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.
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RobMathers already covered many ways. For terminal geeks, here is another way:
You can use the command line to set exact levels:
$ osascript -e "set Volume 0" # for mute $ osascript -e "set Volume 7" # for maximum volume
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:
$ osascript -e "set Volume 3.5" # for 50% volume
and (of course) you can use
$ osascript -e "set Volume 0.1" # for a really LOW volume… ;)
I'm surprised with the comments, about the fractional size precison. So, here are some technical details.
0.999999or like. The precision is as for
32 bit floating point. (reference: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/qa/qa1016/_index.html)
For the applescript
Apple scriptcurrently converting the entered applescipt decimal value (now between 0 and 7) to system-level value between 0 and 1.
deprecatednow, and can disappear in future OS X releases. (click here for the reference - search for set volume)
osascript -e "set volume output volume VALUE"
VALUEis an integer between 0(mute) and 100(max volume), what is converted to 100 linear system-level volume-value as: 0(mute), 0.01, 0.02 .... 0.99, 1.0 (max).
osascript -e "get volume settings"
what prints something like:
output volume:10, input volume:92, alert volume:100, output muted:false
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)
As well as the ways covered in the other answers, there is another simple way to get a volume lower than one box full or one-quarter box full.
Lower the volume to one box full:
Lower the volume to muted by pressing Volume Down (not Mute):
Press Mute to un-mute:
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 robmathers’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.
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.)
I just had the same problem with iTunes music being too loud on even the lowest volume setting.
The solution turned out to be that iTunes has a separate volume control. Turning that down reduced the music volume enough that I could turn up the system sound volume a couple of ticks.
This has the added benefit that system sounds are now audible over the music.
Very late to the party, but it doesn't seem that anything much changed in these 9 years that the question was posted.
Here's another way I discovered, that no one mentioned yet, which allows to use a very precise slider and doesn't require messing with a terminal.
Interestingly, the lowest values, based on the suggestions in this thread are:
osascript -e "set Volume 0.1": 0.014
osascript -e "set Volume 0.003": 0.001 (seems that setting to 0.002 and 0.001 also works, although it shows as 0 in the MIDI settings and I'm not sure that there's a difference).
At least on my machine, the 0.001 value in the MIDI app is noticeably quieter than the lowest setting of
Shift + Option + Volume Down