When you change the volume of RealPlayer, it changes the volume for the system.
Not being able to toggle this behavior off is seriously one of the most idiotic thing I've ever come across in my entire life. It would take less than a day for any half-awake programmer to fix, but whatever. Adapt and overcome, right?
Via Wikipedia, I found out about a solution.
So I downloaded and installed Volume Logic and it successfully disabled RealPlayer's volume control, whether the plugin was Off or On. Super good.
Ms. Flowerpress vs Mr. Sledgehammer...
I then tested out its marketed purpose (listening to music) and well... it's truly an audiosnob's nightmare and an audiophool's dream.
It quite literally sacrifices musicality to make crappy speakers sound better. Take a song with loud-soft dynamics (like It's Oh So Quiet) and you'll find the following...
* Multiband compression and expansion (aka companding) bring out every detail.
* Small speakers seem to perform better.
* It kinda compensates for loud environments.
* Elegant test to see where one fits on the audiosnobs/audiophools spectrum.
* Dynamics (like crescendos, decrescendos, impact and fragility) are annihilated. In our Björk example, her whispers and the orchestra hits actually have comparable loudness.
* You'll tire out your ears much quicker. Some sizzle and boom is nice, but all the time is torturous.
All that said, it works brilliantly for problematic audio like class lectures or home recordings. I especially like the FM Magic preset with a pinch of Drive for this. And that's exactly why the leading headset manufacturer bought out the company.
For me, this kind of balls-out companding is for forensics, low-fidelity recordings, speech, and possibly DIY broadcasting.
But if you set your equalization like this...
you just might want to check out this plugin.