I am a huge fan of podcasts, music, and watching all sorts of videos on my mobile phone. So I was really disappointed when I found that the maximum volume level on my Android phone did not drown out the external noise (you know people talking, moving cars, street noises, etc.) while on the move.
After doing some research I found that this is a common problem on Android phones. If you are like me its a show stopper. I mean my user experience is supposed too be better than my previous 'un-smart phone'. It was frustrating but I did find a solution that continues to make me happy (JABRA BT3030 noted below).
There are two options to fix the low volume. One is through software and the other is through hardware.
There are apps out there that turn up the volume but at the expense of sound quality. These usually increase the audible gain or use an equalizer to improve the sound level. Honestly, this did not do the job at all for me because I still wanted the good sound quality---not a louder but slightly distorted sound.
- The best app hands down is MixZing Media Player. It lets you set separate gain and equalizer levels for each audio file or a group of files. While this app is certainly helpful it can introduce distortion on some audio files which is annoying at times.
- DSP Feature on Cyanogen Custom ROM. Dynamic range compression, equalizer, and headphone filtering. This is also helpful it again can introduce distortion. Plus, its available through a Custom ROM (an aftermarket version of Android which you may not be willing to install as it voids certain warranties of your phone, etc).
External hardware that amplifies the sound. So you get much higher volume without any loss in sound quality. There are too many products that do the job out there. The one I ended up buying is the Jabra BT3030. The sound quality is decent and the volume difference is massive.
Realize there are pros and cons and its annoying to have to buy something extra. But for me this is truly the best solution (especially while at the gym). I can answer calls, change tracks, change volume levels, and change the earphones. The external noise around me is cancelled out and I find it sometimes too loud.