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Pandora sometimes plays at low volume


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My device: Galaxy S20 5G (SM-G981U1), android version 11. Equalizer version is "build-908-arm64-play"

My issue is only with Pandora music, all other apps seem to work OK. What happens is: when a song starts, about 50% of the time the song plays at low volume (about half volume). It will continue to play at low volume until either the song ends, or I pause and start the music again. When i do the pause-play trick, the sound always returns to the correct volume. Every time the song changes, it's another 50/50 chance if the song is playing at the correct volume.

I don't have a headphone jack (rip), but I have tested this with my Bluetooth earbuds, and my portable headphone amp in both Bluetooth and USB DAC mode, all showed the same behavior. I also tried playing with all the options for Pandora in the 'known players' menu, but nothing seemed to fix the problem.

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@Keboose Tested on Pandora ver. 2112.1 on S9@Android 11 (all my newer Samsungs are on Android 12 already, I tested on Android 12 as well), and I can't reproduce issue by playing at least 10 songs in sequence. I was able to reproduce once by listening non-stop for about an hour.
I can see that -20dB volume reduction is applied directly to the AudioTrack Pandora is using (adb shell dumpsys audio_flinger):
130    yes   3171     497     131 A  0x000 00000001 00000003  44100  3   1  0   -56   -20   -20     0  00593900  11025   11025 A         0        0 0.099998 0.099998  450.87 t

The next track goes normal:
134    yes   3171     521     135 A  0x000 00000001 00000003  44100  3   1  0   -37  -0.73 -0.73     0  0002E280  11025   11025 A         0        0 0.919434 0.919434  450.61 t
Another track gets different volume level:           
138    yes   3171     569     139 A  0x000 00000001 00000003  44100  3   1  0  -1.5  -1.5  -1.5     0  0004BB00  11025   10129 A         0        0 0.842957 0.842957  439.89 t

Only player app itself can control its AudioTrack volume levels, so the issue can't be fixed or worked around by Equalizer. It seems like Pandora tries to do some Replay Gain based volume normalization and sometimes volume values are off. Or may be this is non-subscriber "feature".

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for investigating, good to know I'm not crazy.

This happens to me much more often than once per hour, as I said, about 50% of songs. I would guess mine is doing the -1.5dB dip, as -20dB would make my music almost inaudible, I am just experiencing a moderate drop in volume.

I can't find any audio settings in Pandora to adjust, so I don't know if this is fixable on my end, if the Pandora app itself is the one changing the volume. I pay for a Pandora subscription, so not sure if it's related to any "premium" features.

Is there any debug info I could send you to verify you found the same thing that's happening on my phone?

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