Increase Sound on Mac

In this blog, we will discuss the ways we can increase the sound on mac. We will try to cover all the relevant issues and how to address and troubleshoot them step by step so let’s get started.

It’s no secret that the MacBook’s sound system isn’t the best among laptops. When I’m in a noisy area, the volume of some YouTube videos is often so low that I have to put the MacBook on my chest to hear. Here’s what I discovered after researching several techniques to boost the sound on a MacBook.

How to Increase Sound on Mac?

There are a variety of ways to increase the volume on your Mac, from DIY equalisers to paid applications like Boom 3D and its competitors. When streaming YouTube or Netflix in Chrome, other browser plug-ins increase sound. Those tools, on the other hand, have the potential to harm MacBook speakers.

Is this an Operating System Problem?

According to some forums, the low sound level on Macs is due to Apple intentionally limiting the maximum volume to protect the speakers. I used a MacBook with both macOS and Windows (Bootcamp) installed to test this hypothesis.

The sound output was measured with a NIOSH Sound Level Meter. I also used the same YouTube video and the same browser (version) with all sound controls turned up to eleven. While I recognise that this isn’t the ideal setting, it’s the best I could do.

During the test, I discovered that macOS was 10.3 decibels louder than Windows. Another urban legend debunked!

MAC OS Settings

Before attempting to employ non-traditional ways, double-check that your MacBook’s settings are correct. If they aren’t, merely adjusting them properly might be enough at this stage.

Click on the Sound panel in System Preferences (link). Click the Sound tab in the dialogue box.

Preferences for Sound System

To begin, make sure the Balance is in the middle. Right speakers will be muted if you move the Balance to the left.

Make sure the Mute box is unchecked next. If it’s unchecked, there won’t be any sound at all.

You may control the volume level from the menu bar if you check the item “Show volume in the menu bar.” Using the F11/F12 keys on the keyboard or the volume control on the Touch Bar has the same effect as moving the volume slider in this dialogue or from the menu bar.

TIP

When using the F11/F12 keys, the volume level fluctuates in large increments, making it difficult to achieve the exact sound level you require. Hold the Shift and Option (Alt) keys while pressing F11 and F12. You’ll be able to adjust the volume in quarter-step increments to reach the exact volume level you want.

Mac Book Volume Suddenly Low

The sound volume drops suddenly from time to time.

While there are a variety of reasons for this, the following are the two most popular solutions when the volume on your MacBook suddenly drops:

Force Close all programs or restart the computer

Some apps seize control of the speakers and fail to release them appropriately. Safari is notorious for this. Team Viewer is another application that has this issue.

You can either force the session to end or uncheck the “Computer sound” option when watching TV. Another option to close all applications is to restart the computer.

Reset the NVRAM/PRAM as well as the SMC

Many settings, including some information about speakers, are stored in NVRAM and PRAM. On Mac Books, if those settings become corrupted, they may prevent you from changing the volume.

How to Increase Volume In iTunes

If you use iTunes to listen to music, podcasts, or watch movies, there is an option to increase the volume.

Begin by opening iTunes. Then either uses the Command + Option (Alt) +E key sequence or go to the Equalizer item from the Window menu.

This will open the Equalizer window, where you may choose a preset (the default is Flat) or manually boost all frequencies. I chose the latter option and compared volume before and after using the same music file.

According to my app, increasing Preamp to the maximum increased the volume by about 4dB. The volume was noticeably higher, and it was occasionally painful to my ears.

The sound became distorted when I maxed out all frequency bands, yet the volume increased by an additional DB. (5dB total).

Note: 

Because I am not a sound expert, I relied on a sound test I found on the internet that had already been recorded at a high level. It’s possible that if I had the sound file at a lower volume, the results would be even better.

However, the goal of the exercise is to identify ways to enhance the sound on the Mac beyond its maximum level, not to correctly measure it.

Other Media Players

If you want to watch downloaded movies or DVDs, I recommend VLC media player, which is a very popular tool. You can get a DMG file (installation package).

VLC is louder than iTunes right away (in my tests) by roughly 2.5dB when the player’s volume is set to maximum.

Then, under the Audio tab in VLC Preferences, there is a setting called “Always reset audio start level too,” which is set to 100 percent by default. I increased it to 200 percent and checked the sound once again. The boost over the base iTunes level was 5.5dB this time.

In VLC, you may get a 200 percent audio enhancement.

Then I came across VLC Equalizer.

To access it, go to the Window menu and select Audio Effects, or just press Shift+Command+E. I turned on Preamp and increased the volume to the maximum. This time, the level was 6.5 decibels higher than the baseline iTunes measurement. To avoid harming my ears, I had to test with headphones.

Raising Volume of YouTube and Netflix

While we discovered a technique to increase the volume of music and movies played by iTunes and other media players, we were unable to do so for YouTube clips or Netflix movies, which require internet browsers to view.

Fortunately, there is nearly always a plug-in for everything you need to do on Chrome. “Ears: Bass Boost, EQ Any Audio!” is one of the greatest Chrome extensions for this purpose.

After you’ve installed it in Chrome, go to the extension bar and click the new icon. The configuration menu is also available in a full-screen mode.

Chrome Extension for Ears

The extension’s basic version is free, but you may upgrade to the Pro version for $0.99 per month if you need it.

I examined the sound volume of a YouTube clip before and after using the Ears plug-in to raise the volume.

And, yes, the plug-in has performed admirably. The free version provided an increase of roughly 5.3dB.

So, if you want to turn up the volume on anything you’re watching or listening to on Chrome, the Ears extension is exactly what you need.

So far, we’ve looked at ways to improve the sound in certain Mac applications such as iTunes, VLC, and browsers. But I don’t want to have many ways to achieve the same thing; instead, I’d like to have a single way to increase audio throughout the entire system.

Is that even possible? Yes, it is correct. Let’s look at some commercial tools first, and then see if there are any free alternatives.

Commercial Apps to Boost Audio System-Wide

Rogue Amoeba audio snooping

Audio Hijack has been on the market for a long time. It includes a lot of features, such as capturing audio from any app and device on your Mac, recording podcasts, and so on.

I’m only interested in the volume pumping capabilities of the software. The app is somewhat pricey ($59 for a single licence), but they let me download a trial edition to test it out.

After you’ve downloaded the file, go to the new session and select Increase volume from the Templates menu. I experimented with the 2x and 4x override options. I utilised the iTunes clip once more, but this time I disabled the equaliser.

The sound volume increased by 3.6dB at 2x boost (nearly the same as iTunes with Preamp), and by 5.6dB at 4x boost (a little less than VLC media player maximum).

Boom 3D

Boom 3D by Global Delight is another premium app. They used to have a popular app called Boom 2, but it was discontinued.

The new app is $39.99, which is cheaper than Audio Hijack. I’m not sure how often they run specials, but they were offering their app for $19.99 ($20 off) at the time of writing.

Audio Hijack Boom 3D, like Audio Hijack Boom, is available as a 30-day trial edition. However, unlike Rogue Amoeba’s programme, Boom 3D requires installation.

Boom replaces the built-in output with its driver, so you’ll have to restart your Mac after installation (which is a pain).

Another amazing feature of Boom is that it allows you to control audio at the application level. It’s especially useful when you want iTunes playing in the background but require incoming Slack messages to be audible so they don’t get missed.

To uninstall Boom, go to the hamburger symbol in the top right corner, select About, and then click the “Uninstall Boom 3D” button at the bottom of the About screen.

Alternatives of Boom 3D

As an alternative to Boom 3D, some users suggested EqMaq2.

Boom’s installation process is even more demanding. It took a driver update first, followed by permissions to change the system. Fortunately, this time there was no need to restart.

I initially assumed it also increased the volume, however it simply serves as an equaliser. So, if you require a system-wide equalisation (for example, when using Spotify), EqMaq2 might be the right solution for you.

EqMaq2 has the advantage of being free because it is open-source software. Donations are appreciated, as even open source developers require funds.

Another feature I enjoyed about EqMaq2 was how simple it was to uninstall it by going to the main screen and hitting the Uninstall button.

Free Booster 

I opted to try a DIY solution because EqMaq2 didn’t provide what I required and I didn’t want to pay for commercial software.

The procedure is as follows:

  • Soundflower should be installed.
  • Put AU Lab on your computer. AU Lab was a utility included with macOS, however, it was deleted with Mojave. It is now available for download on iTunes.
  • Start it by unzipping the file.
  • AU Lab will request Microphone access, which you must grant in Preferences -> Security and Privacy panel, Microphone section.
  • Change the Output from Built-in to Soundflower 2ch in the Sound panel’s Preferences section.
  • Set Audio Input Device to Soundflower in the AU Lab’s Stereo In/Stereo Out factory configuration (2ch).
  • Set Audio Output Device to Built-in Output under Output Settings.
  • Select the button to create a document.

Boost your volume on your own. The findings were, to put it mildly, disappointing. The sound quality through AU Lab was 9dB better than iTunes baseline!

A Word of Warning

Because some of the boosters are successful, I must caution readers about two things:

During my study, I came across several consumers who claimed that Boom and other programs had damaged their MacBook speakers. They were attempting to use the MacBook as DJ equipment, I believe.

Instead of using volume booster applications, I recommend buying nice external speakers if you need really loud music. The latter is useful for increasing the volume of audio files that were recorded at a low volume.

Any sound louder than 85 decibels might cause hearing loss. If you spend more than 8 hours in a setting with noise levels over 85 decibels, your hearing may be permanently damaged. After 15 minutes, a decibel level of 100dBA might cause irreversible harm!

Conclusion

If you need to increase the volume on iTunes, you can do so from within the app. You’ll get a boost that’s comparable to the majority of commercial apps.

Install the Ears Chrome extension and view YouTube or Netflix videos in the Chrome browser to increase the audio quality.

Boom 3D is the way to go if you require a system-wide volume booster. It’s less expensive than Audio Hijack and gives the strongest boost of any of the options we’ve discussed so far.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to increase the sound on mac?

Using the Keyboard Make sure your MacBook Pro’s speakers are turned on by pressing the “F10” key on the keyboard.

To increase the volume on your MacBook Pro by one level, press the “F12” key once.

Hold down the “F12” key until your MacBook Pro’s volume is increased to maximum.

Why is my mac volume so low?

Why is the volume on my Mac so low? If your Mac’s speaker volume isn’t working, it’s most likely due to a software issue. Maybe there’s a dispute between your speaker settings and an app, or maybe there’s something else. Shut down your Mac and press Option-Command-P-R when it starts up to reset the NVRAM/PRAM.

Why is my MacBook air volume so low all of a sudden?

Improper volume settings, poor hardware connections, applications overriding your settings, older OS versions, or the sound driver may need to be restarted are the most typical causes of your MacBook speakers being so quiet.

How do I add internal speakers to my Mac?

Select System Preferences from the Apple menu. Make a sound selection. Select Internal Speakers from the Output tab. Contact Apple Support if you don’t see Internal Speakers as an option in the Output box.

Does an iMac have built-in speakers?

Built-in stereo speakers and microphones for FaceTime, Siri, and videoconferencing are included in both models. A microphone array on the 27-inch iMac produces studio-quality recordings for podcasts, voice memos, live music, and more.

How do I change the audio Output on my iMac?

On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Sound > Output by clicking the Apple logo in the top toolbar. From the list of audio devices, choose the audio device you want to utilize. All audio options, including your device’s internal speakers, should be available.

Sources

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/boost-your-macs-volume-with-boom/
https://www.wikihow.com/Change-the-Volume-on-a-Mac
https://froyosoft.com/soundbooster.php
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/boost-macbook-pro-audio-volume-mac-os-x-41765.html
https://superuser.com/questions/505061/increase-master-volume-beyond-maximum-in-os-x
https://mac-how-to.gadgethacks.com/how-to/increase-sound-quality-your-macs-speakers-0158896/
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/793/do-you-know-a-simple-sound-booster-app-for-mac
https://www.globaldelight.com/boom2/
https://gigaom.com/2008/11/03/quick-tip-increase-decrease-your-macs-volume-with-more-precision/

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?