(Root) How to increase the headphone volume of the Nexus 6

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I am a fairly recent owner of the Motorola Nexus 6 and those that know me know I am an Android fanatic. I am coming from the the HTC One M7, which honestly was louder and had a better quality of sound to it. As a result, I have been experimenting with ways to get a similar sound. I had Viper4Android installed on my HTC One, and now on my Nexus 6. It still doesn’t sound quite as good, but it’s close. The last thing lacking was the volume level through the headphone jack. The HTC One was plenty loud, but I kept wanting more from the Nexus 6. Using a little Google-foo and experimenting with what I found, I believe I managed to boost the maximum volume of the Nexus 6 at the system level.

Before I share how I did it, I must warn my readers to take the necessary precautions. In order to do this, having root access is required. With your recovery of choice, make a backup of your phone in case you mess something up or you are unhappy with the results. Make sure the volume is turned down before testing so you don’t damage your hearing. And last but not least, be aware that listening to something very loud for long periods of time can cause permanent damage to your hearing. I’d also like to point out that this guide WILL NOT cover how to increase the speaker volume. I find the stereo speakers are loud enough. However, if you disagree, please note that increasing the speaker’s maximum volume and then turning the volume to that level poses a risk of blowing the speakers — permanently damaging the speakers.

Prerequisites:

  • Root
  • Backup/Nand of your phone
  • A root-enabled file explorer (I will be using ES File Explorer)

Before we begin, I also want to point out that I am not a programmer or Android developer. I am not an expert in the code we will be looking at. I can’t answer what all of the pieces of the code do — I only pieced this portion together through some Google searching.

  1. Make a backup in your recovery. I can’t stress enough how important these are in case you make a mistake.
  2. With the phone booted, launch your root file explorer (ES File Explorer in my case)
  3. Navigate to the root of your phone (this would be up a level from your main storage (sdcard storage)
  4. Open the folder titled “etc”
  5. Open the file “Mixer_paths.xml”
  6. volume
    Look for the lines:

    1. <ctl name=”RX1 Digital┬áVolume” value=”84″ />
    2. <ctl name=”RX2 Digital┬áVolume” value=”84″ />
  7. Edit the file and change the “value” from 84 to a higher value. I tried jumping to 94 and noticed a significant increase, but began experiencing random reboots. I reduced it to 90 and my Nexus seems to be more stable. Currently unsure if modifying these values was related to my reboot problem.
  8. Reboot your phone and enjoy louder headphones!

My results may vary from yours, especially since I have Viper4Android installed as well. Viper4Android greatly modifies the audio of Android itself. The increases in volume may be different for you, so start small. Viper4Android may also modify the Mixer_paths.xml file, so there’s a change these directions may not completely match what you see. Though if you are trying this from a Nexus 6 without Viper4Android installed, it would be helpful to know your results and experience.

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