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Old 01-13-2012, 04:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
thedarkness's Avatar
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Default headphone volume on laptop whilst playing music is far too low?

I have noticed that the headphone volume on this laptop is low, especially the left side-even when the volume on the system and player are set at maximum.
Is it standard for the left to always be lower than the right through any headphones? My hearing is good, but I can barely hear anything when only listening to the left side, even when nothing else is playing in the background, such as a tv. The volume on the right is higher, but it would be good to be able to increase this slightly more, but it does not seem possible. I have found wmp to be the lowest in volume compared to other players, but theres not much of a difference. I am wondering if the low volume in general may be down to the limitations of the headphones, laptop, or both? Has anyone managed to listen to music through headphones on a windows laptop that could be considered able to reach a high volume level?
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Old 01-13-2012, 04:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Try another pair of headphones. If you get the same result, go into the Windows (I'm assuming this is your OS) audio mixer and ensure that the balance on your channels is in the center. If they're not, center them and you'll indeed have more volume and will no longer be lopsided, but whether that gets you as loud as you want to be is another question.
If, however, all your pans/balances are centered (including the mixer settings in your audio player, if applicable), and you've ruled out the headphones as being the culprit by duplicating the effect on another pair, then you may consider that there's something wrong with the headphone jack on your laptop or a component of the audio hardware.

Before assuming that, go ahead and update the drivers for your audio card for grins and giggles. If you're still in the same boat, it may be time to think about getting a small USB external sound card (24bit). With these, you'll probably also solve any volume limitations you may have had by using just the onboard sound from your laptop, fully operational or not.

External sound cards aren't all that expensive, and you're probably going to be upgrading from your current situation irregardless of what you buy as an external sound card (although I would suggest paying what you can afford). The onboard cards of laptops, particularly the consumer-line laptops, aren't exactly notorious for putting top quality hardware into their products.

Let me know if this helps.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The balance is set correctly on this laptop for both the system and the player, and the volumes are also maximum. The headphones I have tried so far are cheap, but I am certain I never had the same problem with these headphones on my old xp desktop, compared to the low volume I am receiving on vista and 7 (have tested both). It could be a problem with the operating systems or a driver problem (no audio updates available on this laptop). If no one has ever had a similar low volume problem with vista or 7 using headphones, then I think Ill have to just get hold of different brand. I never thought of trying out a usb soundcard before, thanks for that, could be a last resort. I tried a google search and some users do state that there is a "headphone" option in Realtek Audio Managers speaker configuaration on similar laptops, but my own only has 3 options of stereo, quadraphonic or 5.1. Its not a major issue as for music playing in general I have a reasonable set of seperate speakers I usually use instead of the laptops own, but it is annoying if I want to listen to music when no else wants to hear it, and am stuck with these headphones. This laptop is definately not of the highest quality (MSI), its age is definately starting to show with the plastic casing holding it together starting to come loose. Not a good sign! The only other thing ive tried was trying to find a utility-I found dfx audio enhancer, which had a few options to almost give the equivalent of a normalizing effect, but the "free" version was very limited and I think included some unwanted software, so not really recommended. thanks

update:- I dont think this will help distinguish the problem, but I tried audacity to convert a stereo track to mono, and L is still far lower in volume than R. The mono track is roughly the same volume than the stereo original overall. If new headphones doesnt solve the issue and my old headphones work on any other laptop perfectly, then itll no doubt be either a audio related driver or windows problem. If anyone is using headphones on a windows laptop, please add to this thread, stating what version of windows you are using and if the volume levels in L and R are similar or not. that would be of great help-thanks

Last edited by thedarkness; 01-13-2012 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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either a lose wire on your 3.5mm connector or within the laptop itself, if software wont fix the issue its hardware
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