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[HARDWARE MOD]Volume Increase for Nexus 5 (13 db increase)

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AdamOutler
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(Last edited by AdamOutler; 17th November 2013 at 11:37 PM.)
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Cool [HARDWARE MOD]Volume Increase for Nexus 5 (13 db increase)

Introduction:
So the LG Nexus 5 speaker seems to be low volume for some people and not so much others. I spoke to @supercurio and he says that his device is as loud as a Galaxy S 4 and the volume appears normal. My device suffers from low volume. I fear that this is due to the construction process and the glue used to assemble the device may have leaked into areas which it obstructs the speaker port. It appears to be a manufacturer defect.

But, this is XDA, so rather than complain, here is a fix. We aren't just talking about a little bit of an increase though, Senior Member @Oli1122 measured a 13dB increase using this method with just one additional hole on the front and one on the rear. That's well over double sound volume!
Note: Only do this if your volume seems oddly low or risk damaging components for no reason

You will need:
Phillips #0 screwdriver
needle
lighter
guitar pick
case opener tool

Performing the mod
1. Remove back panel from device (case opener tool/gitaur pick).
2. Heat up the needle with the lighter.
3. Stick needle through plastic until you feel no resistance in one of the locations shown in picture below.
4. Wait 1 second
5. Move needle around to slightly widen the hole after it loses some heat to the housing
6. Once needle has cooled, twist and remove.
7. You can remove the speaker assembly by removing four screws , then pick a new location and perform steps 2-6 on the other areas of the assembly shown in the pictures below.
8. Reassemble device.
Reference pictures:




Theory behind it:
If you ask an audiophile, they will tell you that free-air speakers are louder than sealed or ported speakers. This works because the device has an almost sealed speaker and the intended ported output of the sealed speaker chamber is much smaller than the primary speaker output.

Further testing is required
Considering this, it may benefit unaffected users to perform this modification. I intend to feature this on XDATV in two weeks. I would appreciate assistance with quantifiable measurements. So, if you perform this mod, please get a video showing your desktop's sound-level input meter with a microphone positioned at a known distance from the Nexus5 speaker (located on the left side as viewed from the front). Windows Sound Level Mixer will work just as Ubuntu or Mac's will too.

Conclusion:
Your results may vary. If you try this, share your results and let people know if you tested before/after with a microphone, which locations you used, pictures, or if it just plain sounds louder. This issue affects several users and now at least I can watch YouTube videos comfortably now, without cupping the speaker or holding it closely outside.
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Jishnu Surô
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Thanks Adam! ) Though, risky but worth a shot..

OT: Any Idea about Alsa Mixer app working to make it louder?
Regards
 
noodles2k
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On my own Nexus 5 the speaker volume seems fine, but I like the idea of having the speaker open air. Won't the back cover just block the extra hole though?
 
AdamOutler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noodles2k View Post
On my own Nexus 5 the speaker volume seems fine, but I like the idea of having the speaker open air. Won't the back cover just block the extra hole though?
Once the air escapes the speaker enclosure, it can use the entire body of the Nexus 5 for airspace and escape through various ports.
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jlmcr87
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(Last edited by jlmcr87; 16th November 2013 at 07:20 PM.)
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Can you make a video of the process?

Devices
: Nokia 6510 -> Sony Ericsson Z600 -> Sony Ericsson W880 -> Sony Ericsson W980 -> Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc -> Google Nexus 5 32GB
 
AdamOutler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jishnu Sur™ View Post
Thanks Adam! ) Though, risky but worth a shot..

OT: Any Idea about Alsa Mixer app working to make it louder?
Regards
I doubt that would work as well as this.

@jlmcr87 never quote the OP in its entirety. If something needs to be changed, it can't be this way. Also, it makes it harder to read comments. But If you're going to quote the post, at least read it.

I plan to feature this on XDATV as I stated in the post you quoted.


As a side note, this makes the back panel vibrate with your music. For reference, it vibrates more than the keyboard when typing and I felt no such vibration previously... So I'm quite sure this is much louder.
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br0adband
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While I don't have a Nexus 5, my first impression - based on the rather MASSIVE amount of report discrepancies from so many various Nexus 5 owners - is that the audio problems are caused by something like this as Adam has just described. I remember when the original iPhone came out that it had somewhat crappy audio levels from the internal speaker, and I got one at some point and removed that plastic bottom cover and found the reason: the "dust shield" that Apple had put in place on it was incredibly thick material, much thicker than was actually required to keep dust out.

I removed the original dust cover on the inside of the plastic housing, replaced it with a much thinner material (could have been something as simple as a small snippet of Saran-wrap to be honest but I found some very thin cloth material that was workable) and after reassembling things and powering up the phone, the difference in audio levels was pretty dramatic. Most people around were wondering just why the hell my iPhone was so freakin' loud compared to theirs and I told them, then I started making $20 a pop to do the same mod to theirs.

Anyway, recently I owned a Galaxy S4 Active and noticed that the microUSB cover (which seals it to be water-resistant at the bottom) works in conjunction with the entire bottom assembly as a "speaker enclosure" of sorts: when the port cover is removed/open, the audio quality from the internal speaker is very low and rather tinny; putting the cover in place "seals" the housing and then wham, you get midrange and bass as expected which is pretty cool by design.

As for the Nexus 5, it's awesome to see this as a potential "fix" of sorts and it'll most likely get noticed quickly.

Good job, Adam, and even in spite of me not owning a Nexus 5 it's welcome to see people going that extra step to resolve things.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamOutler View Post
Once the air escapes the speaker enclosure, it can use the entire body of the Nexus 5 for airspace and escape through various ports.
int theory wouldnt all the hardware etc, cause sort of a muffled sound from other ports and a slight distortion from the vibration? i watched a review on making suround sound louder and all they did was replace the screws with brass screws and add silicone around the edges?
interesting! would like to see the feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlmcr87 View Post
Can you make a video of the process?
he is gonna.
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Strephon Alkhalikoi
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Wait two weeks and you'll have one. As per his first post, this mod is going to appear on XDA TV.
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Q: Can someone suggest a link I can follow that will walk me through the root process for this phone?
A: Simple answer is no. Do your homework. No spoonfeeding here. Check the stickies and the search engine. You'll find it soon enough.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricky310711 View Post
int theory wouldnt all the hardware etc, cause sort of a muffled sound from other ports and a slight distortion from the vibration? i watched a review on making suround sound louder and all they did was replace the screws with brass screws and add silicone around the edges?
interesting! would like to see the feedback



he is gonna.
There may be ways to improve it, but like I said, the back panel forms part of the audio system now. This definitely increases the low frequency vibrations and high frequency sounds audibly louder.
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