We haven't used them much without headphones so I'm sorry I can't help more, but what I heard while setting them up was pretty good. Don't expect surround sound quality though. Our two year old daughter loves her headphones and these players were absolutely phenomenal on a recent long road trip. There are plenty of kid size and volume limited headphones out there so it may be worth a try to pick up a pair (or two) to try out. Good luck.