I just changed the order of events and made sure audio session mode was being set AFTER default speaker was set. It did not increase the volume.
It would be interesting to see if there were 2 audio units, but I’m not sure if even the person who created the answer solved his own volume problem with it.
I upvoted the answer and am getting friends to upvote it as well. I would gladly put more bounty on it, but I couldn’t find the bounty button after I edited the question. I think maybe because there is already a bounty on it?