How to Boost Your Laptop Audio

March 9, 2009 by
Filed under: Multimedia 

If you buy a laptop, the sound characteristics are not often part of the criteria. In most cases you would use a headset with the laptop, so the speaker quality is not all that important. But if you do need to use them, you will find that there is actually quite a difference in the sound quality between various laptops. Some manufacturers still try to get a decent quality sound from the laptop.

But apart from the audio quality itself on laptops, often the big problem is the sound volume. If you want to watch a movie while traveling and are not alone, you will be depending on the volume from the built in speakers. If the sound volume is low, this means you will end up sitting rather close to the laptop if you want to catch anything being said in a movie.

Boost Laptop Audio Volume

The obvious solution is to increase the volume on the laptop. In Windows you can first try to maximize the audio volume using the Windows sound volume controls. For example, try enabling or disabling the Loudness Equalization in the Enhancement tab of the speaker properties:

Speaker properties for maximum volume

Depending on the sound card in your laptop, you can further enhance things using the audio control panel that was installed with your audio driver. Some have a Boost Volume setting that can further improve the audio volume. So the first step should always be to check that you have the latest audio driver for the sound card in your laptop, and if necessary update it.

The drawback of putting the volume to the maximum level is that this can lead to distorted audio output. This again depends on the quality of the sound card in your laptop, but in all cases the quality will be better at 90% volume than at 100% volume.

A different option would be to increase the volume of the audio within the video file. With a tool like VirtualDub you can increase the volume in an AVI file, and of course there are more tools like it. A more complex option is to first separate the audio from the video file, aplify the audio and then merge the audio and video back together.

But probably the simplest wasy to boost your laptop’s audio volume is a plugin that amplifies the audio on the fly. There are two good solutions for this, DFX is a plugin that is compatible with a lot of media players, and SRS Audio Sandbox is the second option to improve movie sound in various ways.

DFX audio enhancer

Both software solutions have a trial, either with limitations or as a time trial, so it is easy to test both and decide which works best for you. One thing is for sure, you’ll finally be able to get some decent sound volume from your laptop!

Update on DFX

DFX Audio enhancer has just released version 10 of their software. There is support for more audio players on Windows (DFX now directly supports iTunes and YouTube as well), support for Windows 7, both 32-bit and 64-bit, and there is a new feature called music explorer.
The music explorer allows easy access to all you music files, using different selection options.

Update on DFX for Windows 8 and 8.1

Version 11 of DFX audio enhancer is now available and it is also compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, which are becoming the standard on most newly release notebooks.

Comments

52 Comments on How to Boost Your Laptop Audio

  1. asus on Mon, 23rd Mar 2009 6:32 am
  2. Well, Very interesting topic…

  3. Centrino Notebooks on Thu, 26th Mar 2009 12:44 pm
  4. thank you for sharing. very good information for my laptop!

  5. Saravanan Babu on Sat, 4th Apr 2009 5:57 pm
  6. Thanks a ton ! Good recommendation ..

  7. Kevin Grieves on Tue, 28th Apr 2009 5:15 pm
  8. Congratulations, this post was selected to appear on the latest Blog Carnival of Computer Help and Advice – http://bloodycomputer.blogspot.com/2009/04/16th-carnival-of-computer-help-and.html

    […] We get the ball rolling this month with Kristofer Brozio’s review post 16gb USB Drive Comparison – 17 Drives Compared from Testfreaks | The Blog. While we are on the subject of hardware, Jules of PCauthorities.com tells us how to How to Boost Your Laptop Audio. […]

  9. DeaN on Wed, 16th Sep 2009 2:57 pm
  10. Try using AC3Filter. It is freeware and will boost your audio output. Worked for me.

  11. Anthony on Wed, 16th Sep 2009 3:29 pm
  12. @DeaN – Thanks for sharing. AC3Filter is a bit more complex in configuration, but if you limit yourself to the gain settings, it can indeed also help boost PC audio.

  13. pariah on Wed, 23rd Sep 2009 4:14 pm
  14. The problem on my laptop has been with variable volume on different media files and websites. My volume settings have been max’ed out and often it is still inaudible. I found a solution without needing external amplification. What needs to be done is an equalization or normalization on all audio. One can go into the Mixer from the Control Panel and select Speaker Properties and then Enhancements. Then Check Loudness Equalization and Equalizer.

    Problem solved…

  15. pariah on Wed, 23rd Sep 2009 4:17 pm
  16. Also, Sound Forge allows Volume augmentation in all media files (including video files).

  17. Henkka on Fri, 30th Oct 2009 10:31 pm
  18. Thanks for the tip, the AC3 filter was a super fast load and install, is completely free (donations apparently very welcome) and while I will never ever need 95% of it’s features, it took me less than 30 seconds to put +20db gain from the first menu that appears (then ‘apply’ of course) and VOILA! My problem was solved and my HP laptop now plays the quieter Youtube videos and movies loud enough so I can actually hear what the standup comedians are saying :-)
    Thank you!

  19. zzzone on Thu, 3rd Dec 2009 1:29 am
  20. YOU GUYS RULE!!!!! I used both pariah”s (loudness/equalizer) and Hennka’s AC3 gain boost +20db…..PERFECT!!!!!!!!!

    Thank-you SOOOOO MUCH!!!!

  21. karab on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 4:31 pm
  22. boss

    i want 2 enhance volume of my windowz sp

    all d settins generally knwn 2 ppl is high

    bt iz dere iz a univarsal sound enhance kinda thingg vhich wud help ???

  23. Anthony on Mon, 29th Mar 2010 9:01 pm
  24. @karab – What Windows version are you using and which audio player to you use?
    Windows itself is limited to what you can do, depending on the sound card you might have some settings in the Audio Device properties that allow some volume improvements.

  25. Hamish on Mon, 10th May 2010 5:34 am
  26. FFdshow also has a volume increase option on the Audio Decoding box. Very simple to increase.

  27. Anthony on Mon, 10th May 2010 7:32 pm
  28. @Hamish – Thanks for sharing. But that would work only for multimedia files that use the FFDshow codec of course.

  29. karan on Fri, 28th May 2010 9:27 pm
  30. use vlc.. it has a 400% audio boost feature great for mac’s and windows and if u wanna watch the youtube stuff,get a youtube downloader, make a vlc playlist and ure all set… at ur own pace too!! google search : videolan

  31. karan on Fri, 28th May 2010 9:29 pm
  32. oh sorry to use VLC AUDIO BOOST hold down control KEY and press up and down or mouse wheel up and down in fullscreen mode

  33. Anthony on Fri, 28th May 2010 10:02 pm
  34. @karan – Thanks for sharing your information on VLC media player. I actually also use it as my default media player!
    You could have included the link for others, but here it is: VLC Media Player.

  35. Radrook on Tue, 1st Jun 2010 3:42 pm
  36. I just downloaded this device, it’s not on my desktop, It doesn’t come up o the search function, so where is it?

  37. Anthony on Tue, 1st Jun 2010 5:21 pm
  38. @Radrook – Assuming the download succeeded, any downloaded file will be stored in your default download location.
    In some programs it is indeed the Desktop, but more common now is the user’s Download folder. Did you check that?

    In FireFox you can change the download location in the Options menu, but in Internet Explorer that location is stored in the registry.

  39. sunny on Fri, 18th Jun 2010 5:32 am
  40. @Pariah-Tweaking the audio properties helped!! Dell has pathetic speakers and was wondering how to boost the audio. One guy on another site had suggested to use the official driver instead of the Microsoft driver and it had worked for few, but when I installed. The sound faded further! I’ve got AC3 installed along with K-Lite Mega Codec pack. Haven’t tried fiddling with it. Will tap its hidden power :D

  41. Echo Quiniano on Fri, 25th Jun 2010 1:08 pm
  42. Thank You For Sharing All Of These Programs:))

  43. suhail on Mon, 12th Jul 2010 2:32 am
  44. srs is wonderful! download;

    <link removed>

  45. G.N.R.S.U on Sat, 31st Jul 2010 10:50 pm
  46. I THINK “SRS Audio Sandbox” IS BETTER !

  47. Tony on Sat, 9th Oct 2010 8:49 pm
  48. DFX Trial Version is garbage — didn’t work for RealPlayer (no splash screen controller popped up). Tried downloading WMP version, controller did appear, but all control sliders were restricted to only 50% capacity, which resulted in no improvement in sound whatsoever. Try to push the slider past the 50% mark, and you get a pop-up saying that the Trial Version functions are restricted, so buy the full version and “you won’t believe the improvement!” Yeah, RIGHT! My bet is that this plug-in is a total rip-off. Caveat emptor, I say!

  49. Tony on Sat, 9th Oct 2010 8:58 pm
  50. Tried downloading VLC, which is also a hustle — it REQUIRES installation of at least two other jive programs that you cannot opt out of prior to installation of VLC — you can only remove them de facto using , e.g. Windows Programs & Features (aka Add/Remove Programs). I stopped the download at the second add-on requirement — who needs this headache, and who knows what garbage with which these add-on programs are going to load up your computer? What nonsense!

  51. Anthony on Sat, 9th Oct 2010 9:53 pm
  52. @Tony – So you do not want to try the DFX full version because it is not free, but you have a negative expectation anyway? Okay, well I also tried the free version, and in my case it did improve the volume of my laptop audio volume. But then I am not using RealPlayer (that is one of the worst players I ever had installed on my system). After that I purchased DFX and tried it again, and it maxed out volume even more.
    Maybe it is the player I use, or the type of laptop, but making statements of expected rip-offs based on such a limited experience is not something I agree with.

    VLC. Not sure what you downloaded, I only have to install the media player component as required. The software is GNU public license, which generally does not come with a lot of other crap.
    But hey, if you don’t like it, all the other millions of users must be wrong.

  53. Tony on Sat, 9th Oct 2010 10:31 pm
  54. I take back my comments about VLC, and extend full apologies. Thanks to VLC for their comments that compelled me to investigate futrher. I believe I went to the wrong download site by mistake, fell for one of those Google red herrings. Here is the site I downloaded from: http://gofree.com/download/Video/Media-Players/vlcmediaplayer.php?gclid=CM7ir_HpxqQCFUvrKgodgmgYDA

    I will re-attempt download from VLC’s site. Again, apologies to all.

  55. Tony on Sat, 9th Oct 2010 11:25 pm
  56. To Anthony: thanks for your input, Anthony. Perhaps I was a bit presumptuous in my harsh opinions re DFX. I’m glad the Trial Version worked somewhat for you, but it did not have ANY effect for me, as I noted. So some clarification appears appropriate regarding my preceding comment: the point I was trying to make is that I don’t appreciate a company offering me a “Trial Version” that is so limited in functionality that one cannot evaluate the product without purchasing the Full Version. I was trying to say that a poorly-functioning “free” Trial Version that is deliberately designed to force one into a purchase in order to actually try the product does not incline me to a particularly high opinion of the company, nor toward giving me great faith in the product they apparently feel they have to push in a less-than-straightforward manner.
    Apparently you had good luck with the Full Version, so clearly it’s not a total rip-off. In my comment I was simply expressing in strong terms my opinion of what my experience with the bogus(for me)Trial Version would incline me to suspect(see previous paragraph), not making a categorical statement of fact.
    And believe me, DFX is not the only product I have come across that attempts to inveigle one into a purchase in this fashion, and I find it highly annoying. If you’re going to offer a Trial Version, make it work like the real thing, if only for a limited time -– otherwise, what’s the point?? Anyway, I’m keeping away from the full product until I can test drive some approximation of the real deal.
    Re your comments concerning RealPlayer: true,I mentioned that no DFX controller panel popped up in that player, but it did in WMP. So I tried two different player downloads. In fact,it was in WMP that I experienced the unsatisfactory Trial Version results, so the relative subjective quality of the players that you mentioned is irrelevant to my experience in this instance.
    Again, thanks for responding.

  57. Anthony on Tue, 12th Oct 2010 8:21 pm
  58. @Tony – Thanks for your elaborate reply, and I can quite relate to your frustration with limited versions. We do try to only post about programs that really have value, but experiences can vary still.
    Getting back to the subject, the best solution for improving laptop audio is a set of external speakers or a headset of course. Different laptop brands do matter though, my Asus laptop has way better audio than my Acer.

  59. Tony on Sun, 17th Oct 2010 12:22 am
  60. Anthony– Thanks for kind reply. I have an HP Pavilion dv9000 (17″) with terrible audio quality, especially compared with a 6-year old 15″ Dell notebookI still have kicking about, which has GREAT sound, amazingly enough. I thought my HP was defective & actually returned it to HP! Ruled “not defective.” I now use an HP expansion base (no room for a more elaborate system on my desk, which helps a lot, and most sources play adequately thru that. However, when traveling w/ only the laptop, it’s a different story, & many sources are almost inaudible if they were recorded too low. I wound up downloading the AC3 program someone mentioned above, & it looks ideal for my needs (very comprehensive control panels), but I cannot get it to work! It is supposed to operate automatically when source material is played, but it doesn’t. I sent 2 emails to the vendor, no response, and their “Help” forum is waaaay too hi-tech and un-navigable to me. So perhaps a reprise of the DFX system I maligned above will be in order — stay tuned! Again, thanks for your input & advice.

  61. Terance on Mon, 22nd Nov 2010 3:33 am
  62. Media Player Clasic has built in audio booster and it is FREE.

  63. Lloyd on Tue, 14th Dec 2010 4:57 pm
  64. @Terence
    That worked really well..Thanks much.. I am enjoying the movies now

  65. Danielle on Sun, 9th Jan 2011 4:27 am
  66. this worked WONDERS for me. since I was watching videos online going through media player was not what I needed. FINALLY!!

    http://www.sizzledcore.com/2009/10/17/how-to-increase-volume-in-windows-7/

  67. aravind on Mon, 14th Feb 2011 5:17 pm
  68. it worked well for me….

  69. Cherry on Tue, 1st Mar 2011 3:45 pm
  70. This works wonders! I’m using the trial, and I’m pretty sure I’d be purchasing this soon :) thank you

  71. ahsan on Wed, 2nd Mar 2011 3:29 pm
  72. hay

  73. bd on Fri, 18th Mar 2011 12:18 am
  74. Well- the i got the info i needed -regarding the audio
    for laptop] –was helpful -although still i don t think
    this can be resolved any time soon
    thanks
    bd

  75. J O Lundsgaard on Fri, 8th Apr 2011 2:00 am
  76. U want to Boost your DVD-Player with Software ??

    Go to: http://www.free-codecs.com/download/k_lite_codec_pack.htm

    – and download K_Lite_codec for free.

    I choosed “Full” ver. 7.1.0 – it gives U best boost and better quality for Audio – – and for Video too !!

    Install it and set it up for full Boost ..

    Now U have a better sound and more Volume (at least some more – now !!)

    Kind regards, J O Lundsgaard – Denmark

  77. Ayesha on Fri, 15th Apr 2011 4:56 am
  78. Hi
    Thanks for all the usefull inputs . I purchased a Lenovo Z560 machine recently, its rated as a top multimedia machine with a lot of audio options, panels etc. I find the volume very low inspite of cranking up all the controls. VLC player gives better outputcompared to winamp, windows media, and realplayer. But this is for files which are being played off the computer or disc. What happens to streaming video/audio files, like on university lecture webcasts or like Youtube. I seem to have no control on this at all and get very poor output. Is there any soln for this.Which of the above mentioned 2 software would work for this or for files being played out of fixed media. The speaker specfications are 2 stereo speakers of 2 watts each.
    Thanks for your help
    Ayesha

  79. Anthony on Fri, 15th Apr 2011 9:58 am
  80. @Ayesha – Have you tried using VLC player to open the network stream? That way you would benefit from the increased volume you were able to get with VLC, and still use the online audio source.
    In the Media menu of VLC player, select Open Network Stream. Then copy+paste the network URL from the browser to the VLC player and click Play.

  81. Jes@ Computer Repair Ventura on Mon, 18th Apr 2011 10:37 pm
  82. Thanks for the software suggestions. My brother always complains that his computer speakers suck. It’s probably because he uses his computer to watch movies since he doesn’t have a TV and desires a “theater” sound. I might suggest some of these programs to him after I take a look at them. Thanks.

  83. Audio booster | Profcharles on Thu, 16th Jun 2011 1:43 am
  84. […] How to Boost Your Laptop Audio – PCauthorities.comBoost Laptop Audio Volume … But apart from the audio quality itself on laptops, often the big problem is the sound volume. If you want to watch a movie while traveling and are not alone, you will be depending on the volume from the built in speakers. … Media Player Clasic has built in audio booster and it is FREE… […]

  85. rayden54 on Wed, 14th Mar 2012 7:12 am
  86. I turned on Loudness Equalization. The Youtube video went from inaudible even with full volume to perfect.

    If you don’t mind though, do you happen to know what “loudness equalization” actually IS or does? I can’t really tell from the description.

  87. Anthony on Wed, 14th Mar 2012 2:43 pm
  88. @rayden54 – Glad the loudness equalization option worked for you. Basically it is a method to normalize the volume of different frequencies, making high and low tones sound more similar to the mid range frequencies. That helps the human ear in more clearly hearing the various tones, which works particularly well with low volumes.
    There is some more on loudness equalization in this article.

  89. Hari on Fri, 16th Mar 2012 11:35 pm
  90. Working well.

  91. Garnet on Sat, 17th Mar 2012 8:00 am
  92. THANK THANK THANK YOU! So many sites just tell you to use the sound bar, or to update your driver, or to reinstall flash or your sound driver, ALL of which I did and they fixed NOTHING! This is the first site that told me what I actually wanted to know, which was how to make my everyday sound from my computer LOUDER. THANK YOU for not considering us all idiots who can’t find the volume bar!

  93. lollipopkiss on Tue, 15th May 2012 7:54 pm
  94. I had the older version of DFX (free limited version) and I loved it then one day the update popped up and claimed that with this update I will have more features free. So I updated it and it sucked because it won’t let me watch a movie by constantly interrupting by minimizing my video player.

  95. Anthony on Thu, 17th May 2012 9:18 am
  96. @lollipopkiss – I have not seen that behavior from the latest version, but does that happen with all media players? Have you tried VLC instead of Windows Media Player?

  97. lollipopkiss on Wed, 4th Jul 2012 2:26 pm
  98. Anthony thanks for your reply. I have that too. I will try it again and see :) Thanks!

  99. Evgeny on Wed, 22nd Aug 2012 4:46 pm
  100. We have recently released a program that allows to boost volume in every Windows program, be it a media player, web browser or any other program. It’s not a plug-in or add-on, it works on its own. Check it out here – Letasoft Sound Booster

  101. Anthony on Wed, 22nd Aug 2012 10:25 pm
  102. @Evgeny – Thanks for your contribution. That must be very recent release, the buy buttons on your site don’t even work yet!
    Can you send me a license so I can try it out and include it here if it is interesting? Email me at anthony at this domain in that case.

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