Automatic gain control (AGC), also called automatic volume control (AVC), is a closed-loop feedback regulating circuit in an amplifier or chain of amplifiers, the purpose of which is to maintain a suitable signal amplitude at its output, despite variation of the signal amplitude at the input. The average or peak output signal level is used to dynamically adjust the gain of the amplifiers, enabling the circuit to work satisfactorily with a greater range of input signal levels. It is used in most radio receivers to equalize the average volume (loudness) of different radio stations due to differences in received signal strength, as well as variations in a single station's radio signal due to fading. Without AGC the sound emitted from an AM radio receiver would vary to an extreme extent from a weak to a strong signal; the AGC effectively reduces the volume if the signal is strong and raises it when it is weaker. In a typical receiver the AGC feedback control signal is usually taken from the detector stage and applied to control the gain of the IF or RF amplifier stages.
The signal to be gain controlled (the detector output in a radio) goes to a diode & capacitor, which produce a peak-following DC voltage. This is fed to the RF gain blocks to alter their bias, thus altering their gain. Traditionally all the gain-controlled stages came before the signal detection, but it is also possible to improve gain control by adding a gain-controlled stage after signal detection.