May 26, 2020 update: MXPro_stock.txt has been updated with better measurements and EQ techniques! Go download it again in the “Frequency Response Correction” section.
The MateBook X Pro has some of the best speakers on any ultrabook. Unlike most laptops, it has 4 speakers instead of 2: there are a pair of up-facing tweeters under the speaker grill and a pair of down-facing woofers on the laptop’s bottom corners. The crisp up-firing tweeters greatly enhance soundstage and imaging. Nevertheless, these speakers are not perfect, and here’s some ways we can improve them.
The MateBook X Pro's speakers have a pretty awful distortion at around 511Hz. I've tested 4 units and all have this problem, so it's most likely a design flaw. The speaker vibrates against the laptop's chassis, which also causes the keyboard keycaps to vibrate.
Peal off the foam seal around the speaker drivers. Now, the speaker is decoupled from the laptop's chassis and no longer vibrates with it.
Put a thin strip of sponge or similar soft material under the speaker to separate the resonating components.
Per my ear, this mod successfully eliminated the distortion except at absurdly high volumes.
Other than a reduction in low treble, the frequency response stays intact. Very fortunately, this mod doesn't reduce bass.
A large part of why MacBook Pro speakers sound better than all other laptops is because they use frequency response correction and dynamic bass management. Let's give these to the MateBook X Pro.
- Make sure you have the latest audio drivers from Windows Update or Huawei's website.
- Install Equalizer APO. Apply this fix while you're at it.
- Search for Configuration Editor in the Start menu and open it.
- You are now editing the main config.txt for EAPO. Delete the default example filters in there.
- Right click and download this EQ correction profile (MXPro_stock.txt) and put it in %ProgramFiles%\EqualizerAPO\config. If you've done the distortion fix, use MXPro_mod.txt instead.
- Include MXPro_stock.txt or MXPro_mod.txt.
- Install DynamiQ. This will give you the frequency response you want AND the volume you need.
Note: remember to turn this EQ off when using external sound equipment such as headphones.
Before & After Comparison
I used Room EQ Wizard to generate a set of equalizer parameters that flatten (±2dB) the frequency response down to about 110Hz, which is the point beyond which the total harmonic distortion exceeds 10%. I used a high-pass to filter out the distortion-heavy frequencies below that. I refrained from boosting the top treble too much and gave it a smooth roll-off instead.
This is how the correction filters look in Equalizer APO. Notice that correcting the frequency response (especially extending the bass) requires some sacrifice of maximum volume. So, I created the DynamiQ algorithm to minimize this trade-off, to get excellent frequency response AND very loud maximum volume without switching between different EQ profiles. Go install it (and read about how it works) from Github. I swear this is gonna sound unbelievable compared to what MXPro normally sounds like.
Take my REW file if you want to fiddle around. It also includes a pre-modification measurement if you don't want to do the sponge mod.
Windows volume 100 is now much quieter and I have to use the Gain. Is that normal?
Yes, DynamiQ is designed to take advantage of the full amplifier headroom provided when the system volume is maximized. The Gain should give you back as much volume as before, if not more.
Should I turn off DynamiQ when using headphones?
Yes, DynamiQ is not for headphones, so you should turn it off.
Switching to generic Microsoft audio drivers in Device Manager disables the tweeters and makes the sound fecal. Don’t do it. Keep the default Realtek drivers.