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Being a full-time Mac user, I first discovered how to amplify my speakers with a program called Audio Hijack, from Rogue Amoeba. This software lets both audio professionals and hobbyists perform all kinds of useful tricks, such as recording Skype calls for podcast interviews and capturing the audio from a webinar.
The sheer power and simplicity of the interface is impressive. Follow the steps below just once, and you’ll be ready to crank your speakers up to 4x their normal maximum volume* each time you open the program.
- Open Audio Hijack
- Click and drag the Applications block into the main window
- Select the Application you’d like to make louder from the drop-down menu
- Repeat step two with the “Volume” module (under “Built-in Effects”.) Your main window should now look like this:
- Click and drag the “Output” module into the main window.
- Set your output device to “Internal Speakers.”
- Click the button in the lower-left corner of the program to run your audio through Audio Hijack.
- Adjust the audio level to your hearts content using the Volume module. A good starting point is to select the “2X” button under “Overdrive” and move the volume slider up. If this isn’t enough, experiment with the “3X” and “4X” overdrive.
This is what your final settings should look like:
Audio Hijack is available on Rogue Amoeba’s website for $65. There’s also a free, limited version you can try to make sure it works for you.
Note that if you don’t need any of the other features that Audio Hijack provides, it’s worth checking out SoundSource instead. Developed by the same company, it provides all the same audio-boosting goodness as Audio Hijack at around half the price.
*The tech that makes this possible is interesting, but without getting into the nuts and bolts of it, this app won’t damage your speakers. However, I recommend against blasting your Slayer collection at 4X for an hour, just to play it safe. Stick with movies and YouTube.
6. Fix your audio drivers
Hardware problems can be caused by outdated or malfunctioning drivers. Make sure your audio driver is up to date and update it if needed. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling the audio driver (it will reinstall automatically). If that doesn’t work, try using the generic audio driver that comes with Windows. If you’re having audio issues after installing updates, try rolling back your audio driver. To update your audio driver automatically In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, such as headphones or speakers, select Update driver, then select Search automatically for updated driver software. Follow the instructions to complete the update. If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, look for one on the device manufacturer’s website and follow those instructions. If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling your audio driver. To uninstall your audio driver In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, select Uninstall device, select the Delete the driver software for this device check box, and then select Uninstall. Restart your PC. Note: Be sure to save documents and any other current work before you restart. This restart will automatically prompt your PC to reinstall your audio driver. To restart, select Start > Power > Restart . If those options didn’t work, try using the generic audio driver that comes with Windows. To use the generic audio driver that comes with Windows In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, then select Update driver > Browse my computer for driver software > Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Select the audio device whose driver you want to update, select Next, and then follow the instructions to install it. If these steps didn’t solve your audio issue, visit your device manufacturer’s website and install the most recent audio/sound drivers for your device. Following is an example of a driver download page for a sound device manufacturer. If you have audio issues after installing updates If your audio was working before you ran Windows Update and now isn’t working, try rolling back your audio driver. To roll back your audio driver In the search box on the taskbar, type device manager, then select it from the results. Select the arrow next to Sound, video and game controllers to expand it. Right-click the listing for your sound card or audio device, then select Properties. Select the Driver tab, then select Roll Back Driver. Read and follow the instructions and then select Yes if you want to roll back your audio driver. If rolling back your audio driver didn’t work or wasn’t an option, you can try to restore your PC from a system restore point. Restore your PC from a system restore point When Microsoft installs updates on your system, we create a system restore point in case problems arise. Try restoring from that point and see if that fixes your sound problems. For more info, see “Restore from a system restore point” in Recovery options in Windows 10.
10. Try different audio formats
In the search box on the taskbar, type control panel, and then select it from the results. Select Hardware and Sound from the Control Panel, and then select Sound. On the Playback tab, right-click (or press and hold) Default Device, and then select Properties. On the Advanced tab, under Default Format, change the setting, select OK,and then test your audio device. If that doesn’t work, try changing the setting again. If trying different audio formats doesn’t help, see the next sections for additional troubleshooting.
Change Speaker Properties
There are several settings related to your system’s speaker properties that can affect your computer’s sound quality. All of these settings are accessed from the Speakers Properties dialog box. To open this dialog box, follow these steps:
- Right-click the Speakers icon in the taskbar and select Open Sound settings.
- This opens the Settings window with System page and Sound tab displayed. Scroll down to the Related Settings section and click Sound Control Panel.
- This opens the Sound dialog box. Make sure the Playback tab is selected, then select the Realtek High Definition Audio device and click Properties. This opens the Speakers Properties dialog box.
Adjust the Sound Quality
It’s possible that during the upgrade Windows default sound quality was inadvertently changed. There are three primary quality options – CD quality, DVD quality, or Studio quality, possibly with various frequency options. You might think that the highest quality is always the best, but this isn’t the case.
If you’re using lower quality speakers (including those included in many laptops), setting the sound quality too high can cause popping in your audio. Conversely, if the sound quality is set too low and you have really good speakers connected, you may need to increase this setting. Given all the different options, you’ll probably need to experiment somewhat.
To reconfigure this setting, follow these steps:
- From within the Speakers Properties dialog box, select the Advanced
- Pull down the Default Format list and select a different setting. (Try going lower, first.)
- Click Apply and see if this changes anything. If not, repeat and try selecting a different setting.
Disable Spatial Sound
Windows 10 includes an option for spatial sound, which enhances the sound field when you’re listening through headphones. Enabling this option can, on occasion, cause normal audio to sound not quite right. Follow these steps:
- From within the Speakers Properties dialog box, select the Spatial Sound
- Pull down the Spatial sound format list and select Off.
- Click Apply.
Disable All Sound Effects
Realtek HD Audio offers a variety of sound enhancements that can be applied to your system’s sound. You want to make sure that all of these sound effects are disabled so you’re getting a clean audio signal. Follow these steps:
- From within the Speakers Properties dialog box, select the Enhancements
- Check the Disable all sound effects
- Click Apply.
You may have to restart your computer for these changes to take effect.
Switch to the Windows Generic Audio Driver
If all else fails and you still have audio problems, you can try switching to Windows’ generic audio driver. Here’s how:
- Right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager.
- Double-click to expand the Sound, video and game controllers section, then right-click the Realtek Audio driver and select Update Driver.
- When prompted, select Browse my computer for driver software.
- On the next screen, select Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
- On the next screen, select High Definition Audio Device and click Next.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
Plunging the headphone tightly into your ears is not the convenient answer when dealing with low sound. If you are a music lover, a die-hard movie fan, the competitive gamer on the block, or you are just into audio enhancing, the options are many, but only a few will get you exactly what you want. You can get the best volume booster to increase the volume of any audio file. Most of the options come with a free trial. It is time to get the party started.
Shanoon Cox Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video. Follow @Shanoon Cox