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I'm using USB headphones with a Mac Mini, and the lowest volume setting is too loud for most applications. Is there any way to increase the granularity (number of steps) in the volume control, or to apply some fractional factor to the volume level?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

Hold Shift + Option while you change the volume with the keyboard. You get 4 times finer volume control.

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That no longer works on Lion. However you can assign shortcuts to AppleScripts that change the volume in smaller increments. – user495470 Mar 15 '12 at 14:04
I don't know about Lion, but it does work in Mountain Lion. – kpozin Apr 26 '13 at 20:06
works in mavericks too. – deweydb May 27 '14 at 21:26

option-shift volume up and option shift volume down

will change the volume in smaller increments.

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What worked best to adjust the volume is going to Audio MIDI Setup and adjusting output volume by going to the device and editing front-left, front-right.

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I had the same problem using a USB Plantronics headset.

I went to system preferences -> Sound -> Output -> Plantronics Headset -> Output Volume

Increase that, then for myself, I chose my default sound output to the internal speakers. Otherwise all the system sounds come through the headset.

Hope that is what you were looking for.

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Just to be clear, if the poster is saying that the normal built-in volume control on Mac OS X doesn't allow him/her to lower the volume sufficiently, it may be possible to route the sound via a different sound driver (not the default system one).

You should be able to use an audio extension created in an app like Sound Flower.

To do this, in conjunction with the Audio MIDI in your Utilities folder to control the 'master volume' in that extension, unless your particular USB speaker has that feature disabled.

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