The lowest volume I can get by pressing the volume keys is still too loud when I'm wearing headphones. How can I make it even lower?
I have a Mac Mini 2011 (5,1) running Mountain Lion.
Pressing ShiftOptionVolume Up/Volume Down allows you to adjust in quarter-box increments. You can also click the volume icon in the menu bar and fine-tune with the slider, or open the Sound panel in System Preferences and get a bigger slider there, which would allow for finer control.
CanuckSkier already covered many ways. For terminal geeks, here is another way:
You can use the command line to set exact levels:
Just checked on my Mountain-Lion-running MacBook: the maximum is 7, not 10 as it was in Leopard. So, when you want the volume level to be 50%, use this:
and (of course) you can use
EDIT (june 4, 2014)
I'm surprised with the comments, about the fractional size precison. So, here are some technical details.
For the applescript
what prints something like:
So, in the future (when the possibility to set the volume level with decimal values will be removed) will be possible only 101 exact volume levels - as integers between 0 and 100 (inclusive). Of course, this is for the applescript, programmers at system level of course can use any 32bit floating number between
If someone want to know, the SHIFT+OPTION+VOLUME sets the next "output volume" (integer) levels: 0 1 3 5 6 8 9 11 13 14 15 17 19 20 22 24 25 26 28 30 31 33 34 36 37 39 40 43 44 45 47 48 50 52 53 55 56 57 60 61 63 64 65 67 68 70 71 74 76 77 79 80 82 83 85 87 88 90 91 93 95 97 98 100, what clearly shows: it using the floating point levels what are rounded to integer with applescript. (therefore mostly skips by 2 but sometimes only by 1)
When you hold SHIFT+ALTwhile pressing Volume UP/DOWN, you can change the volume in 1/4 increments.
I’m in what may or may not be a similar situation, with highly-sensitive earpieces. (Shure SE 535s, in case you’re wondering.)
The problem in my case is that the Mac’s headphone output has a certain element of noise to it: for most head- and earphones, this simply isn’t an issue, but for mine, lowering the volume to an acceptable point means leaving me free to hear the background static that much more clearly.
The solution for me is hardware rather than software: a little attenuator that plugs in between the headphone jack and my earpieces. I then turn the volume on the Mac up to 12/16, and use the attenuator to lower the volume to an agreeable level. That combination gives me both fine-grained analog volume control and a conspicuous absence of static. (Shure’s model is the EA650, and sells for a pinch over $16 at the time of writing; there may be others that work just as well.)
As well as the ways covered in the other answers, there is another simple way to get a volume lower than one box full.
This gives you a very quiet volume that is between mute and one box full.
This zero-box-full volume is even quieter than one-quarter box full, the minimum volume you can set with CanuckSkier’s Shift-Option method. However, if sound is playing while you set the volume using this method, the sound is muted for the moment between steps 2 and 3, which can be a little annoying.