Game Guides

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Best Audio Settings, How to Hear Footsteps

There are multiple sound settings to use.

by William Schwartz


The sound design has been revamped for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and that means that you’ll be able to use sound to your advantage.  Couple the in-game sound effects with a good headset and the right settings and you’ll be able to hear where players are coming from.

With Modern Warfare it’s not just footsteps you are listening for.  You can hear which direction those footsteps are coming from and what type of surface those footsteps are in contact with.  How well you can hear these things depends on a couple of different factors.  If you’re playing with just the audio from your television, it’s going to be hard to get the full effect of surround sound and different audio settings in the game.  That said you are going to want to pick the audio setting that works best for your set-up.

There are quite a few different settings to choose from in Modern Warfare.

Audio Mix Settings

  • Studio Reference – Maximum Dynamic Range.  Recommended at 75dB
  • Dynamic Home Theater – High Dynamic Range.  Recommended at 65dB
  • Home Theater – Moderate Dynamic Range. Recommended at 55dB
  • Midnight Mode – Low Dynamic Range.  Softer Volume but still keeps details.
  • Boost – Moderate Dynamic Range.  Neutral EQ. <– Best for all around sound
  • Boost High – Moderate Dynamic Range.  Enhanced Highs  <— Our pick for best footstep sound 
  • Boost Low – Moderate Dynamic Range.  Enhanced Lows.

So what does all this mean?  Dynamic Range, Enhanced Highs, Lows, dB?  Modern Warfare has a lot going on in any given match.  There are ambient noises, explosions, gunfire, killstreaks, and much more.  If you’re trying to focus on footsteps you’re going to want to focus on the Boost High setting.  Footsteps are going to be a high frequency noise which this setting will amplify.  This setting also allows you to single out footsteps among the many other noises in the game, without drowning the other sounds out completely.

Setting these under the Audio Mix settings probably isn’t enough if you’re using something like a Turtle Beach or Astro headset.  Make sure you head into your settings for the headset you have to make sure that you’ve got it correctly set-up and using something that also amplifies the frequency you’re looking to boost.  Some headset models have things like “Footstep Focus” settings or “Superhuman Hearing” that boost highs on the hardware side which might make the Boost High sound bad.

Your ideal headset/speaker will be found through a combination of the settings of your audio software and the Modern Warfare game client itself.

There are testing options within the Options>Audio menu which allow you to test each sound profile.  Simply hover over the Audio Mix option and then click the right thumbstick.  This will bring up the Audio Mix menu.  From here you can use the X Button (Xbox) or Square Button (PlayStation) to get a sample of each audio offering.

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