Not all smartphones have the speaker quality or volume levels to make your stereo envious.
These two issues – along with poor speaker placement – are the biggest factors getting in the way of you enjoying the sound coming from your smartphone.
Here are a few tips to help you improve sound quality and increase volume on Android.
Check your settings
You could optimize your Android audio experience through the settings.
Not all Android UIs have this feature, however, so it won't work for everyone.
If your device has it, the procedure is easy, though.
And once you've done it for the first time you will be able to quickly enhance your audio settings in the future.
For TouchWiz, you need to plug in whichever audio device you want to use (if you're using one).
Then, hop into your Settings and tap Sound. From there hit Audio settings.
You should have a series of options to enhance your audio experience.
MIUI from Xiaomi, has an enhancer for headphones.
Just toggle it on and pick the type you're using.
You should have the choice between in-ear and normal headphones.
Xperia UI allows you use the ClearAudio setting and has an equalizer.
You can get to it through the settings. With Sense UI you can toggle BoomSound but there's really no reason to turn it off, as the audio is terrible without it on.
You can't optimize your audio settings from Oxygen, Optimus or Stock Android.
Download a new music app
You have the option of replacing the stock music app with one that includes more audio control.
We recommend Poweramp or Equalizer+.
Both are jam-packed with audio tweaks, presets, bass boost and more.
Just make sure your music folders are checked in the app settings.
Equalizer+ provides a five-band EQ, while Poweramp offers a 10-band EQ for serious tuning.
You'll have to pay a couple of bucks to access all the best features but once you do you'll never look back.
Check out our article for more music player apps.
Download an EQ
The default audio controls on most phones, with the exception of Sony phones and the OnePlus 2, are not exactly comprehensive.
Some include a basic EQ but it often only works within the default music app and provides no control over audio not played through the music player.
It's important to note that no app works miracles when the hardware is not working properly but with a couple of simple adjustments your sound quality can be improved significantly.
So hit the Play Store and get yourself a decent EQ. We can recommend both Music Volume EQ and Bass Booster.
Know your speaker placement
It may seem silly, but the first thing you need to know is where the sound is coming from on your smartphone.
Lots of phones have twin speaker grills, but often only one of them produces any sound.
If your speaker is blocked then the sound quality will be low or non-existent.
Test out where your sound is coming from by playing some tunes and covering the various holes on your phone until you know exactly where the audio is coming from.
There shouldn't be too many places for a speaker to hide and, once you've found them, you can get started on finding the problem.
Once you know whether your speakers are front-facing, bottom-mounted or on the back, you can make more intelligent decisions about how to position your smartphone to give speakers the best chance to shine.
Don't block them when holding your phone (a common mistake when gaming with bottom-mounted speakers) and point the speakers towards you, not away from you.
Check if your case is blocking a speaker
If your phone has a protective case or cover, it will affect the quality of the sound you get from the speakers.
All those vibrations coming from inside your phone will be muffled by the additional layer of plastic or rubber that the manufacturer won't have taken into account when designing its speaker system.
Not all case makers understand the subtleties of your device.
Some cases block essential parts of the phone like the audio jack, microphone or speaker.
Before you buy a case be sure that you check to see that it won't block anything.
The simple fact is that most smartphone speakers are simply not good enough to get decent sound quality out of, even with a fancy music app or EQ.
This is where a decent pair of headphones can help (some audio settings in your phone won't even work without headphones plugged in).
Not all headphones are created equally and there are different types for various situations.
Make sure you look through and find the one that best suits you.
Boost speaker volume
If you are rooted, there are plenty of app options out there that can bypass the max volume of the Android system with a few simple tweaks.
If you don't want to root your phone or simply aren't convinced by the distortions that most volume-booster apps in the Play Store end up producing, then there are still a few things you can do.
Get to know a little about sound waves. If you position your phone in a corner and fire the speaker output towards it, you'll get a louder, 'bassier' reverberation than if it was just shooting out into the room.
The same logic applies to any object: put your phone in a box, against a bowl or in a glass (empty, of course) and you might be amazed to hear how much louder your speaker suddenly is.