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Windows 7: Low volume when using headphones

01 Dec 2011   #1
hipopotamus7

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 
Low volume when using headphones

Greetings, I recently purchased a pair of Phillips SHP2500 headphones. I do not have a headphone jack available on the speakers, so I plugged them directly into the sound card. Problem is, the volume is relatively low even when everything's maxed out. This might occur because of the fact that I have an onboard sound card (biostar a880g), I'm not sure. I'm using Realtek HD drivers and W7 32 bit. Hope you can help me


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Dec 2011   #2
NanaSarah

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

I've been having headphone issues with my new Dell, and discovered there are ton of places that sound controls hide.

If you left-click volume in the system tray and get the volume meter, did you click on Mixer to be sure that nothing is muted in there?

If you right-click the same icon and choose Sound, you can get to all of the sound tabs. I would think you need a "headphones" item in Playback. If you don't have one (I didn't) you can add it by following instructions that I got here:
The Well-Tempered Computer
Scroll down to Drivers and he tells you how to replace your sound drivers.
  • System: Make a restore point so you can roll back
  • Device manager: deinstall and remove the driver
  • Programs - remove the driver if needed
  • Reboot and Win7 installs the MS High Def Audio Device.
For me, that replaced my Conextant drivers with the Win7 drivers, and my system at least now knows that I have headphones. And sounds just as good.

I also found that the Properties for each device contains a Levels tab which was low and in some cases muted by default on my system.

Hope that helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #3
Corazon

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

The output jack on the soundcard delivers a "line level" signal which is meant to be fed into an amplifier. It's really not sufficient for powering headphones by itself.

You might try to pick up a headphone amplifier, a cheap home stereo type of amp or a set of active desktop speakers (active meaning they have a built-in amp) that have their own headphone jack.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Dec 2011   #4
NanaSarah

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

The output jack on the soundcard delivers a "line level" signal which is meant to be fed into an amplifier. It's really not sufficient for powering headphones by itself.
OK. So, Corazon, I take that to mean that the headphone jack in the front of some machines is a completely different jack? Wired differently or something so that the system is not expecting an amplifier?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #5
Corazon

Windows 7 Professional SP1 32-bit
 
 

It depends - actually, I should've asked you first if your computer was a laptop or a desktop. I find that laptops have "proper" headphone jacks, whereas desktops just route the line signal to the front jacks but those aren't necessarily meant for headphones.

This has been my own observation anyway - I don't claim to know for absolutely sure...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2011   #6
NanaSarah

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

I'm dealing with a desktop unit for this issue.
Actually, I've never seen a laptop with two audio out lines, one for speakers and one for headphones; therefore, I figured anyone looking at the question would understand it was a desktop machine. Sorry.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Low volume when using headphones




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