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How to improve sound quality and increase volume on Android

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Not all smartphones have the speaker quality or volume levels to make your stereo envious. These two issues—along with poor speaker placement—can get in the way of you enjoying the sound. Here are a few tips to help you improve sound quality and increase volume on Android.

Check your settings

You could optimize your Android audio experience through the settings. Not all Android UIs have this feature, however, so it won’t work for everyone. If your device has it, the procedure is easy, though. And once you’ve done it for the first time you will be able to quickly enhance your audio settings in the future.

For Samsung devices you need to plug in whichever audio device you want to use (if you’re using one) and do the following:

  • Enter Settings and tap Sounds and vibration.
  • From there hit Sound quality and effects. You should have a series of options to enhance your audio experience.

MIUI from Xiaomi has an enhancer for headphones. Just toggle it on and pick the type you’re using. You should have the choice between in-ear and normal headphones.

Xperia UI allows you use the ClearAudio setting and has an equalizer. You can get to it through the settings.

With HTC’s Sense UI you can toggle BoomSound but there’s really no reason to turn it off, as the audio is terrible without it on. You can’t optimize your audio settings from Oxygen, LG UI or Stock Android.

Download a new music app

You have the option of replacing the stock music app with one that includes more audio control. We recommend Poweramp or PlayerPro. Both are jam-packed with audio tweaks, presets, bass boost and more. Just make sure your music folders are checked in the app settings.

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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.

Several of our readers have also recommended PlayerPro as an alternate music app. The software offers advanced audio configuration options as well as many ways to customize the visual experience too. PlayerPro costs $3.99 but there’s also a free trial version available for the curious.

Download an EQ

The default audio controls on most phones are not exactly comprehensive. Some include a basic EQ but it often only works within the default music app and provides no control over audio not played through the music player.

It’s important to note that no app works miracles when the hardware is not working properly but with a couple of simple adjustments your sound quality can be improved significantly. So hit the Play Store and get yourself a decent EQ. We can recommend both Music Volume EQ and Bass Booster.

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. If your speaker is blocked then the sound quality will be low or non-existent.

Test out where your sound is coming from by playing some tunes and covering the various holes on your phone until you know exactly where the audio is coming from. There shouldn’t be too many places for a speaker to hide and, once you’ve found them, you can get started on finding the problem.

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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 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.

Check if your case is blocking a speaker

If your phone has a protective case or cover, it will affect the quality of the sound you get from the speakers. All those vibrations coming from inside your phone will be muffled by the additional layer of plastic or rubber that the manufacturer won’t have taken into account when designing its speaker system.

Not all case makers understand the subtleties of your device. Some cases block essential parts of the phone like the audio jack, microphone or speaker. Before you buy a case be sure that you check to see that it won’t block anything.

Use headphones

The simple fact is that most smartphone speakers 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 headphones can make to your smartphone audio. Not all headphones are created equal and there are different types for various situations. Make sure you look through and find the one that best suits you.

Use a smart speaker

Headphones are great on the go, but what about at home? Nowadays many prefer to put the phone down when they get to the house and use a voice assistant to manage their daily tasks and that includes entertainment such as music. Now accessing your favorite playlists is as simple as asking into the air.

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Not only do the original smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo also double as music speakers (at least, the larger ones), but audio specialists such as JBL and Sonos are offering their own smart speakers with Alexa or Google Assistant for audiophiles who want to go with their favorite brand.

Boost speaker volume

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. Check out our ultimate guide on how to root Android for more details. 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 end up producing, then there are still a few things you can do.

Get to 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 than 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.