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How to boost sound quality on Android

Key Takeaways

  • Keep your headphones and speakers clean for better sound quality.
  • Use an equalizer to adjust bass, highs, and presets in your apps.
  • Access developer options to fine-tune settings like codecs and volume.

Maybe you’ve noticed the audio quality on your Android device hasn’t quite been up to par lately, or you think there are some areas for improvement. Most of the time, sound shouldn’t really be an issue, so this is definitely something worth troubleshooting.

If you’re finding your audio sounds muffled or quiet, there are a few ways you can go about fixing it, ranging from physically cleaning things, to going into developer options. By the end of this, you should have some marked improvements in the sound quality coming from your Android device.

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1 Clean your headphones or speakers

Having dust in the way can dampen your sound

Cleaning the AirPods Pro

If your audio doesn’t quite sound right to you, your first step should be to make sure your phone speaker, headphones, or external speakers aren’t being blocked by dust or dirt. A lot of the time, just a bit of cleaning will solve all of your problems.

You can carefully clean your earbuds using a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol, and you can clean out your phone speakers the same way. To clean the dust off your speakers, use a microfiber cloth.

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2 Use an equalizer

Either in your streaming apps or a headphones app

The Sony WH-1000XM4 next to a phone with the Sony Headphones app open, showing the equalizer.

If you feel like the bass isn’t loud enough, or the highs are too high, you can adjust your equalizer settings, either on your music streaming service apps, and sometimes even your Bluetooth device, if it has an app with an equalizer.

To change your sound settings on Spotify, go to Settings > Playback > Equalizer, and you can choose from various presets, or adjust different frequencies manually. If you’re using Amazon Music, go into Now Playing, press the three dot icon for settings, and choose the equalizer, where you can choose from presets. Unfortunately for Tidal users, there is no equalizer option.

If you’re using a pair of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds that come with an app, there’s a possibility the app has an equalizer setting. You can search around the app for it, or check your user manual for more specific information.

3 Get technical in developer options

In developer options, the options are endless

android-developer-settings-3

Developer options is a great tool within Android devices that allows you to make a lot more advanced settings changes on your phone. Getting there takes a few steps, but it’s nothing too difficult. To enable developer options, you’ll have to go to Settings > About phone, then tap repeatedly on your Build number until developer options have been enabled.

In developer options, you’ll see a few useful settings. One useful one for sound quality is what Bluetooth audio codec your phone is currently using with your Bluetooth devices. Codec support will vary depending on your phone model, OS version, and the connected audio device. Different phones will also support different codecs a little differently.

If you have a Google Pixel of any kind, you might benefit from switching to AAC instead of SBC. And if you’re using a pair of Sony headphones, definitely see if you’re using LDAC, because that will have the best bitrate of the codecs available. Play around with your codec settings to see which sounds best to you on your device.

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Another great tool in developer options is to toggle HD audio in developer options to make sure you’re getting high quality audio. You can also adjust Bluetooth audio sample rate, bit depth, or channel mode and see what works best for you.

Lastly, if you feel like the volume is too low, you can also disable absolute volume in developer options. This makes it so that your device doesn’t automatically turn the volume down, so do be careful with it when it’s disabled, you don’t blow out your hearing.

4 Try out auto EQ and volume features

Auto EQ is a great feature that comes with more and more earbuds

A hand holding a Pixel showing the Sound and vibration menu in settings.

Depending on the model and OS version, your Android device could have an auto EQ feature and volume adjustment feature. As an example, with a supported Pixel phone and Pixel buds, you’ll find Adaptive Sound under “Sound and vibration” in your phone settings, or under Connected Devices > Pixel Buds settings, or in the Pixel Buds App.

These features will use your microphones to assess the acoustics around you and the noise levels in your environment. It will use this information to automatically adjust the sound equalizer settings and volume accordingly. Different types of earbuds may also have similar features, so read your user manual to see if that’s a possibility.

5 Listen to better audio files

Give a FLAC a try over an MP3

Wired headphones on a desk next to a Focusrite audio interface.

If you’re listening to only low bitrate MP3s, you’re likely missing out on a lot of audio quality. If you’re listening to music with wired headphones or speakers, you can take full advantage of lossless audio files like FLACs. These kinds of files have greater dynamic range, meaning you can hear a greater difference between quieter and louder sounds, as well as a lower noise floor, so you will get more of the track and less of the noise that you would normally get from lossy compression.

You can listen to lossless audio using streaming services like Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, Deezer, and Qobuz, or by buying CD-quality audio either in physical form or online on services like Bandcamp.

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