Unlike Drake, who often says he can’t hear people over his laughter (or money), you probably have a separate issue. Few things are more frustrating than headphones that put out weak-sounding audio at low volume.
If you’re not getting (reasonably) loud and clear audio from your headphones, it could be the case that they’re simply not capable of sounding good, especially if they were cheap. Don’t despair, though—there are at least five things you can try to make cheap headphones sound better, and to make good headphones sound a lot better.
Before you go out and buy a new pair of gaming headphones, try these simple tricks first.
Method 1: Clean the Headphones
If you are using earbuds worn inside your ears, your first step should be cleaning them. Sometimes, cleaning your headphones is enough to restore the volume and sound quality.
The cleaning process for headphones is very easy and should be done on a regular basis. Before you start cleaning them, you should read the manual and check if the manufacturer provided some advice. In most cases, you don’t need anything other than a cloth, paper towels, Q-tips, a toothbrush, water, and hydrogen peroxide.
First, remove the rubber ear tips from your earbuds. Soak the tips in water with some detergent in a 100:1 ratio. Clean them with Q-tips or paper towel and make sure to remove all ear wax. After cleaning, wipe them with a cloth and hydrogen peroxide and dry them out.
Clean the screen mesh on your earbuds with the dry toothbrush. Slowly and patiently go over the earbud with the toothbrush until you remove all wax from it, then use the cloth with hydrogen peroxide to wipe the mesh. Make sure that the cloth is not wet, only damp. Afterward, pat the earbuds dry with paper towels.
Once everything is cleaned and dry, reassemble the earbuds and try them on. If you haven’t cleaned them recently, you will definitely notice a difference.
Method 2: Increase Volume in Windows Control Panel
If your PC and headphones are both working properly, but the volume still isn’t as loud as it should be, you can check the sound settings in the control panel.
Click on the ‘Start’ button and open the control panel. Inside the control panel, find ‘Audio and Sound Devices,’ then click the ‘Volume’ tab and move the sliders to increase the volume. Click on ‘Advanced’ and adjust the sliders there as well. Make sure that the ‘Mute’ boxes are not checked.
Next, choose the ‘Audio’ tab and find your headphones in the ‘Sound Playback’ drop-down menu. Click on ‘Volume’ and drag the sliders to increase the volume for the output device. Once again, make sure that ‘Mute’ boxes are not checked. Choose the ‘Voice’ tab and again find your headphones within the ‘Voice Playback’ drop-down menu.
Increase the volume with the sliders. When you’ve completed these steps, click the ‘OK’ button to save changes and close the window.
Method 3: Remove the Volume Limit
You have probably noticed that a warning pops up on your device when you increase the volume to the maximum value. That warning is telling you that loud sounds could damage your hearing.
According to US laws, some headphones have their volume capped at 120 dB while European laws limit the volume to 85 dB. You can increase the volume of your device by removing the volume (the law applies to manufacturers, not to consumers—it’s not illegal to do this, but it’s potentially unsafe, so we don’t generally recommend it). Note that if you are able to turn the volume up past the limit, it’s already disabled.
Method 4: Use a Volume Boost App
If nothing has worked so far, you could try a volume-boosting app. There are different apps for different operating systems covering a whole range of devices.
If you are using an Android device, try these apps: Volume Booster Pro, Volume Booster Sound Equalizer by MixlT Studio, and Dub Music Player.
iPhone users should try Equalizer Pro Volume Booster or SonicMax Pro Music Volume Booster. On Windows desktop computers, try Equalizer Pro, DFX Sound Enhancer, or Breakaway Audio Enhancer.
Method 5: Use an Amp or a Mix-Amp
An amplifier can really boost your headphones with extra power. This is especially the case if you are using good quality headphones with a lower-quality playback device.
External headphone amplifiers will not only increase the volume, but will also greatly enhance the quality and depth of sound. They usually cost less than $100, which makes them an affordable and practical investment if you really value high-quality sound. However, you need to check your headphones first to decide if the amplifier would be worth it.
If you are using larger and more powerful headphones, and your playback device is hindering you, then you will likely benefit from an amplifier. If you are using less powerful headphones or earbuds, you will probably not get a good result from an amp.
We hope that one of these methods worked for you and that you’re now able to enjoy great sound again. If none of them worked, it may be time for the old headphones to retire and to treat yourself with new ones. I recommend getting the best 7.1 gaming headset out there for the ultimate sound experience.
There are many different types and models of headphones with additional features, such as Bluetooth connection, noise-canceling, base sound, and more. Here are some comparisons to look at:
Research what combination works best for you and find the model that will meet your needs.