BioShock 2

BioShock 2

76 ratings
Fix Quiet Guns and Unbalanced Audio - Restoring the Retail Audio Mix
By AffableTowel
Audio sound unbalanced? Guns too quiet? Here is a guide to restoring the original audio mix in Bioshock 2. Fully compatible with DLC!
Patch 1.4 for Bioshock 2 made some weird changes to the audio mix. Many things were altered, but most noticeable was a big cut to the players gun volume.

The following fix restores the original retail sound mix while keeping compatibility with Minerva's Den and the Protector Trials DLC.

This video compares between the current patch and the original retail release.
This is a safe tweak, and should contain absolutely nothing to cause a crash. Seriously. If you are having crashes it's likely from another source. DirectX 10 is the largest culprit in Windows 7, 8, and 10 - try disabling it using step 1 of this guide. Or, if you really want to use DX10 and are on Windows 7, try this guide.

Having said all that, I hold no responsibility for anything going wrong because of this fix etc etc.

This tweak does not fix issues such as missing audio or sounds suddenly cutting out.
Download the fix from one of the following mirrors:
Installing the mod is easy. Simply extract the downloaded file into “Bioshock 2\SP\Content\System” *, and you're all done!

Your System folder structure should now look like the following:

To uninstall, simply delete SoundMixStates.ini.

* If you cannot find your Bioshock 2 installation directory, use the following steps. Right-click the game in your Steam Library and choose ‘Properties’. In the new window choose the ‘Local Files’ tab, then click the topmost button titled ‘Browse Local Files’. The location of Bioshock 2 will now open.
People found you could restore the original mix by replacing ConfigINI.IBF with the original retail version. This worked to an extent, but as the replacement file was pre-DLC it didn't work very well with Minerva's Den and the Protector Trials.

ConfigINI.IBF contains a bunch of packed .ini files, but the only relevant to this is SoundMixStates.ini. We do some tomfoolery to extract a retail version and a latest version (, compare the two to find DLC entries, then add them back into to the retail version.

There looks to be potential here to improve the mix, things like increasing the volume of certain guns. It would require much experimentation & investigation to discover unlisted object names, and would need plenty of time tweaking numbers just to get a start (the mix maxes out at 0.0db, so before you can make particular entries louder you'd have to change all the other numerous entries to be softer). But I welcome anyone to have a go!

It's interesting to note that SoundMixStates.ini went completely untouched until patch 1.4, and then the mix was suddenly modified. If anyone knows the internal reasoning, I'd be very intrigued to know why it was changed. As the 360 version went unchanged and hence doesn't have these bugs, I imagine someone porting the DLC to PC simply chose the wrong codebase on accident.
Further Mods
For anyone interested, here is a zip containing all the untouched .ini files extracted from ConfigINI.IBF. These can be used to change a lot of the variables for the game, including damage and loot tables. Difficulty mods have previously been made for Bioshock 1 using these methods.
Thanks go to:
  • Slightly Dead for finding the original fix (link)
  • thebiomage for narrowing down ConfigINI.IBF and providing a copy of the retail version (link)
  • psikoticsilver for extracting ConfigINI.IBF and showing the resulting file structure (link)[]
  • Relight for posting an archive of all the extracted ini’s prior to Steamworks (link)[]
  • frostdiamond for pointing out a simpler way of installing the fix. Cheers!
And thank YOU for using this tweak! Any feedback, testing, or expansion upon is appreciated and welcomed.
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•Veoh☯Techstarify• Jan 23 @ 4:25pm 
For those who are using the new *remastered* version:
Steam(or SteamLibrary)\steamapps\common\BioShock 2 Remastered\ContendBaked\pc\system.

So I also want to say thx for this! Even after this already very old long ago thread.
DarkTree Oct 21, 2016 @ 1:59pm 
i'm unable to run b2remastered so i wouldn't be able to find out, but thanks for the information
AffableTowel  [author] Oct 21, 2016 @ 1:57pm 
Yeah. Gun sounds are a *bit* better, but even the original mix wasn't that great.

As for vending machines, there was a bug that prevented vending machine voice audio to be played. Was confirmed here [] back in 2010, and then confirmed to not be receiving a patch here []. Pity.

I looked into fixing this a while back. IIRC the audio files are packed up and available, just not in the correct place. Apparently the files were moved to fix a problem close to launch, and they didn't notice that they accidentally broke the vending V/O. I unfortunately never had time to finish investigating what the correct file structure would be. I haven't played the new HD version of Bio2, not sure if it's been fixed there?
DarkTree Oct 21, 2016 @ 10:44am 
does it change the vending machine audio? i can't ever hear vending machine audio, even with the mod. my gun sounds also seem to be marginally louder, i think.
Sir ArchonSlayer Jun 24, 2016 @ 6:08pm 
Ok, thanks.
AffableTowel  [author] Jun 24, 2016 @ 5:41pm 
It is better. Delta's pain sound doesn't change much, but other sounds are louder so the overall sound is more balanced. It isn't perfect by any means - the original mix had problems too - but it is better. Check the example video in the guide for a comparison.
Sir ArchonSlayer Jun 24, 2016 @ 5:23pm 
Hi, will this work for lowering Subject Delta's pain noises? No matter what settings I lower, it's still unbearably loud.
〠 LIMUNADE Apr 18, 2016 @ 9:26am 
Thx for killing gameplay in Minerva's Den. Really help me to improve sound!
TSense Jan 24, 2016 @ 3:38am 
thank you
Pauolo Jan 23, 2016 @ 7:35am 
Thanks for the fix. :)

I don't know why, sound has always been an issue in BioShock 2, even before the Steam version. The vending machines lack automated sound tracks (distorted versions of BioShock 1's), and while they work fine in both DLC it seems the developers never succeeded in fixing them in the main game. There's also the infamous Big Sister fight soundtrack looping each time one of them is spawned. More saddening, BioShock 2 has a lot of public address announcements just like BioShock 1 and both episodes of Infinite's DLC Burial at Sea, but they simply don't play in-game. Minerva's Den has its own set of PA announcements, so I can only attribute that to this whole sound mess. I doubt however that anyone without the game's code can fix these issues. :(