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How to improve sound quality and boost volume on Android

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. You can try a speaker booster or volume booster app, but plenty can be improved with a little audio know-how.

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 a choice between in-ear and normal headphones.

Xperia UI allows you to 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.

AndroidPIT sony xperia x performance 1180

Get the most out of your Android audio experience. / © NextPit

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 as our top music apps for Android. Both are jam-packed with audio tweaks, presets, bass boost, and more. Just make sure your music folders are checked in the app settings.

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 Music Player (Trial)

Install on Google Play


Sometimes all you need is a better music player app. / © NextPit

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.

PlayerPro Music Player Trial

Install on Google Play

For more options on the best apps for your favorite jams on Android, check out our article for more music player apps:

Best music player apps on Android

Use a speaker booster/volume booster app

Music player apps like the above are great, but of course, it only works from within the app. So what if you want to boost speaker sound overall? This is a little controversial because the fact is that even though there are many apps on the Play Store that claim to do this, compatibility is iffy, and using an app to force your speakers past their default max can actually damage your phone’s hardware.

So while you may find the right volume booster app for your device and OS, it may take some digging, and while testing this, don’t crank it all the way up straight away!

Volume Booster

Install on Google Play

Download an Equalizer app

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.

Codec? Bitrate? What? Android audio terminology explained

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.

Music Volume EQ – Super Bass Booster & Equalizer

Install on Google Play

Bass Booster

Install on Google Play

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.

Razer 2 11

Multimedia-focused devices like the Razer Phone 2 have big, loudspeakers. / © NextPit

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.

htc speaker

Not all phones have speakers this good, so don’t muffle them with a case. / © NextPit

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).

To jack or not to jack: All about smartphone audio

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.

AndroidPIT Headphones eardrops 2

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

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.

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.

Check out our reviews to see which smart speaker may be best for you:

Polk Command Bar with Alexa

Sonos smart speakers

JBL Link 300 and 500

Sony speaker LF-S50G

Google Home Max

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


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