I just bought headphones that are really loud. When I plug them into my computer, they are too loud for my ears.

How can I lower the volume mixer below 1 (1>x<0).

I know that using VLC Media Player you can raise the volume above 100%...

EDIT: when I say that my volume is very low... Look: Sound output at 1.  Sound driver.

  • Have you visited the sound controls in the control panel? Are there individual volume controls on the headphones?
    – MaQleod
    Aug 10, 2011 at 18:18
  • Yes, My sound meter is at the lowest. 1. No, there is no built in sound meter. I guess I only realize it now is because they are actively noise canceling & passively sound isolating.
    – wizlog
    Aug 10, 2011 at 18:56

6 Answers 6


You can do this with Volumouse, which is designed for controlling the volume with custom methods (like the mouse wheel) but happens to let you define the number of steps, which accomplishes what you want.

See related question here.


The way to do this, is to have your main volume set to 100, and set your Chrome (or whatever program) to 1. then when you lower your main volume from 100, to lets call it 50, effectively the 1 goes to .5. its just not displayed.

Thank you @slhck for your help.


You can install what is called a software preamp that will automatically change the volume, which will only apply to the devices you want.

Credit goes to JasSmith87 for explaining how:

You can use Equalizer APO.

Download it, run the installer.

It will ask you to select which devices you want to use the equalizer on. Select your headphones only.

You will have to reboot after the installer has run.

After the reboot edit C:\Program Files\EqualizerAPO\config\config.txt

Preamp: -12 dB

Make sure you delete the Include: example.txt line as it does change some equalization settings.

Play around with the -12, the volume changes as soon as you save the file.

  • @mattmanswer Since this content is being quoted from elsewhere, it really needs to be formatted as a quote in order to emphasize that.
    – animuson
    Aug 15, 2015 at 15:50
  • @animuson Please stop editing this answer and making it look terrible.
    – mattmanser
    Aug 16, 2015 at 17:33

There should be more than one volume control available to you.

As far as I am concerned, in Windows the sound will be routed from your playing application to the sound mixer, which should have a separate volume control for computer audio, to the master mixer. So if you can lower any of these controls in between, you might get the volume lower.

However, if there's no good software solution, you can always buy a cheap headphone volume control:

volume controler volume controler

  • If I'm playing a game on the web, Google Chrome (to the best to my knowledge) does not have a built in volume control. I'm looking to use software, not hardware.
    – wizlog
    Aug 10, 2011 at 18:23
  • Well, that's not the only part where you can change the volume. Nothing in the sound mixer?
    – slhck
    Aug 10, 2011 at 18:24
  • Most games allow you to change the background music and effects volume. Probably on the main page >> options >> sound >> reduce sound. Aug 10, 2011 at 18:32
  • @ slhck My origional problem was the sound mixer. Its already at the lowest (or 2nd lowest) "1".
    – wizlog
    Aug 10, 2011 at 18:54
  • @ Jay Mahendru, Not really, most only allow you to mute or un-mute the music, effects... volume.
    – wizlog
    Aug 10, 2011 at 18:55

On Windows 10, you can lower the volume down all the way to 0, and then press unmute.

  • Unmute either by pressing a key combination on your keyboard, or
  • by clicking the volume icon on the far-right side of your taskbar.


This way you can achieve that the main speaker/headphones volume is lower than 1, so no application can go louder than that and surprise you with a loud burst of noises.

Note that Windows still controls the loudness of that 0% volume, so to further control your speaker/headphones loudness, adjust the volume of individual applications in the volume mixer or the sound player itself.


Lower the sound below 1 what? What OS are you on?

If it's Ubuntu Linux then you can use the volume control slider in the system tray to set any arbitrary volume. I think that Windows has something similar it it's own system tray. You are not limited to the pre-defined levels of the hardware volume keys on your keyboard.

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