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starkid 03-15-2019 08:21 PM

Ugly Bass Sound. How to Configure?
 
The bass in all my music sounds bad (a harsh, overly loud thudding, like a speaker malfunction) no matter which player I use. I've tried fiddling with equalizers, but that doesn't seem to help; it just makes the base louder or softer (the harsh thudding effect isn't noticeable when I turn the base down far enough). The rest of the music sounds fine.

I'm using an 8-yr-old Dell XPS-17 laptop. uname -a:
Code:

Linux localhost 4.9.155-gnu-0-lts #1 SMP Fri Feb 8 23:14:21 UTC 2019 x86_64 GNU/Linux
The relevant output of dmidecode is
Code:

Handle 0x0023, DMI type 10, 6 bytes
On Board Device Information
        Type: Sound
        Status: Enabled
        Description: Intel(R) Azalia Audio Device

And for lspci it's
Code:

00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)
I first noticed this problem for the first time shortly after I upgraded to Debian 9. I'm now using Hyperbola (an Arch-based distro), which I installed on my laptop's other partition after the Debian upgrade, and the problem persists.

I've tried switching the audio sink to oss (in the Pragha player), but I get the error "Could not open audio device for playback" despite my having installed alsa-oss. I've also tried switching the sink to "pulse" (presumably pulseaudio) but I get the error "Your GStreamer installation is missing a plug-in." I have the base, good, bad, and ugly plugins (and pulseaudio and pulseaudio-alsa) installed.

What do I need to configure to change the bass? How can I figure out whether the problem is my hardware?

starkid 03-15-2019 08:26 PM

cat /proc/asound/cards
Code:

0 [PCH            ]: HDA-Intel - HDA Intel PCH
                      HDA Intel PCH at 0xf3c00000 irq 35

cat /proc/asound/version (ALSA is the only sound architecture that seems to work):
Code:

cat /proc/asound/version
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version k4.9.155-gnu-0-lts.


lsmod | grep snd
Code:

snd_hda_codec_hdmi    49152  1
snd_hda_codec_realtek    77824  1
snd_hda_codec_generic    69632  1 snd_hda_codec_realtek
snd_hda_intel          36864  4
snd_hda_codec        106496  4 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec_realtek
snd_hda_core          65536  5 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec_realtek
snd_hwdep              16384  1 snd_hda_codec
snd_pcm                90112  5 snd_hda_intel,snd_hda_codec,snd_hda_core,snd_hda_codec_hdmi
snd_timer              28672  1 snd_pcm
snd                    77824  15 snd_hda_intel,snd_hwdep,snd_hda_codec,snd_timer,snd_hda_codec_hdmi,snd_hda_codec_generic,snd_hda_codec_realtek,snd_pcm
soundcore              16384  1 snd

I don't see anything relevant in the dmesg output, just a bunch of entries nouveau and a few about ACPI and mounting partitions.

ondoho 03-16-2019 06:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starkid (Post 5974320)
I first noticed this problem for the first time shortly after I upgraded to Debian 9. I'm now using Hyperbola (an Arch-based distro), which I installed on my laptop's other partition after the Debian upgrade, and the problem persists.

same problem across two very different distros.
you also tried different media players, yes?
VLC, mpv, mplayer...
Quote:

How can I figure out whether the problem is my hardware?
record your soundcard output, then upload it so we can listen to it.

starkid 03-16-2019 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ondoho (Post 5974393)
same problem across two very different distros.
you also tried different media players, yes?
VLC, mpv, mplayer...

Yes, it sounds a bit different in different players but still bad.

Quote:

record your soundcard output, then upload it so we can listen to it.
Either something is wrong or I don't know how to do that.
Code:

arecord -d 10 -N output.wav
Code:

arecord -f dat -d 20 -D hw:0,0 test.wav
Both of these commands produced an output file that was silent. I double-checked my volume and tried playing them with aplay and vlc.

scasey 03-16-2019 05:16 PM

Sorry for the "is it plugged in" question:
You have tried different speakers or headset to rule out an actual speaker malfunction, yes?

starkid 03-16-2019 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scasey (Post 5974534)
Sorry for the "is it plugged in" question:
You have tried different speakers or headset to rule out an actual speaker malfunction, yes?

No, I hadn't. It does sound normal through headphones.

scasey 03-16-2019 06:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starkid (Post 5974541)
No, I hadn't. It does sound normal through headphones.

That would suggest that the speaker is “blown” <—soundman technical term. Sorry.
Can you test the speaker on another pc/tablet/phone?

Beryllos 03-16-2019 06:45 PM

Let's talk about speaker placement. Bass gets a boost when you put the woofer/subwoofer near any structural planes (floor and walls usually). The more intersecting planes, the more bass boost you get. On the floor in the corner gives the highest boost. On a table a few feet away from walls gives minimal bass boost.

business_kid 03-17-2019 01:34 PM

I'm a hardware head, principally. The low frequency makes woofers especially prone to failure, especially if you've been deafening yourself and being a nuisance to neighbours with your bass.

Try a car speaker or two (in series). They're large enough to give a decent bass, small enough not to be too vulnerable to overdrive, and 4 ohms impedance instead of 8, hence the suggestion of 2. You probably have a car? Buy them at a car scrapyard if not - they come cheap. If you can get reasonable bass with no noise, your speaker is shot.

There's basically no way this can be electronics, drivers or software stuff. Conceivably the sound card (≤5%), otherwise the speaker (≥95%).

People don't know when to limit bass. You've just found out :).

starkid 03-20-2019 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by business_kid (Post 5974757)
I'm a hardware head, principally. The low frequency makes woofers especially prone to failure, especially if you've been deafening yourself and being a nuisance to neighbours with your bass.

Try a car speaker or two (in series). They're large enough to give a decent bass, small enough not to be too vulnerable to overdrive, and 4 ohms impedance instead of 8, hence the suggestion of 2. You probably have a car? Buy them at a car scrapyard if not - they come cheap. If you can get reasonable bass with no noise, your speaker is shot.

There's basically no way this can be electronics, drivers or software stuff. Conceivably the sound card (≤5%), otherwise the speaker (≥95%).

People don't know when to limit bass. You've just found out :).

I have no idea what you are talking about. I don't blast music, and my thread is about the speakers that came built into the laptop. I don't know what cars has to do with this, and no, I don't own a car. I don't know what your percentages refer to.

scasey 03-20-2019 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by starkid (Post 5976020)
... my thread is about the speakers that came built into the laptop.

Aha. I was assuming we were discussing external speakers. My bad.

As they are internal, the only checks are headphones, which you've already done and reported there was no problem (right?) or external speakers, either plug in or bluetooth.

As there was no problem with the headphones, sounds like a "blown" speaker to me. While that can happen as a result of too high a volume, I've also seen it happen for no obvious reason. Perhaps the OEM speaker was defective.

Is there more than one speaker in the laptop? If so can you use the Balance control to identify which speaker is (might be) defective?

Beryllos 03-20-2019 09:04 PM

I just looked it up, and I see that the Dell XPS-17 has three speakers: left, right, and subwoofer. I have read a few complaints about the subwoofer going bad, as in this article for example:
https://www.dell.com/community/Lapto...7/td-p/4550377
and some users have replaced it, as illustrated here:
https://www.parts-people.com/blog/20...-installation/

Another idea is to disable or silence the subwoofer. I mean, that might be a quick fix if you don't want to replace it. Do you see a control panel or parameter that allows you to turn down or disable the subwoofer?

business_kid 03-21-2019 04:44 AM

You're obviously into your sound. Why are you farting about with internal speakers and not patching out to external ones? They're typically small, low power and overdriven. To want bass out of 2-3W speakers is laughable.

Beryllos 03-21-2019 05:06 PM

Indeed, I have to laugh at them calling any speaker that fits inside a laptop a subwoofer.

business_kid 03-23-2019 08:00 AM

The way to go in this territory is
  1. USB sound card 115200khz sampling with speaker plugs to attach your choice of speakers.
  2. on the Cheap - earphone jack to some kind of amplifier & speaker unit.
  3. On the real cheap - earphone jack to classy earphones, and deafen yourself.


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