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Headphone Volume


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Well, perhaps I am going deaf.

But it seems like every time I buy something that has a headphone socket, the actual maximum volume gets lower.

The top volume on this new HP PC is really low. Have the volume in the application (whichever) at max, the mixer shows that application is at max, and the overall volume also at max. It's all set to go as loud as it can.

And it's just not very loud. My new mobile is much the same, albeit that will go just slightly louder.

This is with a pair of those headphones that wrap round your ears (I can't use the in the ear ones as they don't stay in the ear, as soon as I move they just fall out again)

Is it that:

- These headphones won't go very loud and I need some fat Sennheiser type closed ones

- I'm going a bit deaf (though I don't struggle to hear people or the TV or anything else generally)

- These days no device will output more than a low volume even at max

I can't find a way to override the PC or the phone. Can you get some sort of active headphones which amplify the signal?

Is it just me :)

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Try adjusting the volume on the PC and in whatever ever application your using. I have a volume control on my headphones as well. This means that I can change the volume in Windows, In Windows Media Player and on the head phones.

Turn all of them right up and see if it makes a differnce.

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Different headphones have different sensitivities - that is different headphones will produce different volume levels given the same input.

If your device is too quiet you may require more sensitive headphones.

I find the headphone "buds" fall out all too easily - the type of 'phones that come with an ipod.

There are available "in ear" 'phones - wearing them is like sticking your little finger in your ear - these provide a seal to your ear, blocking out some of the surrounding noise so you don't need to blast the volume to hear the music anyway.

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Cheers - I had thought this might be down to some legislation, that said, perhaps my hearing isn't as good as it used to be. Perhaps that car stereo and amplifier I had in my youth did me no favours ;)

Curiously, although everything on the PC is set to the maximum volume the little sound level thing never goes higher than about 25% of the scale. Control panel shows output level as 100%, there doesn't seem to be an over-ride. It does have the correct driver.

I wondered about a registry hack but can't find anything about that.

The phone (Samsung Galaxy S) doesn't seem to have an over-ride either.

The volume is loud enough to mostly drown out, say, a TV in the background, but the headphones being the "open" type doesn't help either and the things don't sit in your ear all that securely so the bass is a bit light unless you actually sit with both hands pushing them into your ears to hold them there (suspect I have small ears!)

I think I'll go back to some closed back headphones and if that doesn't help much, look at an inline amplifier.

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BTW when I used to be a HiFi manager one of the things I learnt but havent been able to verify anywhere is that the typical sittiing room only needs 20watts RMS so when you see these boy racers with 1000W+ car stereos they are just storing up trouble for later life. Might be worth taking out shares in companies who providing hearing aids and hearing related medical equipment for a 20yr+ punt. ;)

Agrteed, but the sort of people who just want something LOUD are too ignorant to know the difference between music power and RMS. I doubt the 1000W+ systems are 1000W RMS.

Also, for proper impedance matching, the output impedance of the amp would have to be the same as that for the speakers, meaning that for every 1000W dissipated in the speakers, another 1000W would be dissipated in the amp itself. That would make a car interior pretty warm if it was 1000W RMS

The best quality speakers tend to be inefficient (tradeoff between quality and output level) so good speakers often need a bit more power to drive them for a given sound power level.

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I've always used a little headphone amp, because PC output always seems so darn weak.

The one I use was designed for people with hearing issues I believe :lol: But it does the job. Two stereo RCA inputs and two mini jack outputs with volume and tone.

Turned right up it's L O U D.

It's an oldie made by B Tech. Serial BT928. But there are loads of new amps on ebay.

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I've got a couple pairs of these (lost one pair got another then found the first pair). :rolleyes:




3 sizes of rubber to cater for those with massive lugholes and smalller.

They hook over the ear so you can go running with them without them coming out and not having to consantly fiddle with them

As they fit so snuggly into your ear you get decent bass from them and they are not to bright to fatigue your ears either.

I've tried all sorts in the past from £90+ sennheisers and everything else inbetween, plus as they fit so snuggly uinto your ear you dont hear so much of the background noise so if on a plane, just pop them on and shut out the noise on the plane which is cheaper than the expensive noise cancelling ones.

Phillips really are on to a winner with these imo!

Thanks - have bookmarked, I'll get a pair of those to try.

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I'm a sucker for headphones.

Favourite for sound quality are these bose ones(build quality is crap - replaced under warranty twice)


Also have these noise isolating Dre Beats tour by monster which are immense for dance music but a bit painful for long periods... (also been replaced under warranty as the wires into the jack came loose)


the main issue with in-ear audio is the fit - what sounds great to some people is terrible to others - I was considering some custom fit etymotic research earphones (you get an appoinment at a hearing aid centre to get your molds done for the buds) but can't quite justify spending another £100+ on earphones!

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The problem with these in ear headphones though is they dont stay in for long especially if you are jogging or running, why cant they make them a little more practical whilst maintaining the quality I dont know? Maybe the looks with ear hooks are too uncool but would an audiophile worry about that if they can enjoy the music whilst exercising?

The new bose in ears have an extra bit of rubber which fits in the part above your ear canal - supposed to keep them in better.


I haven't tried them for running but tend to use cheaper ones for excercise anyway as sweat can bugger them up

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Had an mp3 player a few years back which wasn't loud enough.

Was going to send it back when after a google search i found out that there was firmware available with a much louder sound.

Downloaded this and had no problems.

I imagine they do this to avoid litigation.

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Guest eight

I imagine they do this to avoid litigation.

I had the same with a Sandisk player that I bought because it works with the Napster-to-go service. Weirdly to get it to play louder I had to switch it from European home region to America, which made it about twice as loud. Yet I thought Americans were the litigious ones? So probably some EU nannying type thing going on.

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