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.
Update: Huawei included the following fix in later-model MateBook X Pros.
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 (MXP.txt). If you have NOT removed the speaker seal, then download NoMod.txt too.
- Put the txt file(s) in %ProgramFiles%\EqualizerAPO\config.
- In Configurator Editor, Include the file(s).
- 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.
Recently I’ve got a problem with headphones buzzing noise. I tried to update driver, reinstall it, but without success. Every time I plug the headphones into jack I get same buzzing frustrating noise.
Do you have any suggestion how to solve this issue?
Thank you Brad for your prompt reply! I solved the problem after uninstalling Realtek driver and installing it from Huawei website. I got an option to choose (after plugging headphones) headset or headphone in notification panel.
Hey brad! I tried installing APO, then set it to control the speakers, reboot, then fiddled with the EQ and preamp but am not having the sound reflect any of the changes. Any ideas? what are your settings with the configurator?
First off, thank you for all of the documentation. Super helpful!
Second, could you tell me a bit more about the 3 separate HPF’s in APO? Unless each is addressing one individual speaker, I believe they would be completely redundant.
do I loose my warranty if I fix the speaker-problem with your method by opening the notebook and so on?
Good stuff. On a related note, I’m wondering if you’ve noticed a delay in “spinning up” the drivers to play the audio? I’m using the latest realtek driver. I tried mucking around with all the different drivers I could get working, and they all produced the same or worse results… Read more »
Hi Brad, thx for your guide. Can you please set a download link for your MXPro.txt EQ Correction Profile?
There doesn’t seem to be any.
Thank you for the tip. Will definitely do that as my left speakers distort strongly. Do you know what torx screwdriver size I need to open the back? Also where did you find that white foam? Is it necessary? Thx and regards,
Hi Brad, Thanks for your posts and tutorials, they are really great! There is something I’d like to ask you: when my Matebook X Pro is connected to the power, I can feel a “soft” but consistent and continuous vibration if I rub my hands on it. Well, of course… Read more »
Hi Brad, I can’t thank you enough for all the help you’ve been providing with the MXP. You helped me (and a lot of others) turn it into such a great laptop. You mentioned that your REW file has a pre-modification measurement for those who haven’t done the sponge mod.… Read more »
hey brad , actually my matebook x pro speakers were loud ,when i’m using potplayer software for watching movies ! but when i’m watching in other default media players like that comes with windows 10 os ,vlc , netflix or amazon prime, it sucks !!! The volume is too low!… Read more »
when you write “remember to turn this EQ off when using external sound equipment” do you refer to DynamiQ to turn off when plugging headphones or do you refer to the entire Equalizer APO?
To all of you having the issue that after doing this guide the sound seems much quieter then before. DON’T install the huawei sound drivers. If you do it you may also get a horrible blue screen loop :D…
Great tutorials Brad! Is there a way to configure this so the volume works more like “normal”? I admit I don’t fully understand most of what you are doing here but the “gain” above 100% volume is a bit annoying. Is it possible to have the same improvements while showing… Read more »
Hi. Thanks for the guide. I didn’t manage to get the Equilizer APO to work at first. Uninstalled it and cleared registry and reinstalled it made it works. Just wondering, what’s the difference between using the APOpreamp.exe to increase the gain vs using a preamp at the head of signal… Read more »
Hi, I did not understand how can I keep the Realtek drivers, going to device manager I see Microsoft Driver Installed, but looking into realtek audio console I see the newest version of realtek drivers written. I cannot find a newest driver on huawei site or with pc manager. What… Read more »
Lazardu, that’ll be electrical interference in your jack (the ‘noise floor’), very common in compact laptops. Try audio out of one of the USB (A, C, or use an adaptor for USB-3.5mm) or better yet, get a plug in external DAC for your headphones
Any plans on making this available for users like me running MacOS on the MBXP?
Do i need to uninstall dolby atmos sound system app when i fix frequency response? And another question if i want to reset settings do i just simply unistall Equalizer APO
Ihave the matebook x pro 2021 model and the distortion is hidious to say the least. They have the foam ‘mod’ on them but its still pathetic.
Im going to try and see id this soves the issue.