not sure this is the right place, just wanted to save someone some time solving this as i was not able to find mention of this anywere.
When i migrated from Windows a while back, i noticed my max volume is much lower compared to what it was before the migration.
After digging around, I found out that my sound card volume was set to 50% by default for whatever reason, and this volume is nowhere to be found in the normal GUI as all the volumes I could find in default volume settings were at 100% and the volume was still low.
Solution - run alsamixer, press F6 to select your soundcard, crank the volume to 100% instead of default 50%.
Hope it helps someone.