3 Ways To Make Your Headphones Louder

How to make your headphones louder

There is nothing worse than being limited on your headphone volume.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that loud music sounds better. Therefore, if you are wanting the most out of you headphones there are times when turning up the volume is necessary. 

**Disclaimer: some of the things I'm going to show you today can be permanently damaging to both your headphones and your ears. Be careful! There are volume limiters on your devices for a reason. Remove at your own risk. 

​Hopefully you are just experiencing an underpowered set of headphones that need a little extra juice instead of someone looking to drown out every external noise with deafening volume. 

The first thing you're going to want to check is the volume limit on your device (see the Volume Increasing App section below). This can be an incredibly easy fix that is completely free. There aren't any ways to increase the actual output of your headphones themselves. You're limited with beefing up the audio source or reducing the external noise. 

With that out of the way, there are three different ways you can pump up the volume:

  • Headphone amplifier
  • Volume increasing app
  • EarCandi

1. Use A Headphone Amplifier 

Let's start with the easiest of the three - headphone amplifiers. 

Headphones are essentially speakers and all speakers require an amplifier. Most audio devices come with an internal headphone amp already built in. This includes smartphones, tablets, and computers. The issue arises when you consider the space limitations of these devices.

Because they're so small, it's difficult to sufficiently power the built-in amp. This drastically reduces the power output potential ultimately resulting in your headphones  being underpowered. 

​A set of underpowered headphones will be limited when it comes to volume and sound quality. You will begin to hear the audio distort when using the headphone at high volumes. 

A standalone headphone amp will have enough space and enough power to satisfy your headphones. You can check out the most popular option below.

FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier (Black)
  • DAC Chip¡ªThe Internal DAC chip is a PCM102 and can handle PCM files up to 24-bit/96 kHz while improving audio quality via a linear filter, reduced delay and internal silence on changing tracks, and no phase shifts.
  • LOW NOISE FLOOR ¡ª The unit has an optimized low-pass filter and selectable bass boost circuit that are designed for a low noise floor in all states.
  • When should you buy a headphone amp?

Headphone amps won't always be the solution. As mentioned above, headphone amps are usually required when the power source is too small to meet the power requirements of the headphones.

This typically happens with over-ear headphones (usually above the $100 price range). This means those of you with in-ear headphones (earbuds) can safely assume your device is sending enough power to meet the requirements. 

The first thing to check will be the headphone impedance.  A set of headphones with high impedance (say 300 ohms) is going to require a lot more punch to move the drivers. This is typically found in planar magnetic headphones which are currently very popular. On the other hand, more efficient headphones (25 ohm range) won't get much out of a headphone amp. 

Anything beyond 32 ohms can benefit from a headphone amp. If you need a recommendation check out this one

In Summary

  • In-ear headphones (or earbuds) usually do not require headphone amps. 
  • Any over-ear headphones with impedance over 32 ohms will benefit from an amplifier. 

2. Use A Volume Increasing App 

The first thing to check here is your volume limitation on your device. All devices these days come preset with volume output limitations to prevent accidental ear damage. 

On an Apple device simply do the following: 

Go to settings -> music. ​

Volume limit

Scroll down to the bottom of the music section and select "Playback". 

Volume Limit


Select volume limit and increase the device audio. 


Here is the equivalent android version. 

Still not loud enough? This is where 3rd party apps come in. There are a few on the market that will boost the overall playback volume of your device to hopefully something more suitable. 

Installing these apps should give you the extra juice you need. However, please be mindful of safe volume levels. It's very easy to permanently damage your hearing. Here are the best apps currently available for both Apple and Android. 

You should also consider downloading separate music players or EQing apps on your phone. These sometimes output higher quality sound and give you a few more controls to tweak your audio.  

In Summary

  • First, check the volume limit on your device. 
  • Next, try a volume boosting app. 
  • Finally, if all else fails, try new music player, equalizers, or bass boosting apps. 

3. Reduce Background Noise 

Here is an additional unconventional option. If you are having a hard time hearing the audio out of your headphones it can sometimes be an isolation issue.

External noise can interfere with the audio output of your headphones and force you to turn up the volume on your device. Public transit and loud gyms are notoriously bad for this. It's not uncommon to find someone listening to their headphones loud enough for you to clearly hear the audio. 

A lot of over-ear headphones will have great sound isolation. Unfortunately, many in-ear models will come up short and force you to raise the volume to uncomfortable levels. 

Decibullz - Custom Molded Contour ES in-Ear Headphones, Easily and Quickly Shaped to Your Ears (Black)
  • EASY SHAPE SYSTEM: The New Decibullz Contour ES In-Ear Headphones are now part of Decibullz's easy-shape system. In less than five minutes, you can quickly shape your molds to your ears for a perfect, comfortable, secure fit. Not quite the perfect fit the first time? No problem. Decibullz are easily re-moldable. Shaping the Decibullz thermoplastic molds is easy! Simply heat the molds in hot water, snap them onto the earphones, and shape them to your ears.
  • SIMPLE FITTING PROCESS: Shaping the Decibullz thermoplastic molds is easy! Simply heat the molds in hot water, snap them onto the earphones, and shape them to your ears. When done, you will have a perfect fitting earphone made just for you!

If you tend to listen to your headphones in loud environments and your sound isolation in your headphones is poor it forces you to max out the volume on your device and potentially damage your ears.

There are numerous reasons for poor sound isolation, including incorrect fit, bad design, and the actual style of headphones themselves. Most in-ear headphones usually have decent sound isolation, but they still tend to leak noise. 

The conventional solution was to purchase expensive active noise-canceling headphones. However, these can be extremely pricey if you want any shred of quality. 

Conclusion 

Hopefully at least one of these methods helps you increase the volume of your headphones. There are no easy technical fixes for the actual headphones themselves. Please be careful whenever you increase the volume limit of your headphones. Anything above the safety threshold will have the potential to permanently damage your ears.

Any other ideas? Please leave them in the comments below to help out your fellow readers! ​

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. I love reviewing audio equipment and solving audio related problems.

5comments
Christopher - January 25, 2018

Hey Glen. Listen I LOVE music and I love it LOUD! I listen to Metal/rock. I have been shopping for the best possible over the war headphones. I want it very Loud but also crisp and clear with the punch in the bass. I have returned4 pairs headphones in the last 2 week’s. Skullcandy, 2 pairs, nose and even a pair of song npr 1a. I have upped my price range to $400. Now I am hearing about headphone amplifiers. So what is the best combo you can recommend for $400? I want wired Im guessing too cause audio quality is better I heard. Can you please help me?

Reply
    Glen - January 25, 2018

    Hi Christopher,

    Yep, I can help. Try out the V-Moda Crossfades. They’re under your budget and should have the punch you are looking for. I’d combine them with this headphone amp. If you really want to go all out on the bass you can take a look at this Japanese import. Just be careful with your ears!

    Reply
Eligos Salazar - February 5, 2018

Hey, none of these really work, as for I’m using an MP3 player, so the volume increasing app is instantaneously crossed off. And, since I’m a 13 year old, I don’t really have money…so the amp and ear candi are crossed off as well. And the major reason for ear candi being unusable is the fact that I am using over the ear headphones. If there are any other solutions, please let me know. I have siblings who are extremely loud, and the headphones I use are only the equivalent of 75% volume on an iPhone when my MP3 player is full blast… Anyway, I hope you have another solution.

Reply
    Glen - February 7, 2018

    Hi Eligos,

    You can try to increase the volume of each track manually by going into iTunes -> right click on the specific track -> song info -> options -> volume adjust. Really be careful though, it’s very easy to permanently damage your hearing for the rest of your life!

    Reply
Aphenie Sinegal - May 27, 2019

I have over the ear earbuds as well but I have a samsung note 5 and I dont know how to make the volume louder.

Reply
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