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iPhone 5 headphone volume too low

112483 Views 215 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2014 1:47 AM by Niddu RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • pm2012 Calculating status...
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    Nov 28, 2013 10:27 AM (in response to Mo_Jiwa)

    Sorry you are being fooled. Some headphones have a relatively low impedance and are easy to drive, I have some of these myself. They are ok but they are not quality headphones. This is not a solution. Sorry, I wish it were.

  • pm2012 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 28, 2013 10:43 AM (in response to



    I agree with you 100%. I'm normally very happy with Apple but on this I'm apalled on their stance/inactivity on this subject. I upgraded (?) from iPhone 4 to 5 in December 2012 and was depressed at the loss of volume. In January 2013 I put in an official complaint to Apple and they haven't even had the decency to respond to my feedback (which was polite)


    The issue as I understand it is that the output impedance of the iPhone 5 is around 3.7 ohms whereas the older phones and iPods are around 5.5 ohms. What is not clear is whether this has been changed by software or by hardware. There are reports that this is an issue in the EU region only. Yet some folk in the USA are also complaining.


    I told apple that I'd be happy to sign a disclaimer taking responsibility for my own ears . . . Still, stony silence.
    Shame on you Apple. This wouldn't have happened while Steve was alive.

  • pm2012 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 29, 2013 7:06 AM (in response to Mo_Jiwa)



    It's not a perfect solution and it may not be for everyone.



    If you are an iPhone5 owner and your favourite headphones just aren't loud enough to be enjoyable you may want to consider the FiiO EO2i headphone amp. I've just read a review on Head-Fi, they don't think that it's a true audiophile product as it doesn't use the lightning connector and produces quite a warm, punchy sound with not much of a soundstage BUT it is small, well made, gives you all the mic and inline controls. Moreover it does all this plus has an effective bass boost for around £25. Head-fi says it's not a sonic masterpiece but at that price it's 5 stars.



    I'm going to get one and let you know how it works with the Bose AE2i headphones which I hardly use any more because they're not loud enough to be enjoyable with the iPhone 5.

  • reds005 Calculating status...
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    Dec 17, 2013 7:42 AM (in response to pm2012)

    Another reason to hate the stupid EU Nanny state.


    I have had ipod mini's, first gen nano and the 3GS all with decent volume levels.


    Since the I had a 3rd gen nano, and a 4S with ridiculously low audio. Apple think they are being clever by showing the 'EU' level in IOS7 which if you stick to it you cannot actually hear at all.


    When I was in the USA recently I purchased another Ipod NANO and surprise surprise the volume level was excellent and you could enjoy music again.


    It is simply not good enough how it is.

  • chris36213 Calculating status...
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    Jan 14, 2014 4:54 AM (in response to Mo_Jiwa)

    Have you looked in settings/music/volume limit


    if the volume limit is low it will only alow quiet volume

    if you have it low turn it up

  • pm2012 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 14, 2014 9:10 AM (in response to reds005)

    Hi reds005,


    I disagree that this is a reason to hate the EU. This is Apple's poor implementation of a directive. The EU don't want to end up with loads of people deafened by their music. BUT Nobody intelligent has stopped to think about the best way to make this work. If an amplifier has a fixed output it will sound very loud with efficient (lower quality headphones) and quiet with inefficient (higher quality headphones). Unless the amplifier has some way of recognising the headphones' efficiency and compensating accordingly, we end up with the stupid situation where good headphones sound too quiet on the iPhone 5/5C/5S. Someone at Apple is being really dense. I don't know who they think they are fooling, this is going to cost apple dearly.


    So after a year of Apple doing nothing I can say that the Fiio EO2i (Rocky) that I bought for £23 online is a satisfactory solution. The reason I like it is that it gives you inline controls and a bass booster which works pretty well. It's not really hi-fi but it allows you to immerse yourself in whatever you are listening to. I watched the brilliant BBC programme "Sherlock" on iPlayer on my phone with the Fiio and my Bose AE2i headphones and really enjoyed the experience.


    So Apple, shame on you. Fiio well done, an affordable product, well conceived and well made.

  • Enzuigiri Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 14, 2014 9:23 AM (in response to pm2012)

    FInally someone coming up with a viable solution to the problem.  Thanks pm2012 for doing the research and I will definitely be checking this out!

  • Niddu Calculating status...
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    Jan 25, 2014 2:32 AM (in response to Mo_Jiwa)

    has anybody tried this solution ? on itunes if we go on a get info option of a song there's an option of volume limit where u can increase the volume of the song by 100%. and then syncing the phone with the same settings of the song ?? does it helps ??

  • Vonavin Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 30, 2014 11:57 AM (in response to Mo_Jiwa)

    This topic should be up !


    I just bought IP5S last friday and it is EU version. I didn't test headphone till today. OMG it was terrible. I am using a powerful headphone which rocks my world (not the Apple one). It is great on Ipad mini and IP4 but IP5S expreience was terrible. So i tried my in-ear headphones which technical specs are:

    • Driver Size 9mm (0.35 inches) Neodymium magnet
    • Frequency Response 6Hz ~ 23kHz
    • Impredance 16 Ohm


    And sound was higher.


    I tried every single solution on this thread, restoring, canceling limitations, making volume higher via Itunes but nothing really changed for the big headphone.


    As far as i know, music players are supposed to feed speakers, headphones etc. just as meant to be. My big headphone has 40 Ohm impedance. Thus, I am thinking IP5S is not good enough to feed that big headphone.


    So here is my temporary solution for the issue. Well i am looking forward to see Apple's permanent one.


    1. Make songs' volume higher via Itunes and sync. (Select equalizer as Custom)
    2. Doing that makes songs' volume higher (about +%20) but distortion is really annoying.
    3. To aviod that annoying distotion a little bit, set equalizer as "Electronic" on the phone settings.
  • ateringcateringcat Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Jan 31, 2014 1:27 AM (in response to Vonavin)

    i have used the Fiio Rocky to boost the volume on my way too quiet 4S, but now simply use AKG K451 headphones which are plenty loud enough with no booster. they have a nice, "meaty" sound, but maybe a bit lacking in top end. good solution for me though.


    i also switched phones to a 5S which has better sound and slightly more volume than the 4S.

  • Phredd Calculating status...
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    Feb 1, 2014 12:10 AM (in response to pm2012)

    Pm2012 "The issue as I understand it is that the output impedance of the iPhone 5 is around 3.7 ohms whereas the older phones and iPods are around 5.5 ohms."


    The output impedance of a very good amplifier will be less than 2 ohms. This is not the spec for volume. I hate see someone ruining good audio with a cheap amp. Spend a little more and get a better Fiio or a little more and get a really good portable amp from JDS labs. I've got the C5D which I love. But the C5 is the same amp much cheaper just without the DAC.


    Or choose headphones that are more sensitive for higher volumes. This is different from the headphone impedance.

  • franinanni Calculating status...
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    Mar 2, 2014 10:03 AM (in response to Iris62)

    Thanks, on the iphone volume issue.

  • Chris Moore2 Calculating status...
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    Mar 6, 2014 1:44 PM (in response to franinanni)

    Hello, I have just upgraded from iPhone 4S to iPhone 5S and I am in the UK.  I am a bit hard of hearing, so loved the fact that my iPad mini and iPhone 4S sounded great at 75% volume and above. I am sad to learn that my 5S has to be set to 100% and in some cases that is not loud enough.  I have everything set to maximum, and I notice there is the EU limit setting, but that setting is not present in my 4S and iPad mini despite also being purchased in the UK.  This remind me of when I bought a iPod nano and I found it too quiet as it had Eu restrictions.  So ended up buying one in Australia which was as loud as my 3GS and iPhone 4S.  I wonder if Apple have implemented the EU setting on the iPhone 5 incorrectly? As the default setting (switched off) is the same volume as my Eu regulated iPod, and if you switch the EU mode on within the volume limit settings on the 5S, it is even much quieter than the iPod.  So I wonder if this is a bug, and if Apple meant to have the volume level set to the same level as the 4S and my iPad mini etc, but have actually applied the recommended EU setting, which results in yet even lower volume when you turn the EU setting on.  When the EU setting is not switched on, it should be the same level as previous models.  If Apple do not address this, then I will have to consider selling my iPhone and buying something in the grey market, or switching to Android who care less about  regulations.  I have emailed Apple accessibility, provided feedback, reported this as a bug.  Apple have suggested I take my phone to the store, but I doubt a replacement will correct the issue, as I think it is a software bug.  Has anyone had any luck with getting a replacement which addressed the issue?  As the iPhone has the ability to ignore the EU setting, that is exactly what it should do.  The headphones i am using are Sen PX100 which are more than loud enough on my iPhone 4S and iPad mini.  Does anyone know if jail breaking is an option to fix this issue, if Apple are not prepared to listen to us poor EU children?  I also experience the same issue when listening to callers through the ear piece, which was also never a problem with my 4S and 3GS models.  Before anyone suggests, I have also tried resetting my phone, and not using my iCloud backup etc.  Chris

  • pm2012 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 7, 2014 5:31 AM (in response to ateringcateringcat)

    Hello ateringcateringcat,


    I ried out the AKG451 because they won a "best" rating in a Hifi mag but I found them to be dreadfully muddy on vocals in fact they were mimicking the sound of the awful beats headphones. The only thing you can do to help them in your settings is to add treble boost but it is not a great solution. Sorry but the only way to buy headphones now is to audition them with your phone and several tracks that you know really well. Trust your own ears, not magazines, if they carry adverts, they can't afford to upset their advertisers.

  • pm2012 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Mar 7, 2014 5:49 AM (in response to Chris Moore2)

    Dear Chris Moore2,


    I wish I could tell you why Apple is being so infuriatingly quiet on this matter. Apple have I'm afraid cocked up on this issue quite badly and refuse to communicate on the subject. I raised it with them over a year ago when I went from IP4 to IP5 and my decent headphones became unenjoyable.


    Where apple have gone wrong is that the EU makes stipulations on the sound output but out varies with the load impedance (the headphones) their own earbuds will sound nice and loud but even the new shape falls out of my ears and a lot of my friends ears. For standard headphones they are not bad but they don't compare to the experience of good circumaural headphones. Unfortunately these are more expensive and have a higher impedance. So Apple has set their phones audio restriction based on the idea that we always use the earpods or similar low impedance headphones. There are solutions that could be engineered if Apple could be bothered and I'm shocked that they seem so ambivalent in this area. After all it was the ipod that helped save Apple from the abyss.


    The solutions are either to buy low impedance headphones. Buy a cheap headphone amp with inline controls like the Fiio Rocky. Spend a lot of money on an expensive headphone amp or buy a different phone but check it out first because Apple is not the only company cocking up in this way.


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