Speakers sound quality

Environment always matters for sound. That goes double for a laptop with speakers that face downward. Upward-facing speakers are less sensitive to environment, but they have their own drawbacks including acting as an intake for dust and dirt.

If you have your Framework on a hard surface, the audio is crisp and clean but lacks bass. Maximum volume is limited; it’s loud enough for desktop use but isn’t up to the task of filling a room. You will want a separate speaker for that. Good overall; a subwoofer would make it better but there is no room for one in a thin and light laptop.

Sound will be more muffled if you put it on a soft surface such as a chair or mousepad. You should be careful about using the Framework on such a surface in any case because it will limit air circulation; the system takes in air from a vent on the bottom. It will be fine for casual use, but if you plan to run anything that will push the system hard you should make sure that the airflow is unblocked.

Floating in air, the sound will seem less loud than on a suitable surface. The surface reflects some of the sound from the downward-facing speakers to the user. In my tests it also seemed a tad less crisp, though not as much as on the soft surface.

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I’ve played around with this a bit more and had some surprising results. Floating in air the sound has actually been louder than while sitting at my wood desk. Could just be that was in a small room where sound was echoing off of things more. I’m not noticing any difference when the laptop is sitting fully on my desk vs. when I put it so that the speakers hang off the edge. Voices still come out quiet and a little muffled when on Zoom. I have the speakers turned up to a significantly higher level than on my older Thinkpad and I’m still straining a little to hear. It is completely workable but wearing a headset is now preferred for most calls.

Chiming in here – I find the audio quality to be relatively good (for a laptop), and was surprised initially especially by the clean bass, though there’s a lack of separation. But this is in Linux (Fedora). I just compared with Windows when typing this up, which seems considerably worse, in my opinion. In comparison, treble is overemphasized to the point it sounds shrill, and that clean bass is no longer there.

Probably can be fixed with an equalizer/drivers/etc., or maybe my Windows audio is off, unsure. But seems like the speakers are capable of decent sound quality from using it in Fedora.

Brad’s Hacks improves the Matebook’s sound quality using Equalizer APO here (look under the “Frequency Response Correction” tab), and he recently received the Framework laptop, so maybe he’ll do something similar. I don’t daily drive Windows now, but if anyone wants to look into improving Windows sound quality, that’s a ticket.

Recent daily driven reference points:

  • XPS 15 9550
  • Huawei Matebook X Pro (2018)
  • listen to music regularly on JBL LSR305 Reference monitors

The Framework’s speakers are possibly the only aspect of this laptop where I find myself wanting for more. Even at 100% volume, there are times when I’d like to get more output (e.g. trying to play music with other environment background noise).

This seems like low-hanging fruit in terms of swap-in components. Would love to see Framework prioritize easy wins like this for owners.


compared to the dell 55xx line i’ve used for work (precision i think), an older 13" MBPro and the older lenovo laptops i’ve been using, the speakers on the frame.work are really good. I haven’t compared to some more audiophile setups, but I was impressed with how well they sounded. this was youtube and some local files on linux (kali live usb and Slackware) that I was listening on. To amp the volume, i’m used to a mixer that lets you set volume to more than 100% or vlc. I was impressed that the speakers sounded good even when not on a hard surface, as most downward facing have to bounce off something to sound good. Not really any sort of test, but general observatoin is, they are better than i expected. Though, some sweet upgrades would be nice. I’d be curious what the output limitations would be, wiring in a module from a usb-c port vs only upgrading the speakers. I mean, have a module that is a DAC/Amp that exposes speaker connectors inside the laptop, so its a semi-permanent module, that would allow an upgraded audio source. More powwah and stuff.

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The speakers themselves I found to be quite good, but the laptop case seems to have created a kinda wide band of resonance between 350 to 500 Hz, at least when measured using the laptop’s own microphone (not the best testing setup, I’ll admit). I used the following youtube video + Audacity to record the resulting sound: 20 - 20,000 Hz Audio Sweep | Range of Human Hearing - YouTube

You can see the resulting “frequency response” below, and the two large peaks on the left are around 350 to 500 Hz.

For me this resonance was really painful as it made listening to speech difficult. These frequencies amplify the fundamental frequencies of the human voice, making it harder to pick out consonant and vowel sounds created by the higher pitched overtones.

For benefit of doubt, the resonance might also be exacerbated by my room, which is really echoey to begin with. Either way, I wanted to remove this resonance.

I remedied this issue on Arch Linux using Pipewire (a drop in replacement for JACK, PulseAudio, and ALSA, so you should be able to use it right away) and EasyEffects (a plugin for Pipewire)

See this wiki for more details: PipeWire - ArchWiki

Using EasyEffects I added an EQ on the output with the following settings:

4 Bands, IIR (on the right hand side)

360Hz: Q4.00, -7.72 dB
420Hz: Q4.00, -5.15 dB
450Hz: Q4.00, -4.53 dB
480Hz: Q4.00, -8.75 dB

I set this up really roughly without proper measurements. I’m sure with a better microphone and room I’d be able to get a more accurate frequency response, but this rough EQ was enough to give me a listenable setup and I’m finding podcasts / educational videos much more enjoyable to listen to again.

Has anyone else found a similar issue regarding the resonance of the laptop case? If no one else has this issue, I suppose it’s just caused by my room.


Alternatively, refer to the following image:


I need to adjust my balance to about 40% to the left (50% is centered) to get sound centered on the screen.
Is this typical?

Software fixes notwithstanding I would really like an option to slot in bigger speakers in the future… That’s like the only part of this laptop that doesn’t meet my (very long and picky) list of things I wanted.

@gracefu thanks for the info about your setup. I’m a fellow pipewire + easy effects user considering purchasing a framework.

With some other laptops I’ve had issues with easyeffects detecting the difference between using the laptop speakers and having headphones plugged in, and then loading/unloading plugins based on that.

Do you ever have issues with that? Eg: you have this EQ applied for speakers output but when you plug in headphones it is still applied and you manually need to disable the EQ.

@cameron_lambert I have no issues with preset autoloading, no. EQ is applied on speakers and unapplied on bluetooth earbuds. I haven’t tested aux, which is the only situation I can imagine easyeffects not working correctly, but I’m sure it’s not too hard to bind EQ loading/unloading to something for convenient switching.

@gracefu - Thank you! What a difference that EQ profile makes with these speakers.

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I’m alway using this FX Sound (https://www.fxsound.com/) to improve on the sound of any laptop. Have you tried with the Framework laptop (still waiting for mine)?

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I’ve had my Framework for a couple days now. It hasn’t seen any heavy usage yet, so take my opinion with that in mind.

My initial reaction as that the speakers SUCK. I was actually surprised at how bad they sounded. In that moment, I was sitting in a recliner with the laptop on my lap, so the speaker holes were firing half into my legs, half into the soft fabric of the recliner.

Last night, I was sitting at my kitchen counter and decided to watch a Youtube video (a professionally produced video with good sound characteristics) to give the speakers another try. With the laptop on a hard surface, the sound was definitely better and more clear. However the balance seems way off. Highs seem okay, but the lows seem muddy. The sound also sounds kind of hollow and echo-y overall…almost like the sound is bouncing around the inside of the case before getting to my ears.

I am no audiophile and there is A LOT I don’t understand about sound. What I do know is I’d rather watch a Youtube video or listen to music using the built in speakers on my phone rather than the Framework.

This is the one big thing (really the only thing at this point) that I’m unhappy with on the Framework. I’ve seen people referencing wanting bigger speakers. I guess what I don’t understand is, if a smartphone can have decent sound with little tiny speakers, why can’t a laptop have great sound with even bigger speakers?

Perhaps there are some adjustments I can make somewhere to improve the balance…if there are and someone would be gracious enough to point that out, I would appreciate it.


if you’re on Windows, you could try this:

or this on Linux:


Awesome, thanks. For now I’m just using Windows so I’ll take a look at FX Sound.


I just took a look at it myself. If their free plan doesn’t allow for it, you might want to look at another program to apply the EQ changes mentioned in the linux solution. I’m sure there’s free software for windows for that.

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Here’s my attempt at improving the sound of the speakers. I have a calibrated measurement microphone (miniDSP umik-1) and set the laptop on a table with the mic about a foot back from the palm rest, and about 8 inches off the surface. I created a “semi” anechoic environment by stacking sound absorption panels on the sides, back, and top of the laptop.

I used REW (Room EQ Wizard) to record the frequency sweeps of the both speakers playing together. Based on the measurements, I used the EQ tool in REW to automatically generate corrective EQ. I limited the correction to between 100 Hz and 10 kHz and also applied a low end roll-off starting at 250 Hz. The dark red line is the raw measurement, and the light red line is the “predicted” response after EQ is applied. I did not repeat the measurement after applying the EQ since I created the filters later.

Then I applied the filters in EasyEffects (using pipewire) and set them to autoload the preset when the speakers are playing. NOTE: the leftmost filter at 101 Hz is a low shelf, the rest are “bell”.

This is my first attempt but I think it made a noticeable improvement in the sound. They are much less tinny and sound more natural. I don’t know how much variation in frequency response there is unit to unit, but I’d be curious to see if others think it makes an improvement to their laptop. I will continue to measure and tweak as I have time.

A few notes about the measurement… as you can see the speaker output falls off quickly below 400 Hz which is not surprising given their small size. However I did notice that below 400 Hz is where most of the audible buzzing and rattling came from the case so I essentially chopped off most of the signal below 400 Hz. The rattling is gone but of course when listening to music through the speakers there is no kick drum or bass, but it’s a worthy tradeoff for me.
There is also a rolloff in the high frequency starting around 7 kHz, likely due to them being down firing speakers. I found that boosting the treble to extend the high frequency to 10 kHz helped a lot with making voices sound more intelligible.
I had a big resonance at 450 Hz that I think is really important to tame since it showed up in multiple measurements for me, including using the internal mic, which was also noted by @gracefu.


It was on a wooden dining table. Sound absorber panels were made from ~3 in. thick rockwool insulation.

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I compared my FW to my Fire Tablet from Amazon for audio and the Fire tablet is quite a bit louder. I can’t speak to the sound quality but watching netflix on the FW wasnt working while moving around. I can hear the Fire Tablet much further away while doing chores. The tablet is only 1/4 inch thick…
They could be louder, its my only disappointment with the laptop.

Edit… I just installed FX Sound as suggested earlier…Its Free! and it makes a huge difference.

Thanks for the idea!

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