Are Wired Earbuds Louder Than Wireless?

When discussing earbuds, it can be very difficult to determine which is better. There are many different types of earbuds whether they are IEMs or just regular earbuds.

We could even mention all the differences in buying different brands or even show the differences in hardware. A valuable discussion that can be brief and informative is the differences between a wired earbud and a wireless one, mainly regarding amplitude level.

To answer the main question briefly: Are wired earbuds louder than wireless? yes, they are.

Difference in connectivity

When connecting any piece of equipment via cable, audio is common to pass it through an amp for better sound management. After attaching a headphone to an amplifier, the amp’s impedance will maintain volume control at a precise level, which you’ll be able to alter.

In the case of headphones, an amplifier will often have a knob allowing the user to drive amplitude levels through an extensive dB range. In addition, many software provides volume control, which can enhance loudness even more with the amp’s volume gain.

A Bluetooth headphone, such as a truly wireless earphone model, will feature a standard volume level, typically set by the manufacturer, and wouldn’t pass through an amplifier. Instead, connecting a Bluetooth earphone on a device will only offer software volume control, which will sum up to a smaller dB range than wired earphones.

In addition to this fundamental difference regarding connectivity between wired and wireless earphone models, many artifacts can affect sound signals differently on both types of equipment.

Difference in hardware

Discussing connectivity problems is vital to spot differences between wired and wireless models since they feature distinct connectivity obstacles.

On wired earphones, connectivity problems will typically be related to issues on the cable. For example, since wired earphones feature a line consisting of a jack, three internal wires, and a cable cinch, they will have more chances of featuring damage in any of these parts.

Most sound issues arise on wired earphones for cable damages since this equipment presents a higher chance of severing internal wires. As a result, wired earphones might be prompter to having defective volume control than wireless alternatives.

Wireless earbuds also present their own issue risk, which is less likely to happen. When you analyze wireless headphones, you’ll notice that they contain two vital aspects: battery and wireless signal emitter.

It’s safe to assume that any damage in a Bluetooth headphone’s wireless signal emitter will jeopardize functionality. The battery level is also an essential factor in the performance of this type of earphone. Wireless headphones can present connecting issues at lower charges, noticeably affecting sounds.

The issues mentioned earlier can negatively impact volume levels in particular cases. For example, wired earphones fostered a higher chance of presenting damages and diminished their loudness.

We can discuss more topics to make the differences between wired and wireless earbuds more transparent.

Different uses of wired vs wireless

As mentioned earlier, wired headphones can be driven to higher amplitude levels when connecting them to an amplifier. Wireless models typically won’t be able to feature amp connectivity. The reason for that is that wired earbuds are standard industry options for professional audio mixing, mastering, recording, and monitoring.

On the other hand, wireless headphones are commonly made for casual use, such as regular walks, jogs, travels, gaming, and home office work.

If you understand the concept of mixing and mastering, you’re probably aware that they are vital segments of music production, which predominantly require a critical hearing. A crucial part of enhancing the listening experience is knowing how to control volumes, so wired professional headphones contain minimalistic amplitude parameters.

When doing an everyday jog around the block, practicing exercises at the gym, traveling, or going through the commute, you don’t need to control the volume of your music or podcast in detail. Since wireless headphones are often optimal for such uses, they don’t feature much control over amplitude levels since it’s not needed. Instead, they just casually offer a regular “volume up” or “down” command.

Since wired headphones conduct their information through an excellent method in ideal circumstances, they tend to sound more organically. Wireless models, which commonly feature Bluetooth, usually won’t send information without it degrading for the technology’s limitations.

Apart from having a consequence in amplitude levels, the sound quality also degrades when comparing a wireless headphone with a wired one, with the latter standing in advantage.

Can you make wireless louder?

Still, although there are differences, and wireless headphones typically provide less freedom to operate volume levels adequately, there are convenient third-party solutions that might be helpful to “balance” that.

As mentioned a few paragraphs above, a wireless earphone will mostly depend on software. When connecting a Bluetooth audio system to your device and using Spotify, you’ll have the alternative to set volume levels through the Spotify app. The same goes for Youtube, SoundCloud, etc.

Without the assistance of hardware and depending solely on software, a wireless earphone will struggle to reach incredibly high volume levels and will have its dB range limited.

However, using third-party software may be possible to increase the loudness level on wireless earphones during specific situations. Open a composite panel on a DAW while having Bluetooth earbuds on and implement a limiter on a track. You’ll be able to not only crank volume up on the standard mixing controls but also on the limiting plugin, enabling incredibly high peak volumes.

This would be a reasonably specific solution. Most BlueTooth earbuds and headphones, such as Bose’s, Sennheiser’s, Shure’s, and more, typically feature an app plugin that allows for more extensive control of the equipment’s performance, including amplitude levels.

Júlio Roque

Júlio is an audio producer and sound designer. His experience and knowledge of audio and music drive him to write exciting articles related to plugins, hardware, and general audiophile gear.

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