Yeah, I was a bit disappointed by the article as well. No doubt following the suggestions will improve things, but I'm looking for something that will simply increase the volume on my system without requiring me to tweak each app. On a related note, my notebook has on board sound (Centrino). I have circumvented the problem with a Creative USB soundcard - much, much improved when routed through some active speakers. Another interesting thing is that using headphones plugged into the onboard soundcard, I can crank the volume beyond the limits of my ability to bear it, which suggests that Vincent's original suggestion that there must be some way to increase the volume is right.