How can I improve the sound quality of my Android phone?

Good audio quality is increasingly important for smartphone users. With people consuming more multimedia content like music, videos, and games on their phones, having clear and robust audio adds greatly to the experience. Poor audio quality can negatively impact enjoyment of apps, media, calls, and other functions. There are several factors that affect a smartphone’s audio performance.

The quality of the built-in amp, DAC (digital-to-analog converter), and audio circuitry inside the phone play a big role in sound reproduction. The headphones or external speakers used also impact audio quality. Software settings like equalizers and effects can enhance or diminish sound. Connectivity options like Bluetooth introduce compression or latency issues in some cases. By understanding these factors, steps can be taken to improve a phone’s audio quality.

Software Settings

One of the easiest ways to improve audio quality on Android is by adjusting software settings. Here are some things you can try:

Enable high quality audio codecs in Developer Settings. Go to Settings > About Phone and tap Build Number 7 times to unlock Developer options. Then go to Developer options and enable support for high-resolution codecs like LDAC, AptX HD, etc. This allows your phone to take advantage of better quality audio when using supported wired headphones or Bluetooth devices (Source

Adjust app-specific audio settings. Many music and video apps like Spotify, Netflix, etc. have their own audio settings you can tweak. For example, enable the “High Quality Audio” setting in Spotify to stream music at a higher bitrate. Or turn on “Surround Sound” in Netflix for a more immersive experience (Source Optimizing app settings can make a big difference.

Wired Headphones/Speakers

When choosing wired headphones or speakers for your Android phone, one important consideration is the impedance rating. Impedance measures a headphone’s electrical resistance and how much power it needs from the audio source. Higher impedance headphones, typically over 50 ohms, are usually better suited for home listening while lower impedance headphones under 50 ohms are recommended for portable use.

In general, higher impedance headphones in the 150-600 ohm range tend to provide better sound quality and dynamic range compared to lower impedance models. The higher impedance allows for more wire windings in the voice coil, resulting in improved driver control and accuracy. High impedance headphones really shine when paired with a dedicated headphone amplifier. Without proper amplification, they can sound underpowered from a mobile device alone.

Lower impedance headphones usually require less power and work better with portable devices. But higher impedance headphones with quality internal components can still sound fantastic, even without amplification. When plugging high impedance headphones into your Android, be mindful of maximum volume and distortion.

Beyond impedance, also consider the size of the headphone drivers. Larger 40-50mm drivers are better suited for over-ear headphones and provide a fuller, more spacious sound. Smaller drivers around or under 40mm are typical for on-ear headphones and earbuds designed for portability.

Bluetooth Audio

Newer versions of Bluetooth support higher bandwidth and better audio quality. Bluetooth 5.0, introduced in 2016, allows 2x the data rate compared to Bluetooth 4.2 with lower power consumption.[1]

There are also advanced Bluetooth audio codecs that can provide improved sound quality compared to the standard SBC codec. Some examples include:

  • aptX and aptX HD from Qualcomm – provides higher bitrate audio streaming resulting in better clarity. Well supported on Android devices.[2]
  • LDAC from Sony – streams audio up to 990 kbps at 24 bit/96 kHz for Hi-Res quality over Bluetooth. Available on many Android devices.[3]

To take advantage of these advanced codecs, both your Android phone and receiving device (like wireless headphones) need to support them. Checking for codec compatibility can help maximize Bluetooth audio quality.

Equalizers & Effects

One of the best ways to improve sound quality on Android phones is by using equalizers (EQs) to tune the frequency response. There are system-wide EQs that affect the sound from all apps, like the built-in Android equalizer or third-party apps like Poweramp. These let you boost or cut specific frequency ranges like bass, mids, and treble to suit your preferences.

There are also EQ settings built into individual music and video apps like Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix. Fine-tuning the EQ per app can optimize the sound for different types of content. EQ apps provide control over 3-band EQ for basic adjustments or much more advanced parametric and graphic equalizers with 10, 20, or even 32 frequency bands.

Virtual surround sound effects like Dolby Atmos can also enhance the audio experience on Android phones by widening the soundstage. These effects digitally process the audio to make music and movies sound wider and more spatial, like you’re in a theater.

External DACs

Connecting an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter) to your Android phone can significantly improve audio quality compared to using your phone’s built-in DAC. The DAC inside your phone is limited by space, cost, and power constraints, while dedicated external DACs can use higher-end components optimized purely for audio performance.

For Android phones, you can connect an external DAC via the USB-C or micro USB port. Popular options include the DragonFly series from Audioquest, which offers USB-C and micro USB models that work seamlessly with Android. According to reviews on, the Dragonfly Red and Black provide a noticeable improvement in detail, dynamics, and stereo imaging compared to a phone’s built-in DAC [1].

Chord Electronics also makes highly-regarded portable USB DACs like the Mojo 2 that work with Android and significantly upgrade sound quality. The benefit of these USB DACs is that they bypass the phone’s internal DAC and amplifier, providing a purer digital signal and cleaner analog conversion and amplification. This results in greater resolution, improved frequency response, lower noise, and higher headphone output power.


One effective way to boost your Android phone’s sound quality is by using a dedicated headphone amplifier. These devices increase the gain or volume that your headphones receive from the original audio signal. Many Android phones lack sufficient power to optimally drive headphones and speakers, especially higher-impedance ones. An external amp provides additional current and voltage to improve dynamics, bass impact, clarity, and overall loudness.

Dedicated portable headphone amplifiers from companies like FiiO, Topping, and JDS Labs connect to your phone’s headphone jack or USB-C port. Models like the Fosi Audio DS1 and iFi Hip-dac 3 optimize power output for any headphones while adding minimal bulk.

For the best quality, portable amplifier DAC combos digitally process the audio signal before amplifying it. This provides benefits like volume normalization, sample rate conversion, and bass boost while driving your headphones. Amp DACs like the Topping NX7 push sound quality further by decoding high-res formats and bit-perfect playback.

Audio System Tweaks

One way to improve sound quality on Android phones is to disable any audio effects or enhancements that may degrade audio quality. Many Android devices come with pre-installed “audio effects” that aim to improve the listening experience, such as surround sound, equalizer presets, volume boosters, and more. However, these effects often reduce audio quality by processing and compressing the original audio signal.

To disable audio effects on your Android device, go to Settings > Sound > Audio effects. Here you can turn off any effects you don’t want applied to your music playback. Disabling audio effects like surround sound processing and bass boost can help audio play back in its original, unprocessed form for the highest fidelity [1].

Additionally, using high quality music files rather than streaming can improve sound quality. Streaming services often use lossy compression like MP3 or AAC to reduce bandwidth requirements, discarding some audio information. Lossless formats like FLAC, ALAC, and uncompressed WAV or AIFF preserve all the original audio data for the best sound quality. Playing back music locally from lossless files on your device’s internal storage or SD card can provide cleaner and more detailed sound compared to heavily compressed streams [2].

Phone Hardware

When it comes to audio quality, the physical hardware design and components of the phone itself play an important role. Phones with dedicated hi-fi focused DACs (digital-to-analog converters) and headphone amplifiers generally provide improved audio quality over phones relying solely on integrated DACs built into the main processor chipset. Phone brands like LG and Asus have included ESS Sabre DACs and headphone amps in their flagship models to appeal to audiophiles. Devices like the LG V40, LG G7, and Asus ROG Phone 5 are examples of phones taking audio quality more seriously through their hardware.

Another hardware factor is the phone’s physical design and speaker placement. Phones with slim bezels and edge-to-edge displays often have bottom-firing speakers which can be easily muffled when holding the device. In contrast, phones with larger forehead and chin bezels allow the speakers to be front-firing, resulting in clearer audio projection. The use of dual speakers in a stereo configuration also creates a wider soundstage. Overall, purpose-built phone hardware with audiophile components like high-end DACs and thoughtful speaker placement enables measurably better sound quality compared to mainstream devices.

10. Conclusion

In conclusion, there are several ways to improve the sound quality on your Android phone. Here is a summary of the key methods discussed:

  • Use the built-in equalizer and audio effects in your music apps to tune the sound to your liking.
  • Invest in high-quality wired headphones or speakers that can take advantage of your phone’s audio output capabilities.
  • Use wireless Bluetooth options like aptX HD for improved audio quality over Bluetooth.
  • Install a third-party equalizer app for more advanced audio tweaks.
  • Add an external USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter) to bypass your phone’s built-in DAC and amplify the analog signal.
  • Attach an external headphone amp for more power output to high-impedance headphones.
  • Adjust Android system settings like disabling audio effects and exclusive audio access to prioritize music playback.
  • Consider upgrading to phone hardware with a better DAC, amp, or audio circuitry design.

In addition to these tips, it’s important to use high quality audio source files, preferably lossless formats like FLAC or ALAC files. Low bitrate compressed audio files will negatively impact sound quality no matter what enhancements you make on the hardware/software side. Investing in high-resolution tracks from online stores or ripping CDs into lossless files is recommended to get the most out of your Android phone’s audio capabilities.

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