Sony WF-1000XM4 (/XM3) Not Loud Enough [How to Fix!]

A dying pair of earbuds is one of the more deflating feelings you will get from audio equipment. So when we don’t get the expected decibel level from a new pair of headphones it can often leave us feeling like we were cursed with a defective model.

For those who have purchased the Sony WF-1000 earbuds, there are a few reasons why you may not have the ideal volume.

Sony likes to name their products like fictional robots from a dystopian sci-fi novel, so it can be hard to differentiate between different audio equipment. This article will be discussing the Sony WF-1000 earbuds exclusively. (If you have the WH-1000 headphones, you can find the “Sony WH-1000 not loud enough” article addressing this issue through the search bar at the top of the page).

This article will cover a wide range of solutions from how to clean your earbuds to adjusting streaming platform settings to play at a higher volume. Regardless of if you use the XM4 or XM3, these fixes will be applicable to both.

If you still have low noise complaints after diagnosing each issue, we will discuss possible replacement options as well as warranty limitations.

How Loud Should My Sony WF-1000 Earbuds Get?

With the competent noise canceling and impressive in-ear volume, you should be able to competently deafen yourself should you choose to. Both devices get up to around 95 decibels if Sony is to be believed, and several consumers speak to their ears hurting well before max volume.

If you are experiencing a volume that is lower than you desire, chances are there is a setting that needs altering.

Thankfully, you aren’t alone in your frustration and there are a number of disgruntled customers in the exact same boat. No one wants to pay triple-digit prices for whispering audio, though when these earbuds do work correctly – you will be more than satisfied with how loud they can go.

If you have the misfortune of getting broken headphones on arrival, scroll to the bottom of the page to find information on how to get a new pair.

Solutions for Quiet Sony WF-1000 Earbuds

We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to anyone trying to find solutions to this problem through a Google search. Often you get incomplete queries, answers for a different product, or articles that have very little to do with the issue at all.

The following is a comprehensive list of every possible fix for this quietly infuriating problem.

Set aside a bit of time before diving into some of these as they will require earbud maintenance as well as several setting changes through your earbuds, streaming platforms, mobile phone, and more.

A quick fix worth trying is resetting the Bluetooth connection. While this is not often the problem, it can at times fix your decibel dilemma.

Wipe Down Sony Earbuds

No one wants to talk about how gross our ears get after a hard day’s work.

Whether you use earbuds during a workout, long hours at work, or simply when you commute – wax, dirt, and other pleasantries start to build up over time. For those that use their earbuds on a day-to-day basis, you will likely want to clean them around once a week.

Failure to clean your headphones can not only lead to lowered volume but acne, ear infections, and concerned looks from your friends and family. To prevent a buildup of undesirable gunk, there are a few key steps you can take to maintain your earbuds’ hygiene.

  • Avoid storing them in areas with heavy moisture, like sweaty clothes or wet pants pockets.
  • Instead of wiping away moisture, allow the earbuds to air dry or even place them in front of a space heater.
  • The best place to keep your earbuds is snug in their case. Most pockets and purses have some amount of dust bunnies or sediment. Make sure the case is closed to avoid dust particle accumulation.

Several people recommend using alcohol wipes for earbud cleaning, though use caution. Any abrasive material or heavy chemical can wreak havoc on the guts of your earbuds.

To preserve your headphones, try starting light with a hair dryer or compressed air. After that, you can begin with a toothpick and cloth to remove any stubborn grime in harder-to-reach areas. If you still have dirty headphones, you can bring out the big guns, also known as dry wipes.

If your earbuds have a detachable cover or rubber tips, remove them before cleaning. They should also be wiped down as they can collect a good bit of unwanted bacteria while in use.

Try to avoid getting these earbuds wet, as moisture can damage the product. This is especially true for the XM3s, which have no water resistance.

  1. Using an air dryer, canned or compressed air, try to blow away any dust, wax, or dirt that is in the audio opening that fits into your ear. Make sure the speaker is pointing downward when blow-drying it. Check that each hole in the grille isn’t covered by sediment.
  1. Before you put away your air blower of choice, make sure to dust off any detachable ear tips as well as the charging case. Failing to clean every part of the earbuds will result in a quicker accumulation of gross gunk, resulting in you having to clean them far more regularly.
  1. For the peskier particles, you will need a toothpick, Q-tip, or anything thin, long, and preferably non-metallic. In a pinch, you can also use a toothbrush, though we advise you toss it afterward or save it for your earbuds.
  1. Using your preferred poking device, gently remove any impacted wax, dust, or dirt that is clinging to corners or sticking between the grille holes. Keep the inner-ear speaker facing downward while cleaning. This is a tedious process, though it is important that you take your time with it.
  1. Using a dry cloth, wipe away any excess dirt from the earbuds, charging case, and removable tips.
  1. If you still have a dirty earbud, you can use a dry alcohol wipe to try and loosen it from your Sony WF-1000s.
  1. Once all parts of the product have been cleaned to your satisfaction, you can reassemble the earbuds.

An overaccumulation of dirt can cover up the speaker grille, which can cause the volume to sound notably muted. To avoid this, try to clean your earbuds as regularly as you can. It is unreasonable to expect everyone to clean their earbuds every seven days, though try to keep up with them as needed.

If you used a wet wipe or damp towel to clean the detachable tips, make sure they are dry before reinserting them into your earbuds.

Check Your Mobile Device’s Volume Limiter

Almost all mobile devices nowadays come with some form of volume moderation. Whether we want to admit it or not, most earbuds – including both of the ones featured in this article – can cause hearing loss at heightened decibel levels. Because of this, your phone will typically have a feature that limits the max volume unless you alter the settings or force your volume up deliberately.

Some Android devices may not come with volume limitations and may reduce volume without a popup or notification.

To remove volume limitations on Android follow these steps:

  1. While on the Home screen, find the Settings icon, which looks like a metal cog.
  1. Select Sound and Vibrations or Sounds, depending on your mobile device.
  1. At the top of your screen will be an ellipse (…), select Media Volume Limit.
  1. Switch it to off or adjust the slider to your preferred limit.
  1. Test the volume to see if this issue has been resolved.

For those using an Apple Device, utilize the steps below:

  1. From the Home screen, go to your Settings icon (metallic cog).
  1. Find Sound & Haptics from the list of options and click on it.
  1. Select Headphones Safety.
  1. Find the Reduce Loud Sounds tab and turn it off.
  1. Check your audio to see if it can be turned louder.

The device may still reduce your volume from time to time if it is at a high decibel level for a prolonged period of time.

While this is annoying, the intention is to reduce hearing loss. This is a far easier fix as you will simply have to return the volume to its previous level. We cannot make any promises about your ability to hear long-term, however.

A Volume Setting is Lowered

Bluetooth is incredibly straightforward and once you understand how it works on one device – you can typically get by on any product. With that said, the volume settings can often be a bit disorienting as you are typically not just dealing with the volume of your earbuds, but the mobile device as well.

The volume settings on Sony earbuds can be a bit confusing if you aren’t familiar with them. To turn the volume up, quickly press on the touch sensor to increase the volume. To decrease the volume, you simply need to hold your finger against the touch sensor. Wait to see if the volume increases. If you are still at the same volume level, it may be your phone or audio platform.

Whatever your paired device is, adjust the volume settings to see if they are at max volume. If not, this may be the problem child. Increase the volume until you are satisfied and be aware of this pesky “feature” in the future.

Lastly, check the Sony Headphones Connect mobile app if you have it downloaded. This app offers a visual volume slider to look at if you are paranoid about the swiping feature on your earbuds. Simply hit the Down Arrow found in the middle or lower part of the screen underneath the “Now Playing” tab. This will reveal a volume slider that you can use to get a better idea of where your earbuds are sitting at.

Disable Multipoint Connection

Multipoint is a useful tool that allows your earbuds to have one media (music, videos, etc.) Bluetooth connection and one call connection. While this is certainly a nice feature, it can also lower the volume for some unfortunate earbud owners.

Additionally, this can prove to hurt the overall quality of the audio. So in an effort to be efficient, you can inadvertently deafen and diminish the sound of your music.

Thankfully, this feature is optional and if it gives you trouble, you can simply disable the paired call audio device. The quickest fix for this issue is turning off the Bluetooth feature on your secondary device.

If you do this, you should likely also reset the Bluetooth connection on your preferred smartphone, tablet, or computer to make sure the change takes effect. For a more definitive solution, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the Sony Headphones Connect app on your mobile device.
  1. Find the Settings option and then select Device Connection.
  1. Click on Bluetooth, then click on the Settings button, which will be a cog icon.
  1. There will be a Paired Devices option, select it.
  1. Turn off the Call Audio which will unpair the second device from your earbuds.

Like all of the solutions here, you should test the audio to make sure that is functioning properly. Some customers have said that their earbuds paired up with a secondary device after Multipoint was shut off, so it is worth checking if this issue takes place again. Turning the Bluetooth off on the second device is a quick fix to avoid this from happening infrequently.

Streaming Service has Lowered Volume

Almost all streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal) come with several audio settings that are dizzying to the average person. These range from equalizers with numerous presets, audio quality, and even volume level.

The best way to see if this is the cause of your problem is to try a different streaming service or even Youtube to see how the volume is affected. If the volume is still the same, this can still be a temporary band-aid for the issue.

This may not be accessible on a mobile device depending on your platform of choice.

Go to the settings for your streaming platform and find the Audio/Sound/Volume option. There should be an option for volume level, with different preset options. Moving to a louder option will pump up the decibels, though it will also cause some compression and lessened audio quality.

Some folks recommend cranking up the equalizer settings across the board – which will also massively hinder the sound of the music.

Try A Volume Booster

Volume Boosters are a competent alternative for lowered volume. These apps and software can take your volume up to levels that will give your eardrums fits.

The upside to these is that they will allow you to go beyond the max volume of your earbuds at the heavy cost of sound quality. The compression will be heavy, the sound will be loud and the audio will be a little jarring at times.

Though if you wanna pump up the jams, a volume booster will certainly get it done. To offer a starting point for folks regardless of platform – we will be throwing a few different options below. These aren’t sponsored and if they sucked, we would happily (and thoroughly) tell you why.

For Android owners, the Wavelet app is widely used and abundantly praised for its smooth interface and detailed list of features. It should be said that some of these features are hidden behind a paywall, but you can still get a performance enhancement where your volume is concerned. It comes with a 9-band equalizer, bass boost, and a list of other options.

Apple owners can rely on the Equalizer+ app as a starting point for volume boosters. It doesn’t just boost volume, but bass and treble if you toggle those options. It contains a six-band equalizer and while it does contain premium features – the free options should prove more than sufficient to start.

If you spend most of your time on a Windows computer, the Equalizer APO is a personal favorite. It is surprisingly easy to use for those new to audio software, though offers a wide range of features that are all completely free and without any sort of paywall. The equalizer can prove a bit intimidating, though the volume booster is easy enough to find and use.

If these don’t fit your fancy, simply typing “Volume Booster” in the Google Play or App store will bring up dozens of options. If the idea of paying for apps infuriates you, there are a number of “free” alternatives that get their paycheck on infrequent ads that appear on the app.

My Sony Earbuds Still Aren’t Working

If you are still struggling to get your earbuds to be more audible, it may be time to start looking towards replacement products, repair services, or even a warranty. If you notice one earbud is consistently quieter or both have gotten less boisterous over time – chances are the bagpipes will be blaring on your buds fairly soon.

The Sony warranty is going to last about a year unless otherwise stated. This will not protect you from accidents that damage the earbuds, personal neglect, or 3rd party repairs gone awry.

Past that, you can also look to a repair service or inquire further through Sony’s customer service line. This is certainly not the news anyone wants to hear about their higher-end earbuds, though it would be ignorant of us to not give information on how to remedy defunct audio equipment.

Final Thoughts

Expensive earbuds are a scary thing to consider. They are easily misplaced, oftentimes fragile and their lifespan is often fairly unpredictable.

For the Sony WF-1000XM3 (these names are terrible), you should really avoid scenarios that can get them wet. This means that even though they are convenient for a workout, sweat can damage them or shorten their lifespan. The 1000XM4 has an IP4 rating, though should still be used with caution.

If the issue arises again, don’t be afraid to come back to this article. It seems to happen infrequently and even though the solutions usually fix the issue, it may come back every now and again. If you followed this article carefully, you should be back to listening to your jams at audio levels that are easily a safety hazard.