Google Pixel's speaker problems have been fixed — probably

The Google Pixel has issues. It's still the best phone out there, but it's not perfect, and one such issue consistently been reported is the phone's single downward-facing speaker tending to distort at high volumes. What was initially thought of as a hardware malfunction appears to have been resolved (or is resolvable) using software.

According to a number of people who downloaded the February 2017 security update onto their Google Pixel this week, the sound issues appear to have been fixed — at least for some. Two commits to AOSP in January — one from Google and the other from HTC — tell the story of a company looking to both its internal software team and its manufacturing partner to figure out exactly what has been happening.

What does this mean? Well, as Russell Holly pointed out, it's very difficult to make speakers act identically inside a phone, since there are always going to be variances in temperature, humidity and slight alterations to the size and shape of the cavity itself. What Google can do is resolve the issue for the largest number of people through a software calibration, which it appears to be doing here.

Common Google Pixel problems and how to fix them

If you're using a Google Pixel with the latest security update, has it resolved your audio problems? Or did you not have one in the first place? Or have you still been unable to buy one?

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

  • Haven't had any speaker issues at all with my pixel xl but at least it patches some security issues 😊
  • Yes same here. Glad they are on the case anyhow.
  • Confirmed had a slight issue not as bad as some fully tested since the update last night cranked the volume up. Sounds as though the EQ has been adjusted/changed for the better 🙏
  • I agree, it sounds to me like they tweeked the EQ a bit, and it sounds fine for what it is, a single bottom firing speaker. I never really had a huge problem to begin with. I understand that there are legitimate issues with the phones, but I also think that a good portion of it is much ado made about nothing. I think a lot of this comes from angry Nexus fans who are upset that the phone(s) don't cost $400.00-$500.00, and frustration at the lack of ready availability several months after release. I also think the Nexus fans are justified in many ways. I think that for the 6p and the 5x not to receive the Google assistant with the Nougat update was a slap in the face after having purchased either model the previous year in good faith that they would receive timely and unfettered updates. Just my opinion.
  • I almost forgot to add, after almost 4 months since release, it's time for Google to fix the availability issues if they're going to compete with and price the same as the big boys. 2 months of scarcity for a popular, new product is somewhat understandable, once that starts stretching to 4 months and beyond, you start to tick off a lot of prospective customers who would of loved to have one, except for the fact that they can't be purchased.
  • So you think a bloke that returns his device and gets 5 replacement devices is just returning his faulty phones because he's upset the new device cost more than the previous model ?
    I don't think that's the case at all mate .
    Clearly some people are having problems .
  • I did have the issue on my XL, seems to have fixed it with the latest update. Very good. It is not a problem I noticed often but when I did was pretty blatant.
  • I think google is getting better at fixing bugs. previously we would have to wait for 6 months sometime for a fix. now with monthly security update google pushed bug fixes too
  • I'm on the 7.1.2 beta, so no update for me yet, but I'm hoping this does fix the issue. Not that it was ever a problem, really. I don't use Perfect Piano other than to test for the problem, and I've never noticed the crackle elsewhere. I'm just happy to see Google addressing it. Now if they could only get rid of the lens halo.
  • From the article - "It's still the best phone out there....." Wow, that's real Pixel love right there because the Pixel aside from frequent updates isn't a flagship device in terms of quality and specs despite being priced, marketed and sold as one. Pixel - "the iPhone you've always wanted, from Google now running Android." Lol.
  • What other flagship phone has better specs other than waterproofing?
  • Specs? The Oneplus 3T comes to mind...but nobody here will ever admit that. The S7 Edge (exynos) could be argued is also a better smartphone, at for ME.
    The Pixel is a phone that has almost every feature i hate combined in one ugly-as-hell package. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Which feature do you hate most? The great display? The great built? The excellent camera? The amazing performance? Google Assistant? The unlimited photo backup? Having the latest OS? Getting quick updates? Bloat-free stock Android?
  • The Htc 10 has better audio and sd card slot, samsung s7 and s7 edge all have sd card slots and I believe all these others has ois, and the new Htc Ultra has an sd card slot along with same camera as pixel xl and better audio than pixel xl and also has ois.
  • "because the Pixel aside from frequent updates isn't a flagship device in terms of quality and specs despite being priced, marketed and sold as one." Holy christ just because you do not like the phone does not mean it isn't a flagship. At the time of release (and still, to this day) it has top of the line specs and support. It is absolutely Google's flagship device regardless of your feelings.
  • It seems like 99.9% of Pixel users love the phone. The ones that hate it never used one and/or is too loyal to another brand to admit it.
  • The speakers in the Pixel were distorting, placement wouldn't remedy that. The main reasons distortion happens is a signal issue (poor signal quality or the amplifier is set too high and the output starts clipping), an issue with the speaker itself (amplifier putting out a higher signal level than the speaker can handle or the issues occur at the speakers resonant frequency), or the type of signal itself. Both examples that the blogs showed were very sharp and strong signals (an explosion and a sharp piano note). Some speakers can't handle that, and the issue is further compounded by the fact that these speakers are tiny. That might not be an issue on something like earbuds, where the signal doesn't have to be as loud since the speaker is in the ear canal, but in open air the speakers need to reach a certain level and that's where this starts to fall apart. I've seen speakers in TVs that can't handle similar audio and they have much larger speakers. In reality it's ridiculous to expect high output from such a small speaker with not distortion when some larger speakers can't even claim that.
  • Wouldn't be that much of an issue if it had dual front facing speakers like the 6P. The Pixel is just an overpriced Nexus to me anyway..
  • wat? How would speaker placement affect a software issue that caused the speakers to pop? That makes literally no sense. stop
  • Only had the issue with the speakers one time and it was while I had low to no network signal, this was during Waze telling route updates. Once I was in a stronger network signal location, the audio corrected and never happened again.
  • I doubt the "speaker issue" you are talking about was related to what is being reported. Network availability will not have affect on frequency delivery to speaker modules. Unless it chopped up your audio through poor buffering.
  • Okay, great! Now when can I actually buy a 128 black one? Its been almost THREE MONTHS since it has been in stock. The 'best Android phone' is no such thing if no one can actually buy it.
  • Did you join the waiting list on the Google Store? That's what I did. When they had stock, they just e-mailed me, I clicked the link, and I could buy it even though the store didn't have any stock. They are taking care of the wait listed people first. Click the little button that says "Join Waitlist" and you would have gotten one by now. I only had to wait a few weeks back when it was a month or so after release.
  • Yup. Joined from two separate emails and have never gotten anything from them.
  • At least it does not blow up m8
  • You do know that the Note 7 didn't actually blow up, right? The battery BURNED up. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Geez. Give it a rest. It's an obvious hyperbole. You don't have to correct him.
  • It's simple... Add a high pass filter and it's good to go. You won't hit speaker mechanical limits as quickly meaning you can get high output from the rest of the pass band.
  • I'm on the beta and it didn't fix mine
  • But did they fix the Band 4 issues (where the LTE signal drops every few seconds to no signal and doesn't even fall back to 3G)? I had to return my Pixel XL because of constant issues on AT&T. If they've fixed that, I'd consider buying another one (assuming I could get another 128gb black one before summer, of course).
  • How about noise cancellation issue on Nexus 6p ???!!!!
  • I have had 3 xl's that all have had wifi issues they do not like to connect to open wifi networks such as all walmart stores and all kroger stores some others to. You get to the accept screen to accept the terms and the phone wont let it come up to hit accept. I tried every possibly setting such as turning off wifi assistant and removing from saved list. And every time my unlocked Htc 10 would connect with never any issue so yes its a pixel xl issue. I even contacted verizon and they got google on the line was a month ago and they still have never even got back with me. Yes poor google customer service.
  • I had this issue but while speaking on the speakerphone. It was irritating and in the end I sent it back. Great phone, the camera is amazing and I'll get the Pixel 2 when it comes out.
  • Keep on trolling. Latest OS updates? Haha... Google is adding features to android that have been mainstream on OEM android skins for years.
    Great screen? Other phones have great/better screens.
    Great performance? Ooooohhhhh..... my phone opens apps 0.2 seconds faster...derp derp. Which isn't even true since various speed tests have shown the pixel phones to be slower than both the Oneplus 3 and the S7 exynos version.
    Google assistant.... absolutely useless to me since voice control still sucks.
    Build quality is average at best. A friend of mine recently purchase a Umi Plus, that costs $179, and has similar build quality with the Pixels minus the stupid glass window. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Similar build quality? Tf are you talking about retard. Dont compare a $900 premium built phone with the best current hardware and build quality to a cheap $190 chinese phone that was made just to only sell, and had to compromise on a lot of features and hardware compromises, along with that phone makes 0 or close to zero profit for the company. ****** comparison, go ahead and compare a $500K ferrari to a bugatti and the quality difference is small
  • And i for one actually prefer this design to an S7E as this phone looks more cool, and i can find a case to protect it along with a REAL screen protector. Google voice recognition sucks? You really dont have a clue what tour saying samsheep boi, i can talk to my XL across the room and ask it to navigate me anywhere, track any package, ask accidents, weather, events, anything, i turned that feature off but its still useful. And yes i have an S7E Snapdragon version