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How to improve sound quality and increase volume on Android

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 4 months ago

Not all smartphones are blessed with speaker quality or volume levels to make your stereo envious. These two issues – along with poor speaker placement – are the biggest factors getting in the way of you enjoying the sound coming from your smartphone. Here are a few tips to help you improve sound quality and increase volume on Android.

1. Know your speaker placement

It may seem silly, but the first thing you need to know is where the sound is coming from on your smartphone. Lots of phones have twin speaker grills, but often only one of them produces any sound. Other phones, such as the newer Xperias, have such microscopic speaker grills you may not have even noticed them. So play some tunes and cover the various holes on your phone until you know exactly where the audio is coming from.

Androidpit Xperia Z5 Premium 11
See that tiny groove to the right of the Sony logo? That's one of the speakers grills on the Z5 Premium. / © ANDROIDPIT

Once you know whether your speakers are front-facing, bottom-mounted or on the back, you can make more intelligent decisions about how to position your smartphone to give the speakers the best chance to shine.

Don't block the speakers when holding your phone (a common mistake when gaming with bottom-mounted speakers) and point the speakers towards you, not away from you.

2. Take off your case

If your phone has a protective case or cover, that will affect the quality of the sound you get from the speakers. All those vibrations going inside your phone will be muffled by the additional layer of plastic or rubber. which the manufacturer won't have taken into account in its audio design.

htc one m9 front speaker
Not all phones have speakers this good, so don't muffle them with a case. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Get an EQ

The default audio controls on most phones, with the exception of Sony phones and the OnePlus 2, are not exactly comprehensive. Some include a basic EQ but it often only works within the default music app and provides no control over any audio not produced within the music player.

So hit the Play Store and get yourself a decent EQ. We can recommend both Music Volume EQ and Bass Booster.

Music Volume EQ Install on Google Play Bass Booster Install on Google Play

4. Get a better music app

You also have the option of replacing the stock music app with one that includes more audio control. We recommend Poweramp or Equalizer+. Both are jam-packed with audio tweaks, presets, bass boost, and more.

Equalizer+ provides a five-band EQ, while Poweramp offers a 10-band EQ for serious tuning. You'll have to pay a couple of bucks to access all the best features but once you do, you'll never look back.

Poweramp
Sometimes all you need is a better music player app. / © ANDROIDPIT
Poweramp Music Player (Trial) Install on Google Play Equalizer music player booster Install on Google Play

5. Root your phone

If you have a rooted phone, then the world opens up even more. Providing root access to a flashable zip such as Viper4AndroidFX or Dolby Atmos means those apps can manage the audio quality and volume output on your device a lot better than any non-root app.

A rooted phone gives you much more control over audio – search the site for guides on how to root various Android phones. 

6. Use headphones

The simple fact is that most speakers on most smartphones (with the exception of HTC's) are simply not good enough to get decent sound quality out of, even with a fancy music app or EQ. This is where a decent pair of headphones can help (some audio settings in your phone won't even work without headphones plugged in).

Check out our list of the best headphones and see how much of a difference a serious set of 'phones can make to your smartphone audio.

IMGL3001
Buy some good headphones or even just use the ones that came with your phone. / © ANDROIDPIT

7. Boost speaker volume

Again, if you are rooted there are plenty of app options out there that can bypass the max volume of the Android system with a few simple tweaks (see our how to boost Nexus 5 volume tutorial for an example). If you don't want to root your phone or simply aren't convinced by the distortions that most volume-booster apps in the Play Store promise, then there's still a few things you can do.

First, know a little about sound waves. If you position your phone in a corner and fire the speaker output towards it, you'll get a louder, bassier reverberation that if it was just shooting out into the room. The same logic applies to any object: put your phone in a box, against a bowl or in a glass (empty, of course) and you might be amazed to hear how much louder your speaker suddenly is.

How do you improve sound quality on your phone? Have you found any reliable volume booster apps? Let us know in the comments.

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

32 comments

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  • Dave 2 months ago Link to comment

    Volume Booster GOODEV

    Thats the app i use to increase overall volume control. However, you need to be very careful as boost the levels too much & you risk frying your audio! Anywhere from 5-20% boost is normally safe yet if you start to hear any distortion, reduce the boost amount immediately.

    For playback, i use:

    MX Player
    VLC player

    The problem i find with a lot of these EQ apps is that sure, you can boost a certain frequency, yet the overall volume level seems to drop once you go past a certain level.
    So on that note, I'm still on the hunt for a decent one. For the time being, I'm using the stock effects through android settings on my devices.

    AND for rooting your devices?

    If it's still under warranty, DON'T.. You'll invalidate it & can easily be left with a hunk of plastic, metal & glass which will be your new door stop!
    ONLY Root if you know what you're doing & accept the consequences if you end up bricking your device.

  • Audi R8 4 months ago Link to comment

    Great I was unaware that you could do so many great things with the Nexus 5x, and as I have one I will put these tips to use straight away!

  • Mark G. 4 months ago Link to comment

    I bought a simple bluetooth receiver and hooked it up to my stereo system or will use a portable bluetooth speaker when outside etc, I have a dedicated bluetooth shower speaker in the bathroom.
    Let's face it any modification to the smartphone speaker won't do anything good, the size of the speakers limits anything to little tweaks. Use a proper sound system, with Bluetooth or wireless connection it makes sense.

    • Dave 2 months ago Link to comment

      This is probably the smartest reply on here. Think people forget that tablets/phones just don't have the accoustics for reproducing the "wow" sounds. whilst you can get some pretty decent sounds out of some, as you said, use a proper sound system. Either bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi the sound around.

  • I have tried each and every possible way to give justice and life to my music library on Android but in vain. Yo need to buy a dedicated music player for those needs, i would highly suggest buying from apple ipod range. they are super cheap and worth every penny. Lastly i would say , Panasonic or Philips portable musics will also work fine, they look like a thumb drive and you can find one in stores as cheap as $15. I also own one for gym , it works like a charm and battery lasts really long

  • As a powerful video editor and converter, Avdshare Video Converter will easily increase the sound volume of Video or Audio with simple settings.

  • people-people have u picked ur ears yet? u must clear ur ear holes before complaining about sound of our phone! this really effects the quality of the soung heard from the phone....

  • These apps do not work, they lower the volume instead of boosting the volume, test your sound without theses apps and your sound is louder and better quality. You will have to use either Bluetooth wireless speakers or headphones to increase your volume and quality of sound on Android tablets period. No app works for increasing volume or quality.

    • You are spot on.I've tried all apps/all phones.never found an app to increase volume.lower it more like..what a con it all is .ie constant app updates to use data ....

  • As Dona Dino stated, Root ur phone and use Viper4Android, by far the best music improver. Made mine sound better than CD quality, and don't use anything less than 192kbps mp3s

  • I use music volume eq on my htc and it dramatically improves the quality of my sound. its amazing!

  • dona doni Mar 10, 2014 Link to comment

    For rooted smartphone, i suggest Viper4Android...it is one sick sound equaliser, with too many sound variables to be adjusted to suit your style. :)

  • im yet to find an equalizer that actually works with my Nexus 5 only things that do work are bass boost & virtualizer. any suggestions of any that actually work please ?

  • There are a lot of apps which you can install to better the technology and entertainment of your smartphone. All of them are claiming to be the best and it's up to you to choose what's the best.

  • Does anyone know if there is a small corded speaker that could be plugged in and placed on the front of a Note 2? It would have be about the size of a hearing aid. I do not know where to look any suggestions would be helpful. I have an Otter box and work in a very noisy environment. I bought the Note 2 for the big screen but hate the low volume.

  • I've seen a 'little' cellphone case, foam padded with a zipper, that also has two speakers, an amplifier and Lithium battery. It even had a headset jack right next
    to the USB charging port. HARDWARE is the solution.

  • For music I rather use poweramp, best eq ever and the ability to push 10 + or - depending on whether it's too loud (silent environments) or too quiet...

  • the speakers won't give you more than they give you and if you force them for more, first will distort the sound and after a while it will leave you in silence 'coz they broke, pfffft, you all should know that and even with earphones, if you don't know the ohms that the device has as output, you won't hear better, in here depends on what kind too, i usually use the inside ear earphones which makes you think that are louder for taking away the surrounding sounds...

  • For videos I use MX player, using the H/W+ or S/W codec you can push your volume up to 30 instead of the standard 15, it really does get louder, maybe not double though.
    It has an ooption for audio but Havent tried that, I only listen to audio with my headphone, I find that the quality of the headphones then make the most difference.

  • The best way is by tying *#*#364663349#*#* in the phone directory. Go to 'Hardware Testing' section, tap on 'Audio' and on 'Normal', 'Headset' and 'LoudSpeaker Mode', go to 'Max Vol' and set to 160(highest value).

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