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Low Volume Output with 3.5mm USB C Adapter and iPad Pro

This has left me totally confused! When using the official apple USB C - 3.5mm headphone connector with my iPad I experience noticeably low volume levels. When I plug the same connector and headphones into my Mac, the volume is correct, but when plugged into my iPad (latest pro model) it is maybe around 60% at most. This seems to suggest the issue is not with the connector itself.

I have tried everything I can think, including making absolutely sure 'Reduce Loud Audio' and any other accessibility options are turned off on the iPad. When testing with a different USB interface (Presonus 24C) the volume is correct/identical between Mac and iPad.

Does anybody have any idea why I would be noticing such a big difference specifically with the USB C 3.5mm adapter? I feel like I have ruled out all the obvious solutions and am at a dead end.

Comments

  • godgod
    edited May 25

    Same problem here with iPhone 15 pro max.
    Not only that, but there’s another, an even more frustrating issue, with it: there is no speaker input while the headphones are plugged in. Like, iOS thinks that the headphones have built-in microphone - even though they don’t. I have also tried everything. Some apps allow configuration of input speaker to the device internal speaker, but most don’t. This is all so frustrating!

  • -I don't have enough knowledge to answer the OP clearly. Sorry.
    -I found the following through a Google search. (However, I’m not sure if they are relevant to the subject of this thread. Moreover, I have not read them. Sorry.)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/shv2bb/apple_usbc_dongle_us_vs_eu_differences/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/HeadphoneAdvice/comments/wt353e/apple_usbc_dongle_eu_version/

  • @god said:
    Same problem here with iPhone 15 pro max.
    Not only that, but there’s another, an even more frustrating issue, with it: there is no speaker input while the headphones are plugged in. Like, iOS thinks that the headphones have built-in microphone - even though they don’t. I have also tried everything. Some apps allow configuration of input speaker to the device internal speaker, but most don’t. This is all so frustrating!

    Good to know it's not just me I guess. Very frustrating indeed. No idea what the problem would be RE microphone input either...

    @cramdog said:
    -I don't have enough knowledge to answer the OP clearly. Sorry.
    -I found the following through a Google search. (However, I’m not sure if they are relevant to the subject of this thread. Moreover, I have not read them. Sorry.)

    https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/shv2bb/apple_usbc_dongle_us_vs_eu_differences/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/HeadphoneAdvice/comments/wt353e/apple_usbc_dongle_eu_version/

    Thanks! I checked the links but believe they are not related in this case (I am definitely using the higher voltage US version of the connector based on the model number).

    Would be very interested if anyone else has done this comparison and noticed anything. Not only is the volume definitely lower when using the connector with my iPad vs Mac, I am starting to be convinced the sound quality is poorer from the iPad too. High end frequencies seem oddly dull and compressed when compared to the same connector and headphones on my Mac.

  • @micro64 . You may need to max the iPad volume control to get full output.

    Also, check your Health Settings to make sure you've not exceeded your quota of loud volume for the month.

  • edited May 25

    Hi, @micro64.
    I found the following post/way. This is a version that enables ‘Reduce Loud Sounds’ toggle switch, not the version that disables it.
    I’m sorry if you have already read the linked post below and already tried the way before.

    Note: I guess it is not an officially/unofficially recommended method by Apple. So I don’t quote the post itself, just in case.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/255211581?answerId=260029369022#260029369022

  • @uncledave said:
    @micro64 . You may need to max the iPad volume control to get full output.

    Also, check your Health Settings to make sure you've not exceeded your quota of loud volume for the month.

    Definitely checked all of this to no avail, thanks for the suggestions though.

    @cramdog said:
    Hi, @micro64.
    I found the following post/way. This is a version that enables ‘Reduce Loud Sounds’ toggle switch, not the version that disables it.
    I’m sorry if you have already read the linked post below and already tried the way before.

    Note: I guess it is not an officially/unofficially recommended method by Apple. So I don’t quote the post itself, just in case.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/255211581?answerId=260029369022#260029369022

    Thanks! I did find that thread and had hopes it would work but unfortunately not. I'm thinking the lower volume might just be the way it is intended to work...

  • Possibly just an issue with impedance matching? What headphones are we talking about?

  • @uncledave said:
    Also, check your Health Settings to make sure you've not exceeded your quota of loud volume for the month.

    🤣 if I didn't know this is real, I'd actually applaud the EU for its sense of dark humor

  • edited May 26

    Hi, @micro64.

    I found the following post on reddit. It is a way to ‘disable settings(?) for headphones’ when connecting the ‘Apple USB-C to Headphone Jack adapter’ to a car’s AUX port. However, as the way is for iPhone, I don't know if the same way is possible on iPad. So it may not be helpful for you.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/17wwo0t/comment/l092yom/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=mweb3x&utm_name=mweb3xcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

    *
    I found a thread that might provide an indirect explanation to your question.

    Note: I particularly referred to the 1st, 17th, and 19th posts on the thread linked below.
    (However, there may be other important information in the thread.)

    1st
    https://xdaforums.com/t/apple-usb-c-to-3-5mm-dac-dongle-and-android-remove-the-power-limit.3917495/post-79249993

    17th
    https://xdaforums.com/t/apple-usb-c-to-3-5mm-dac-dongle-and-android-remove-the-power-limit.3917495/post-82901483

    19th
    https://xdaforums.com/t/apple-usb-c-to-3-5mm-dac-dongle-and-android-remove-the-power-limit.3917495/post-83109855

  • edited May 26

    @micro64 said:
    This has left me totally confused! When using the official apple USB C - 3.5mm headphone connector with my iPad I experience noticeably low volume levels. When I plug the same connector and headphones into my Mac, the volume is correct, but when plugged into my iPad (latest pro model) it is maybe around 60% at most. This seems to suggest the issue is not with the connector itself.

    I have tried everything I can think, including making absolutely sure 'Reduce Loud Audio' and any other accessibility options are turned off on the iPad. When testing with a different USB interface (Presonus 24C) the volume is correct/identical between Mac and iPad.

    Does anybody have any idea why I would be noticing such a big difference specifically with the USB C 3.5mm adapter? I feel like I have ruled out all the obvious solutions and am at a dead end.

    This really sounds to me like you are using higher impedance headphones than the iPad adapter can handle, hence the drop in volume.

    What headphones are you using?

    On my Sony MDR-7506 headphones I experience volumes that are equal with my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iPhone 15 pro max. On any higher impedance headphone, I experience a perceived volume drop as well.

    Also it is possible you bought a counterfeit Apple usb-c - 3.5mm adapter if not bought directly from Apple. a real one will say, “made by Apple in California” and “assembled in china model A2049” on the cable.

  • edited May 26

    I'm in the EU and my iPad goes loud af with headphones, it's a 9th gen imported from the US though, so not sure if that makes a difference. There's a setting in iOS 17.5.1 under "Sounds > Headphone Safety > Reduce Loud Audio" which isn't toggled.

  • edited May 26

    @kirmesteggno said:
    I'm in the EU and my iPad goes loud af with headphones, it's a 9th gen imported from the US though, so not sure if that makes a difference. There's a setting in iOS 17.5.1 under "Sounds > Headphone Safety > Reduce Loud Audio" which isn't toggled.

    The EU thing has no toggle and is enforced depending on a formula developed by Ursula von der Leyen while on the shitter that calculates the supposed "exposure" over time and then forcibly and irrevocably reduces the volume "to protect your hearing". There's no way to disable it because THE COMMISSION 🇰🇵* has decided so, short of a jailbreak and killing and disabling 'healthd'.

    . * no offense intended to North Korea

    (this information is based on 2021 data and iOS 14.2; there are multiple "systems" that somehow reduce or limit the volume, some of them can be turned off, but for all I know, the automatic reduction in volume once every few minutes along with a alert pop-up in the EU can't be disabled. This may have changed since 2021; if so, sorry for the rant! 🤦‍♂️)

  • Thanks everyone. Not sure if it may be EU volume restrictions as I am in Australia, no idea if the same restriction is in place here. I've also definitely made sure all settings such as reduce loud audio and anything in accessibility/health are turned off...

    @bpert said:
    Possibly just an issue with impedance matching? What headphones are we talking about?

    @bpert said:

    @micro64 said:
    This has left me totally confused! When using the official apple USB C - 3.5mm headphone connector with my iPad I experience noticeably low volume levels. When I plug the same connector and headphones into my Mac, the volume is correct, but when plugged into my iPad (latest pro model) it is maybe around 60% at most. This seems to suggest the issue is not with the connector itself.

    I have tried everything I can think, including making absolutely sure 'Reduce Loud Audio' and any other accessibility options are turned off on the iPad. When testing with a different USB interface (Presonus 24C) the volume is correct/identical between Mac and iPad.

    Does anybody have any idea why I would be noticing such a big difference specifically with the USB C 3.5mm adapter? I feel like I have ruled out all the obvious solutions and am at a dead end.

    This really sounds to me like you are using higher impedance headphones than the iPad adapter can handle, hence the drop in volume.

    What headphones are you using?

    On my Sony MDR-7506 headphones I experience volumes that are equal with my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and iPhone 15 pro max. On any higher impedance headphone, I experience a perceived volume drop as well.

    Also it is possible you bought a counterfeit Apple usb-c - 3.5mm adapter if not bought directly from Apple. a real one will say, “made by Apple in California” and “assembled in china model A2049” on the cable.

    Cheers, I don't think it's the impedance. I'm (unfortunately) using a pair of Beats Studio 3 headphones at the moment which are apparently 32 ohm, which should be totally fine from what I understand. I also confirmed I have a legitimate apple usb-c adapter with correct model number. These are all good suggestions though and I'm surprised I still can't find the source of the problem. I guess trying another pair of headphones might be another trouble shooting step when I can get ahold of some.

  • @cramdog said:
    Hi, @micro64.

    I found the following post on reddit. It is a way to ‘disable settings(?) for headphones’ when connecting the ‘Apple USB-C to Headphone Jack adapter’ to a car’s AUX port. However, as the way is for iPhone, I don't know if the same way is possible on iPad. So it may not be helpful for you.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/17wwo0t/comment/l092yom/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=mweb3x&utm_name=mweb3xcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

    *
    I found a thread that might provide an indirect explanation to your question.

    Note: I particularly referred to the 1st, 17th, and 19th posts on the thread linked below.
    (However, there may be other important information in the thread.)

    1st
    https://xdaforums.com/t/apple-usb-c-to-3-5mm-dac-dongle-and-android-remove-the-power-limit.3917495/post-79249993

    17th
    https://xdaforums.com/t/apple-usb-c-to-3-5mm-dac-dongle-and-android-remove-the-power-limit.3917495/post-82901483

    19th
    https://xdaforums.com/t/apple-usb-c-to-3-5mm-dac-dongle-and-android-remove-the-power-limit.3917495/post-83109855

    Yeah this does sound similar to what I am experiencing although I have already tried the fix on reddit to no avail. Cheers though!

  • edited June 2

    @micro64
    You might want to make sure that the version of iPadOS and Beats Studio3 Wireless’s firmware are both up to date. And I think there was a case where an iPadOS update fixed a problem with the Apple USB-C to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter before.

    *
    (Edited:1)
    The following two are my unsubstantiated fantasies/delusions.

    1: The TRRS plug (CTIA or OMTP) on the ‘for wired using’ cable product ‘X’ connected to the Beats Studio3 did not support (or was not supported by) the Apple adapter, and causing volume problem.

    I referred to the 6th post on the linked thread below.
    https://arstechnica.com/civis/threads/using-iphone-headphones-with-android-was-omtp-to-ctia-headphone-adapter.1286339/

    And the Audio-Technica web page linked below also mentions something similar to the above thread/post.

    Warning:
    The following is a quotation from Audio-Technica.com’s article. However, it is merely an arbitrary excerpt that can be conveniently interpreted for my fantasy/delusion.

    …… The incompatibility can cause certain features of the headset to not work and/or low or inaudible audio from either the microphone or headphones. ……

    https://www.audio-technica.com/en-us/support/audio-solutions-question-of-the-week-why-wont-my-audio-technica-headset-work-correctly-with-some-older-devices

    2: The Mac and iPad had different settings for the sound of the streaming platform in the volume comparison test.

    Example
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/109331

    (There is a problem with this fantasy/delusion - the example above doesn't explain how the volume would be the same if the Presonus 24C was used.)

    (/Edited:1)

    *
    (Edited:2)
    After that I found the following web page. The information not mentioned in this thread that might be relevant to the low volume problem is probably the resetting of the headphones, but I’m not sure if it would be helpful.

    https://earphonecart.com/blogs/guide/troubleshooting-your-beats-headphones-why-are-my-beats-headphones-so-quiet

    Reset Studio3 Wireless
    1. Hold down the power button and volume down button for 10 seconds.
    2. When the Fuel Gauge flashes, release the buttons.
    Your headphones are now reset and ready to be set up with your devices again.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/102377

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