How to Fix Low Speaker Volume on the Nexus 5

The much-anticipated Nexus 5 starting shipping out a few weeks ago, and like many new products, some people have received phones with manufacturer defects. This is always unfortunate, but [Adam Outler] over at the XDA Developer forums thinks he’s found a solution to one of the ailments — a low speaker volume fix!

[Adam] noticed that his phone wasn’t quite as loud as he was used to, so he decided to take it apart and see if there was something causing the muffled sound quality. He assumes glue seeped into part of the speaker where it’s not suppose to during assembly, and what he discovered was, you can increase the audio output by opening up the speaker chamber. He found you can easily port the speaker chamber by popping a few holes in it using a hot needle, which helps increase the volume of the phone. It’s not exactly a confirmed hack, but he will be featuring it on XDA-TV in a few weeks, and hopefully a few more cases pop up in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the hack — it might even help users whose phone isn’t unusually quiet!

Now, most people will just return the phone under warranty, which makes sense. But this is Hackaday and XDA we’re talking about. It’s probably less effort to just suck it up, and fix it ourselves. Who cares about warranties?

[via XDA Developers]

13 thoughts on “How to Fix Low Speaker Volume on the Nexus 5

  1. Interesting. I wonder why the speaker didn’t come already ported. There has to be a reason, just a question of whether it’s a good one or something more like “somebody forgot” or “it added a femtocent to the cost.”

    1. It did already come ported, note the ‘original port hole’ label on the image. It looks more like a design oversight than a manufacturing defect to me – either they were aiming for a 1/4 waveguide or a lower tuning frequency, probably to give a more balanced frequency response at the expense of perceived loudness.
      Punching more holes in the chamber will ‘tune up’ the enclosure, so you get a more pronounced peak in the bass occurring at a higher frequency than before.

      1. It’s weird because [Adam] mentions that abnormally low (for this model) sound output could be the result of glue leakage. That’s the defect he refers to but I wonder where that theory comes from?

    1. A lot of the electronic theories are the same for acoustics and optics. Know those antireflective coatings on lenses and some screens? Those coatings act like an impedance matcher to decrease the amount of reflected waves.

  2. I found the speaker volume of my Nexus 5 to be unusually low. I would like to increase it somehow, but this method looks too scary. I don’t want to damage my one week old phone. Let’s hope someone can come up with a software tweak of some sort.

  3. I just did this ‘procedure’ to my device as nit way seriously quiet. To my surprise when i open up the back the original port hole labelled on the diagram was not there, no hole!? So i drilled it through along with several other holes. Now it is very loud and much better, but just confused mine wasnt ported at all?! WTF Google?!

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