Perhaps you’ve got yourself a new pair of headphones and they are not as loud as you like them to be. Or maybe you’ve got an old pair of cans, and they can’t seem to pump out the sound as loud as before. Whatever may be the case, I am here to help you.
I have written this article from my own experience and from scouring the web to find every way possible to increase the volume of your headphones.
Here are the ways I have found that might, just might, increase the volume of your headphones:
- Max Out The Volume
- Volume Boosting Applications
- Try A Different Audio Streaming Service
- Invest In A Headphone Amplifier
- Give Them A Good Clean
- Buy New Headphones
1) Max Out The Volume
A pretty obvious one, but have you tried simply maxing out your volume? And it’s not as simple as just turning your volume to the maximum.
See, many devices come with their own volume limits to prevent hearing loss. It is possible to disable or increase this limit on your devices. Here is a guide to do this on your Windows 10 machine.
You can also perform similar actions on your Android and iPhone devices. There are many guides online you can follow that will disable the volume limit. Be warned though; these limits are there for a reason – to prevent hearing damage.
There are also other ways to max out the volume. Play with your device’s sound settings. Whether it be on your smartphone or PC, there are usually several settings you can tweak. For example, iPhones have an EQ setting called ‘late night’ which will boost the sound.
On top of this, the headphones you are using may also come with their own volume controls. You want to make sure you set these correctly as well.
2) Volume Boosting Applications
You can get volume-boosting applications on pretty much any operating system or device. They are available on Android or iOS smartphones as well as your Mac or Windows PC. Here are some recommendations based on the most popular operating systems:
If you are an Android user, here are some popular volume boosters:
- Volume Booster GOODEV
- Volume Booster Pro by Music Hero
- VLC media player. This player supports almost all media formats. You can increase sound by up to 200%.
- Precise Volume. This gives you 100 different volume levels for more precise volume control. It also allows you to boost volume using its equalizer.
- Equalizer FX. Supports most streaming services and can boost volume via its Loudness Enhancer.
Alternatively, here are some iOS volume boosters:
- Equalizer +
- KaiserTone Audio Player
- Player Xtreme Media Player. Can increase volume by up to 3 times.
- Boom (if you use Tidal or Spotify)
- ONKYO HF Player Volume Boost
There are also many volume boosters available for Windows and macOS users.
- Boom 3D (Windows and macOS)
- fxSound (Windows)
- Equalizer APO (Windows)
- Fidelizer Audio Enhancer (Windows)
- Viper4Windows (Windows)
These types of applications usually work in a couple of ways. Some of them can be used with the music or sound files stored on your device, whilst others are specifically made for streaming services like Spotify.
My recommendation is to read online reviews and see which one is suited for you. Many allow you to tinker with a lot of audio variables such as equalization, bass, and treble and even set presets depending on what you are doing like gaming or streaming video.
Some will cost money whilst others are completely free.
3) Try A Different Audio Streaming Service
So many people these days listen to their music via audio streaming services. There are 6 main options – Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and Tencent Music (based in China).
If you use your headphones mainly to listen to music from one of these services, it’s worth trying them each out to see the sound quality and volume. They all offer some form of a free trial.
Believe it or not, a lot of people notice a difference in quality and volume between each service. This can also be dependent on the features you have switched on and off, like EQ.
Personally, I find Spotify to be the loudest and have the best overall quality, but I’ve had people swear by Apple Music or YouTube Music.
4) Invest In A Headphone Amplifier
A headphone amp raises the audio signal from a source device – such as a smartphone or PC – to an amplified level. The result? A higher volume level can be achieved as well as a clearer and deeper soundstage.
If you have a high-performing set of headphones, a dedicated headphone amp is recommended and will provide better performance than what is already built into a smartphone or computer.
An amplifier is really only suitable for high-impedance headphones since a higher electrical signal is needed.
For the most part, smaller and less power-hungry headphones like earbuds won’t need an amplifier. But something larger like a studio on-ear or over-ear headphone will benefit.
Be sure to check the impedance of your headphones on the manufacturer’s spec sheet. As a general guide, an amplifier will be beneficial on any headphones with an impedance higher than 50 ohms.
5) Give Them A Good Clean
Performing an occasional clean of your headphones is mandatory if you want them performing and looking their best.
We’ve written a guide about this here. Whilst this covers specifically over-ear and on-ear headphones, you can also apply similar steps to smaller earbuds and in-ear headphones.
Many headphones are constructed in such a way that debris can easily get lodged close to the speaker components. Such a lodging can disrupt the sound quality and volume limit. And what perhaps makes up most of this dirt? Well, your ear wax!
As you use your headphones, your ear canal heats up which in effect heats up ear wax. This can ooze out of your ear (especially after long sessions of usage) and become trapped in your headphones. See the mesh component of your headphones? That’s a perfect place to capture wax, oil, and other dirt.
If you’re wearing headphones right now, I’d recommend taking them off and having a close look at them. Can you see dirt on them? If you do, I’d recommend it’s time for a clean.
Cloths, paper towels, cotton swabs, toothpicks, and toothbrushes are all handy tools that can thoroughly clean your headphones.
I’d recommend first dislodging any gunk with something like a cotton swab or toothpick (be careful). Once this is done, you can wet a cloth with some isopropyl alcohol. Make sure it is damp but not wet. Then you can wipe the entire headphones for a clean finish.
Here are some tips:
- For earbuds, you can take off the silicone tip and soak them in soap water for 5 minutes or so.
- You may also use soap water to clean the entire headphone. Be sure to ensure the cloth you use is damp but not wet. You don’t want any water dripping into your headphones.
- Make sure to remove the ear pads first if your headphones have them. You can also clean this component with some soapy water or alcohol.
- Sit your headphones somewhere to air dry. Make sure they are completely dry before using them again.
6) Buy New Headphones
Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply buy a new pair of headphones. While I’ve found it hard to let go of a beloved pair of headphones, (the Sony MDR-7506’s were particularly heartbreaking) I’d always soon appreciate the increase in sound (and quality) from a new pair.
You’re reading this article because you want to increase headphone volume. So then, what headphones should you be looking out for that can achieve this?
It’s no surprise that the loudest headphones are usually studio-grade headphones that are closed-back and over-ear. Based on my research and experience I can recommend the following:
- Sennheiser HD280Pro
- Audio-Technica ATH-50BT
- Sony noise-canceling WH1000XM3
- Beats Studio3
- Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
- Skullcandy Hesh 3
The truth is, this is just a small selection from possibly 100’s of models to choose from. These were models I consistently found by comparing top ten lists across a variety of websites and will change overtime.
There are however; specific features you can look out for that will help guarantee you get a loud pair of cans.
- Noise Isolation. Many headphones are physically built to block out surrounding sound. A closed-back headphone is ideal as it will passively block out sounds around you so you can better hear what you are listening to. It also means you won’t have to push the volume to the maximum limit, which is good for your hearing health.
- Noise Cancellation. This is somewhat similar noise isolation in that it prevents outside noise from disturbing your listening experience. The difference is that it uses active technology. Many noise-canceling headphones have a feature that sends out sound waves opposite to incoming sound waves, thereby canceling the noise altogether. A headphone with this feature is typically more expensive than one that is simply passive but will do a better job of blocking out external sounds.
- Connectivity. Wired headphones can generally produce a louder sound than their wireless counterparts. They can draw more power which will result in a more powerful sound signature.
- Driver size. For the most part, the larger the drivers, the louder (but still clear) the sound will be. Earphone drivers can be as small as 8 mm whilst headphones can go up to 50 mm. You’ll want something in the 40 mm – 50 mm range.
- dB Sensitivity. The higher this number, the louder the sound when driven by 1 watt of power, measured at 1 meter from the speaker. It’s a pretty technical measurement. Look for a headphone that is 100 or more decibels.
By keeping a lookout for these factors, you can narrow down your choices and make finding your next pair of headphones a less painful experience!
One of these methods is sure to work in increasing the volume of your headphones.
Be warned though. You need to be mindful that a higher volume can result in potential damage to your ears. There is something called the 60/60 rule which is meant to limit hearing damage. What this entails is that you turn your device’s volume to a maximum of 60% and listen for no more than 60 minutes a day.
If you do find yourself maximising your headphones volume and then finding ways to increase it even further, you may just want to check with a doctor to see if you have any hearing problems to begin with.
Take care and happy listening!