[HARDWARE MOD] Increase the earphone output volume of your 3DS (some models so far).

Discussion in '3DS - Tutorials' started by KipMudz, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. CharlieBrown9

    CharlieBrown9 Newbie

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    Ya, so I recently tried to do this myself, epic, epic fail!!!

    Killed the audio output in the left ear bud...

    Where to begin... I had trouble getting the percision required with tools I had, ended up getting solder spill between the fuse and it's neighbouring component...

    Tried to get that up but, ended up cooking the pub a bit... and to be safe, I ended up using a razor blade to cut the pub connection between the spill. Never again will i try something like this...

    To do this mod, requires at bare minimum $100.00 in soldering tools and then skill.. I made the mistake of trying this with nothing more than a $5.00 soldering iron... LOL

    Anyways, got lucky, found a talented tech, not only were they able to repair the unit they completed the mod for me! I took a look under the hood after I got it back, this guy had some serious percision skills. He managed to bridge the fuses for me with wires and soldered the wires at each end of the fuse. I wish I had hands that steady!

    So does the mod work, it's awesome! But get a professional to do it!

    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk
     


  2. piratesephiroth

    piratesephiroth I wish I could read

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    What was the 3DS model? I could do it on an O3DS XL.
     
  3. CharlieBrown9

    CharlieBrown9 Newbie

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    New 3DSXL

    Ya, mod was definitively worth it! I expected to be louder but it what I regard as normal now, you don't know how crippled Nintendo made the headphone volume until you have the mod. Rocking now with my audio technica headphones! The most noticeable improvement with this mod was indeed the sound quality, the bass and tribble, much fuller sound.

    Highly recommend it!

    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited by CharlieBrown9, Mar 18, 2017
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  4. Yepi69

    Yepi69 Vivid and busy gamer

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    To be honest, it's easier if you have a couple of thin wires hanging around and a good soldering iron.

    However I'm not gonna risk it

    Sent from my Vodafone Smart ultra 6 using Tapatalk
     
  5. CharlieBrown9

    CharlieBrown9 Newbie

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    just do what I did, call some local video games repair shops in your area and ask them if they would be willing to do this mod for ya.


    if there anyone in Australia who would like to get this done, I can direct you to the guys who do it.

    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited by CharlieBrown9, Mar 18, 2017
  6. CharlieBrown9

    CharlieBrown9 Newbie

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    so anyone notice if there speaker volume also increased by doing this mod? its just i had this done and it seems like my speak volume increased too.

    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk
     
  7. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    Well, it's definitely not impossible to do without using a super expensive iron. You're going to need one with a really precise tip though. This is one of the many many clones of the one I'm using just for example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01712N5C4/ Of course, as I said, I still had a lot of troubles even with this one and don't particularly highly recommend it. It MIGHT in particular actually be better to remove the SMD resistors first and then short the pads if they don't get damaged in the process. A good razor blade may suffice for this sort of purpose to help pull one side up at a time. Maybe... I was trying to bypass them without removing them and one was definitely burned out in the process, so if I hadn't completed the mod I really would have been screwed. The biggest problem in messing with components this small is normal soldering irons have fairly wide tips.

    Now, the particular one I linked to is a generic model. This is made in China by probably ultimately one company and then a million others rebrand it and resell it practically everywhere in the world as if it were their own. But you can tell that they're all the same just by looking at them. Exact same size, shape, control dial, etc etc. Heck, almost all are even the same exact color as they don't even bother changing that. You can find cheaper options than that (I got mine from DX rather than Amazon for probably $7 or so if I recall.)

    100% placebo. If you look at the pathways on the board this only goes to the headphone jack and no further. The speakers use a completely different pathway. I didn't really look, but I'd bet good money there are no resistors on them as Nintendo has direct control over that output segment (they can't control what headphones you'll plug in, but they absolutely can control the built-in speakers given that they can't be changed through anything less than extreme measures.) Sorry, I realize how frustrating it can be in some games that just don't have the output they should (7th Dragon, omg that "VR" area BGM...)


    Actually, I'm not sure, but there may be a simple way if you do really want better built-in speaker sound. On a whim, on my 2DS, I actually tried cutting a full hole out of the part of the case over the speaker. Now, obviously the 2DS is different (for starters, it only has one speaker, but it also has thicker plastic over the speaker) but the sound was considerably better. Not just louder, but it felt like more frequencies were making it through better without going sibilant (my ears are pretty sensitive to many higher frequencies and I had serious troubles with some fairly expensive headphones in the past because of this.) I tried it out in Project Mirai 2/DX and really felt like it sounded overall louder and, well, "cleaner." The actual coverage of the case over the speaker is pretty extreme with the holes being rather small and few. So this may block a lot of the output (or at least cause it to reflect around and lose power along the way.) I haven't really been brave enough to try this on my N3DS yet though. On the 2DS I kind of glued some speaker grill cloth over the cut out area to protect the speaker probably about as well (or maybe even better -- cloth tends to absorb moisture rather than simply passing it through) but this doesn't work out very well on the outside and is not only very ugly, but was hard to actually glue over it (I initially used hot glue wax, but I couldn't get it to stay as well as it should and had to complement it with some superglue.) If the cloth were put inside it would look better, but wouldn't be possible to stretch tight enough to protect the speaker from anything pressing against it. (Mind you, I'm not sure if that's really any real issue at all. It would protect it against anything but a direct impact from something pointy enough somehow going through the hole. I'm not sure if this even can happen by accident really. I worried about potentially dropping it and it landing on a surface with an edge or something, but mostly this is my paranoia acting up.)

    Perhaps someone with more craftiness could come up with something working around this sort of idea though. I'll admit there are some games where one would really want just a bit more output. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do beyond this sort of idea would be something like an amplifier raising the output -- and if you did that you'd need to change the speakers too because it's very unlikely they can handle much more than the stock output as it is (in fact, I'd swear I've heard clipping in something or other, but I can't remember what.) Better to do an external speaker mod running off of the headphone output IMO that to jump through hoops like that. (Something like the internal Bluetooth mod might be a good starting point. Just maybe have an analog output instead running to something relatively unobtrusive.)
     
    Last edited by Nazosan, Mar 24, 2017
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  8. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    So I have a question: has anyone opened up the Switch and looked at it? Based on the output I get when I connect speakers to the headphone port (nevermind unamplified headphones on their own...) I can only assume it must have the same output resistors that Nintendo apparently so loves. I have to admit I sort of don't appreciate spending this much on something like this and I have to run an amplifier in between just to use external amplified speakers, nevermind efficient low impedance headphones that normally don't need one to get at least decent output... The irony is, they haven't done any limiting to the digital output that I can tell, so when docked you get the full volume, but when connected via analog you're screwed.

    I won't be brave enough to mess with this for quite some time I imagine, but someday I may have to bite the bullet and do it anyway. I'm curious how bad it is. I'm guessing it's much the same as the N3DS, but I wouldn't be surprised if they made it even worse.
     
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  9. GuitarJav

    GuitarJav Newbie

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    Hi, thats extremly awesome, Is there a way to do this mod on the DSi XL, i really like to ear music in the moonshell, but sometimes the volume is too low. I would be grateful for life if someone could indicate me where the transistors are on this board. thanks in advance.
    [​IMG]
    It is not very comfortable to be using an amplifier with this equipment D:
    [​IMG] http://imgur.com/a/s8hWE
     
    Last edited by GuitarJav, May 5, 2017
  10. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    The DSi uses digital tact switches for volume control in software, you'd have to trace back the circuit to the source to find the resistor. At some point the signal is converted from digital to analogue for the port, so start with the output and trace back until you find a resistor on the line.
     
  11. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    If quality isn't that big of a concern (well, the DS definitely has a crappy sound system -- but I can't say about the DSi) you also have a couple of less extreme options. A Fiio E6 (which is still going to be better than the system's OPAMP anyway so you're still dealing with a weakest link situation here) would be a lot smaller and lighter so easier to deal with (and you could just velcro it onto the back out of the way. It's light enough it would stay right on without an issue.) Also, look at MP3Gain (and MP3GainGUI which should make it easier to use) and similar tools for other file formats. Normally the goal is to set gain to output at about 89dB (this is modeled based on 16-bits, but you just need to know what the baseline is here.) However, if you want it a bit louder you can actually go higher. You'll start to get some clipping, but if you keep it within reasonable ranges you're not going to be able to hear it. Especially if the DSi handles MP3s even only half as badly as the DS does... (And does Moonshell even support the faster processor speed? Or is it just running in DS mode?) I got the impression some of the quality loss was actually the decoder taking shortcuts presumably due to lack of CPU power, so it may even disguise much of this, but in practice even if it had perfect output, if there is very limited clipping humans normally can't detect it (which is good because most music is released already set loud enough to have a decent amount of clipping...) If I had to pick a number I'd say maybe something like 96dB might be a decent upper limit you could try setting it to.
     
  12. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Just shove an pair of LM386 circuits on each output channel, problem solved - they're a $1 each. I don't know why someone would remove a current-limiting resistor to boost sound volume instead of just amplifying the existing circuit. Heck, add a pair of higher quality speakers and you'll end up with one loud boombox.

    http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/200-Times-g...%3Ad7869b6615b0a9c424b5a6eafffe01ed%7Ciid%3A8
     
  13. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    1. Orders of magnitude increase in complexity in adding opamps versus simply bypassing a couple of resistors. It's beyond many of our abilities whereas simply shorting a resistor is almost easy. Many of us can't do that. Frankly, myself included. Bypassing was hard enough with the tiny size of these components.
    2. Unless you're doing a full blown circuit you're likely to pick up extra noise/etc in the process of throwing in an extra amplifier. An external amp actually uses filtering.
    3. This will actually use a bit more power. Yes, it's not much, but it's still something to take note of here and sometimes these systems don't exactly break world records for lasting a long time on one charge as it is. (Not just the fact that there is an extra layer of inefficiency in the secondary opamps, but the resistors themselves are actually a bit of waste and if you bypass them you're making the circuit ever so slightly more efficient when using the same volumes compared to this.)
    4. Actually cutting the pathways and adding this in would be very difficult and could very very easily go very very wrong...
    5. Fitting secondary opamps into something already so limited in room could potentially be quite tricky on its own.

    EDIT: I thought you meant the chips themselves. If you're adding these whole full circuits you've linked to there is no way to fit that in there unless you cut holes in the case and have parts stick out. Not... Ideal...
     
    Last edited by Nazosan, May 5, 2017
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  14. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    The circuit isn't complicated - if you look it up, you'll notice that almost everything you need is already on the chip. If you want to use the whole board as-is, you can desolder the connector - flattening the circuit shouldn't be too hard. As for where to put them, I wouldn't be surprised if you found enough space inside the system, but if that's not possible, you can always add a plastic grip - the DSi is too small for its own good anyways. This way you get proper gain instead of a tiny increase in volume at the cost of messing with the motherboard. I don't see any danger of messing things up as the speakers are connected with standard small gauge wire that can be cut into easily and patched with a shrink tube where needed.

    F65xKqIQR6rIl2uS.jpg

    Besides, as I said, this is something for those inclined who know what they're doing - it's certainly a more involved process, but it'd also yield superior results.
     
  15. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    Or, instead of an orders of magnitude of complication long way around external fix, just use an external amp or correct the cause of the problem itself.
     
  16. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    An external amp is great if you're planning to use headphones - you can shove those things into a classy tin of mints, or get real fancy and get a stereo amp. It doesn't work so well when you want to use the speakers though, which I thought was the point. It's also not really a "problem" per se, the resistor is supposed to be there. It's all getting circular though, my point was that if you really want to amplify the sound, you'll need an amp of some sort. I'm not so keen on altering current control within the circuit itself as I assume it was engineered this way for a reason, possibly to keep the signal clean or to limit the amount of current passing through the speakers.
     
  17. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    If you're powering actual speakers you definitely don't want to power it from the system itself. Not only would it drain the battery quite quickly (it's a pretty dinky battery if you're powering devices that use 1+ watts) but could even be a serious strain on the system components. An external amplifier is actually even more necessary then... Also, if the gain is too high (aka speaker ready) you risk potential danger to headphones plugged into the device. Actually, most portable speakers have their own built-in amplification anyway, but once again the problem comes down to the fact that the system's own limiting tends to make maximum volume insufficient unless you add an amplifier acting as a preamp. Which your "solution" would "fix" but once again with the aforementioned caveats and significant increase in complexity to the whole process whereas simply bypassing the resistors fixes it properly without said caveats and significantly less complexity.

    As far as external amps go, have you looked at the Fiio E6 I mentioned? (The previous poster is already using a much higher end Fiio amplifier, so that's why I thought of it.) It's definitely comparable or better than most CMoys (at least all but the ones that almost aren't even a CMoy anymore) other than the fact that it doesn't have a rollable opamp, but it's smaller even than a mini Altoids tin compared to a CMoy being designed to fit in a full sized Altoids tin -- hence my bringing it up. It's quite sufficient for any task where simply bypassing the resistors might be enough, but obviously it won't drive headphones that need really high voltages or a lot of current. (But then neither will bypassing the resistors.) But, again, using the system's own battery starts to push limits and a proper external amp is still a much better idea.

    The resistor isn't "supposed to be there" btw. Nintendo just does this as a volume limiting factor in pretty much all of their devices as they largely target younger audiences and presume they all use cheap low quality IEMs and earbuds. This has already been discussed in this thread.
     
    Last edited by Nazosan, May 5, 2017
  18. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    I was talking about the actual internal speakers of the DSi, I don't know what additional strain you're talking about. Nobody mentioned any portable speakers - if we were using those, there's plenty of suitable ones with built-in batteries and volume control already. As for the resistor, yes, it's supposed to be there, otherwise it wouldn't be there in the first place. :P
     
  19. Nazosan

    Nazosan GBAtemp Regular

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    This mod addresses the headphone jack.

    It's not "supposed to be there." This has been discussed already. Read the thread you're posting on.
     
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  20. tbb043

    tbb043 Member

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    Some countries in, I believe Europe, require any device for kids with headphones keep the sound under a certain level because they don't want their special snowflakes blasting it and going deaf over time. This shouldn't affect the speakers at all, just stuff that plugs into the headphone jack.
     
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