Most of us have been in situations where our headphone audio output has been too low even when the volume setting is set to max. Whether you are listening to a song, watching a movie or on a call, low volumes can only lead to a frustrating experience. In this guide we’ll explore what causes headphones to have a low volume and ways in which we can troubleshoot and make our headphones louder.
We will also aim to understand the various factors that affect the quality of sound in headphones – this may make it easier for you to understand why some headphones sound better and louder than others.
What makes some headphones sound better
Not all headphones sound the same. Some headphones have a better sound quality than others. While headphones at the most basic level are transducers which convert electrical energy to sound energy, below are a number of factors which can influence their sound quality.
Quality of Components
Headphones that sound better are often constructed with more quality components. This makes it possible for them to get a clearer and often richer sound. Quality components are also an important factor when it comes to longevity. Headphones made with quality materials last longer and maintain their richer sound while low quality headphones are not the most reliable in the long-run.
Design of the headphones: closed back vs open back
Headphones can either be closed back or open backed. Open back headphones allow air to pass around the back to the speakers while closed back headphones have sealed ear cups. Both of these factors can influence how headphones will sound.
Impedance is an important property in headphones which often determine their ability to ‘sound loud’. It is the electrical resistance of the headphones which is measured in units of ohms. Often, headphones with higher ohms require amplifiers to drive them to their full potential. The damping factor is your headphones impedance in ohms divided by your amplifier’s output impedance. A good rule of thumb is that the damping factor nearer to the value of eight or above is often used to achieve optimal responses.
Sensitivity is another attribute of a headphone property which determines how loud the headphone sounds at a given power level. Higher sensitivity levels are often correlated with higher volume levels. However, the downside is that all components within the signal chain become susceptible and the headphone is more prone to hiss and electrical noise if sensitivity levels are too high.
What causes headphones to have low volume
Before we look at how we can make headphones sound louder, we should consider a number of things that might make headphones to have a low volume.
If your headphones are quiet or have a low volume it is necessary to check them out for any defects. If the wires are loose or cut, the headphones may not work as expected. If your headphones have also taken a huge knock by hitting the ground, it may cause damage to the outer ear cups but also the underlying drivers. It is important to make sure your headphones are working correctly by testing them out on another device. If they output sound fine, you can rule out this possibility and question the initial device they were connected to.
Corrupt or low-quality audio file
Another reason why your headphones might have a low volume is because the audio file itself may be corrupt and not playing as intended. In addition, some audio files have a low bitrate and so audio quality is not as good as expected. You can check the audio files bitrate by right-clicking and check its properties.
Damaged headphone jack or plug
If your headphone volume is not loud enough, check your jack and plug connection and make sure it fits perfectly. If the jack is loosely connected to the plug, it might not transmit audio correctly. Also make sure that you have the right set of headphones for the device you are using. While the jack might fit the plug, they might not be the right type for your device. Also clean your headphone jack and plug and clean away any dust or dirt that might have accumulated over time. Check out our more detailed guide on appropriate headphone jack or plug sizes.
Unoptimized device settings
Sometimes the low volume in headphones might be the result of the device settings that one is using. It is important to check and make sure the volume goes all the way up as some devices cap the volume at 80% to prevent ear damage that might be as a result of listening to music at high levels. If the device you are using has limits, disable them. You can also tweak your device settings to produce the right kind of results for your headphones or use volume boosters which increase and amplify your maximum volume. Care must be taken however to not increase volume to such levels which may damage the ear in the long run.
Presbyacusis or age-related hearing loss is a common issue and does tend to affect the higher frequency ranges. If you are finding hearing problems extending to real-life situations, it is best to visit a medical doctor to arrange hearing tests and ruling out other medical conditions. Other common causes of hearing loss, extending across all ages, are: excessive noise exposure, wax obstructing the ear canals and viral infections.
Connectivity issues in case of wireless headphones
In case you are using wireless headphones or IEMs, low volume may be the result of bad connections and/or external interferences. Make sure your Bluetooth settings are working and correctly configured. For example, setting your IEMs to ‘Stereo’ as opposed to ‘Hands-Free Audio’ optimizes the sound to music and can often increase the volume levels.
Simple ways to make headphones louder
Before we delve into the topic it’s important to note that listening to music or any audio for a prolonged time using headphones may put you in danger of permanent hearing loss. Be sure to follow your headphones manual and instructions.
Using Volume Boosters to make your headphones louder
As mentioned earlier a volume booster is an application or software which amplifies or increases your maximum volume. They work by increasing the sounds of audio files that aren’t correctly optimized. They increase the frequencies that aren’t already boosted. Volume boosters also work to bypass the volume limit set in place by device manufacturers to prevent ear damage.
Below is a list of the best volume booster that actually work:
Volume booster by Goodev for Android devices
This is considered to be one of the most complete volume boosters for Android. It provides so many options and tweaks to choose from. You can download it here.
KaiserTone for iOS devices
For iOS devices, KaiserTone is the go-to choice. It has Hi-Res Audio playback, a 30 band Equalizer and is able to make use of over 64000 frequency bands to boost the audio and volume.
FxSound for PC
This volume booster for PC boasts a ton of features and despite boosting and increasing the volume it is able to maintain the sound quality hence creating an enriching listening experience.
Boom3D for Mac
With patented technology, Boom3D is created around the 3D Surround Audio Engine Algorithm and it supports a wide array of players and streaming services. It has a lot of features and an equalizer allowing you to tweak the sound to your test.
VLC: Cross platform
Perhaps the most famous player there is, VLC has an internal volume booster that is able to go beyond the devices volume limit. The only downside is that it tends to distort the quality the more you boost the volume.
Cleaning your headphones
One can make headphones louder by cleaning the headphones. Sometimes dirt and dust accumulated over time can block the path ways used to deliver sound and cleaning the headphones makes them regain their clean sound back. It is essential that an expert does it to avoid damage.
Upgrading the sound card or DAC
Upgrading the sound card or Digital to analog converters (DAC) can make the headphone sound louder. In PC and Macs, this can be achieved by replacing them internally or getting external sound cards. In phones, an external USB DAC can be used to conveniently upgrade the sound quality as well as volume.
Using an amplifier
An amplifier drives your headphones to higher volumes and often improves their sound quality. It is important to check the impedance and sensitivity of devices to reason whether they would benefit from amplifications. Headphones with an impedance of 100 Ohms or above usually benefit from amplification as the increased power is able to drive the headphone diaphragms to greater efficiency and response. This is an often an easy way to make our headphones louder.
Upgrading the headphones
Sometimes the problem is the headphone itself and getting a new pair will guarantee you louder volumes. You have to be careful when buying to make sure you buy good quality headphones that have the right specs for your needs. The truth is, with headphones that are perfectly optimized in the audio chain rarely need go through all of these tweaks.
Device audio setting
You can also get your headphones louder by adjusting the volume of the device you are using. This is fairly easy to do.
You can increase the volume via two ways: hardware keys or software setting. Toggling the volume keys up and down is fairly easy and convenient way to increase the volume levels. Some phones come with a warning option which displays the following message ‘Listening at a high volume for a long time may damage your hearing’. Caution must be applied in all scenarios to not listen to excessive volumes for prolonged periods.
You can also achieve the same by going to:
1. Device Setting
2. Click Sound and Vibration
3. Click Volume
4. Adjust the Volume by moving the sliders
Just like Android, you can increase or lower the headphone volume by simply pressing the volume up or volume down key.
On the taskbar, click the volume icon and adjust it according to your taste.
1. To go to Advanced Setting, go to the start menu and search volume in the search bar.
2. Click on Sound Mixer options from the list of choices.
3. Adjust the Setting you want to your taste.
1. Open System Preferences and open the Sound pane.
2. Click the Output tab and choose your headphones
3. Adjust the Settings to your taste.
Using better audio software
Some audio software have superior capabilities than other and they are able to make the headphones sound louder by changing the way audio is processed and tweaking the sound settings. Some provide equalizers giving one with the ability to manually make the headphones louder. You should put some research to determine the best audio player for your operating system.
How to make wireless headphones louder
How to make Samsung earphones louder
A lot of people been complaining that their Samsung earphones are not loud enough as they expected them to be. In this section we shall explore how to make Samsung earbuds louder.
Disabling absolute volume
You can increase the volume on Samsung earbuds by disabling absolute volume in developer mode. To achieve this:
1. Go to Settings
2. Click on About Phone and then select software information
3. The tap build number at least 7 times to activate Developer options
4. In Developer options scroll down to disable absolute volume and disable. This should make your earbuds louder instantly.
Adjust the volume from the touchpad
Some Samsung earphone users discovered that the Samsung earphones volume is low by default.
You can increase the earbuds volume by setting the touchpads to change the volume when pressed and held via the galaxy wearables app.
After that, hold your right earbud until the beeps change indicating that the volume is at max. After doing this, also turn up the phones volume manually.
Unpair or Re-pair the Samsung earbuds
Sometimes the low volume in the Samsung galaxy buds can be as a result of Bluetooth issues. You can unpair and repair the earbuds and see if that makes them louder.
Turn on media sync in Bluetooth settings
1. Go to the Settings
2. Go to Connections and then choose Bluetooth
3. Access the Advanced options in the top right corner of the screen.
4. Turn on Media Sync settings and you’re good to go.
How to make AirPods louder
Disable low power mode
iPhones limit their full potential when the battery is low in order to increase the time the iPhone can stay on. This also affects the AirPods sound and turning the setting off, makes the AirPods louder. To do this, simply go to Settings and then select Battery and toggle off Low Power.
Unpair and re-pair the AirPods
Just like the Samsung earbuds, the AirPods loudness might be affected by Bluetooth issues. To fix them simply unpair and then repair the AirPods to reset them.
Check volume limit
As we mentioned earlier most manufactures cap their volume in order to protect individuals from hearing loss as a result of too much noise in the ears. Apple does the same by default and to increase the AirPods loudness you have to disable that setting. You can achieve that by:
1. Go to Settings and then select Sounds & Haptics
2. Tap on Headphone Safety
3. Tap Reduce Loud Sounds
4. Now tap to Toggle on Reduce Loud Sounds
5.Drag the Slider that appears to set a maximum headphone volume
Adjusting headphones to the correct levels undoubtedly improves the listening experience. Hopefully this guide enables you troubleshoot and restore the needed volume improvements to make your headphones louder. No longer are you left wondering what that last lyric was or missing out on an important movie scene. As with all things, however, moderation is key. Listening to loud volumes for prolonged periods can cause hearing damage. Hence, caution should be applied all scenarios. Do you have any more suggestions on how to improve your headphone volume levels? If so, write back and do let us know.
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