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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.