Why Do My Headphones Sound So Quiet? How to Make Them Sound Louder

Why Do My Headphones Sound So Quiet? How to Make Them Sound Louder

After months of study, you finally purchased that costly pair of headphones you’d been eyeing. You double-checked reviews, read articles, and compared prices before deciding they were worth every penny.

You connect in the headphones to your phone and open Spotify the moment they come, expecting to be blown away.

However, they sound lacklustre and feeble, practically muted, to your dismay. But why is that? Wasn’t it supposed to sound incredible?

This occurs as a result of an usually neglected characteristic known as impedance. Let’s take a look at what it is, why it matters, and how you may improve the volume of your headphones.

What Is Impedance in Headphones?

Impedance, often known as resistance, is a force that prevents electricity from flowing through the circuitry of headphones.

If the headphones’ impedance is high, more power is required to deliver the music.
High-end headphones, on the whole, have a higher impedance and sound better.

However, impedance isn’t the only factor that determines performance.

There are various aspects at play, including the type of drivers used, the sound characteristic of the headphones, sensitivity, and so on.

Why Does Impedance Matter?

When purchasing headphones, impedance is rarely addressed, especially if you are not an audiophile. However, it is one of the most important aspects in determining the sound quality you hear.
The impedance of most consumer-grade headphones is between 20 and 50 ohms.

This is advantageous since you may use your headphones with your smartphone, laptop, iPod, or pretty much any other audio source without any additional equipment.

When it comes to high-end headphones, though, things get a little strange because most of them have impedance ratings of 100-600 ohms or even higher.

This implies that your headphones will need to be connected to special equipment that can offer more power than your smartphone or laptop can.

The greater the impedance rating, the more power is required for your headphones to function effectively.

How to Fix Quiet Headphones?

Make sure the audio system you’re using can create enough voltage to fix your dull-sounding or silent headphones.

Your headphones will sound low and you may not be able to hear anything if you do not have a compatible audio system.

Running low-impedance headphones through a high-powered source, on the other hand, will heat the drivers and cause an unpleasant screeching noise.

It’s possible that you’ll permanently damage the driver units in your headphones.

You can use an external amplifier (or AMP) to increase the volume of your headphones by boosting the audio signals.

An amp is a device that boosts your current power output to a level that can power your headphones.

If you’re an audiophile who prefers lossless music, you can improve your listening experience by using an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter).

An external DAC eliminates white noise when playing high-bitrate audio files. You can even acquire a DAC-AMP combo for less than the cost of both items separately

Why Do Expensive Headphones Sound Quiet?

It’s that word impedance all over again.

The thickness of the copper coil in the headphone’s drivers determines the impedance. The higher the impedance, the thinner the coil.

Drivers in high-end headphones have tiny coils, making them lightweight.

A lighter copper coil allows for faster movement in response to audio signals, resulting in considerably cleaner, transparent, and accurate audio.

They also have a more spacious sound stage and less distorted audio.

This is why audio experts typically use them in conjunction with more advanced equipment.

Furthermore, the high power demand of high-impedance headphones protects them from potential overload damage.

Fix Your Headphones With an External Amplifier

Even though high-impedance headphones necessitate additional equipment,

The sound quality they provide compensates.

If you’re a purist who prefers natural-sounding music, a pair of high-impedance headphones plus an amplifier will make your listening experience even better.

So don’t be concerned if you’ve just purchased a new pair of costly headphones that don’t sound as loud as your previous ones.

It’s possible that all you need to do is give your headphones additional power, and you’ll be able to hear them at their finest.

Vaishabh Jalmi
I am a technologist, an electronics engineer, and a writer with a keen interest in the latest developments in technology, design, and engineering. I have an engineering degree in electronics from one of the top universities in India. My experience spans different domains of information technology including hardware, software, embedded systems, and networking. I have built my career on this passion for innovation by working at companies like Intel Corporation, General Electric Company (GE), Cisco Systems, Inc., PTC India Private Limited, Teamwork Software Ltd., etc. As a tech writer, I have written for some reputed publications like MakeUseOf and TheNextWeb. This has helped me hone my writing skills while also making it easier to understand complex topics related to technology.