click that device and go to “Properties”.
  4. Select the “Enhancements” tab.
  5. Make sure the “Loudness Equalization” setting is turned on.
  6. Click “OK” to confirm the settings.
  7. Head into a game with the enhanced audio.
  8. To turn this setting back off simply follow the steps and deselect the “Loudness Equalization”.

Why is it controversial? Loudness Equalization in the CDL

If it’s a legitimate way to reconfigure your audio, then why is it controversial? The answer is essentially because it is considered overpowered, making it incredibly easy to hear and anticipate enemy positions and movements. 

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Casual players can use it to their heart’s desire but, in the Call of Duty League, it’s not that simple. 

At LAN events, players use uniform PCs with pre-determined and consistent settings equipped. However, the same can’t be said when it comes to online matches – like CDL Qualifiers. Here, there’s no way to ensure players are not using the beneficial audio setting and it is technically allowed as an optional audio setting. 

call of duty league logo with al bagra fortress in backgroundActivision
Loudness Equalization can helps pros massively.

We’ve already seen OpTic Texas’ Scump and Shotzzy criticize the “scumbags” using it – and other pros like Scrappy have blasted pros that knowingly use it. 

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With months of the MW2 CDL season remaining, it’s sure to continue to be a fiercely debated topic.