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Why Are Laptop Speakers So Bad? (And what to do about it!)

Many people turn up the volume to the highest level to enjoy music. But since laptop speakers are relatively modest, their sound can sometimes never be great because it gets distorted at higher volumes. So, why are laptop speakers so bad?

Laptop speakers are so bad because laptops can’t accommodate large speakers, leading to a tinny sound. Additionally, laptop manufacturers don’t invest a lot of money developing a good acoustic design. Also, laptop speakers can sound bad due to incorrectly configured programs or OS settings.

This article will discuss why laptop speakers are bad in detail, including how laptop design affects speaker size and why it matters. I’ll also share a few helpful tips so that you can improve the sound quality of your laptop.

Bad sounding laptop speakers

Why Laptop Speakers Are So Bad

Laptop design matters when it comes to designing the speakers as well. Although size isn’t the only factor affecting a speaker’s sound quality, it is a major one. The sound quality is just good enough for moderate music listening and communication purposes. 

Some of the reasons why laptop speakers don’t sound good enough are highlighted below:

Limited Space for the Drivers

The drivers require some reasonable space to reproduce good sound. Modern laptop designs are ultra-thin — they have limited space. So, laptop speakers have significantly smaller magnets and cones than full-sized PC speakers. Therefore these speakers produce smaller vibrations with a limited frequency range, limiting their performance. 

They also have a limited power supply which brings in additional volume restrictions. These limitations lead to the device having restricted tinny sounds sticking to extremely high frequencies, which fall within limits to protect the equipment from damage. 

The tinny speakers have lower excursion levels. The excursion is the measure of how far a speaker cone can travel. They carefully engineer these speakers to prevent them from over-excursion so they won’t get pushed beyond limits.

Additionally, the vibration frequency determines the pitch. A higher frequency gives a higher tone and vice versa. Similarly, the size of the vibrations determines the volume; this is why most speakers start shaking when they get too loud. You’ll often notice this with speakers that don’t sit in a heavy enclosure, such as those found in cars and, well, laptops.

Speakers with giant magnets and cones generally reproduce better, louder, and more accurate sound. So, your laptop’s speakers are limited by their design right from the get-go.

Incorrect Audio Settings and Software Issues

Sometimes your laptop speakers may sound poor because of an imbalance in the drivers or default software settings. If you’ve noticed that one side of the laptop gets louder than the other, you can fix the imbalance by adjusting the L/R channel. Here’s how to do it on Windows laptops:

  1. Right-click the Speaker icon in the bottom right corner.
  2. Select Sounds.
  3. Go to the Playback tab.
  4. Select your laptops’ speakers from the list and click on Properties.
  5. Go to the Levels tab.
  6. Press Balance and adjust the L and R sliders until it sounds right.
  7. Hit Apply then OK.

Laptop Speakers Aren’t Designed for a Large Audience

Laptop speakers are suitable for portable and personal use, but they’re not suitable for a large audience. The speakers reproduce sound that is just loud enough for the person using the computer at a very close range.

Therefore, entertaining an entire room with laptop speakers is impossible because the sound will become distorted at higher volumes. If you ever had a teacher that brought their laptop to school to show the students a documentary, you’ll know what I’m talking about!

How Can I Make My Laptop Speakers Sound Better?

Great sound quality enhances what you’re doing on your computer, from gaming and movies to music. Improving your laptop’s sound quality can boost your experience.

You can make your laptop speakers sound better by updating audio drivers, changing sound effects, turning on spatial sound, using software for audio enhancement, or running a PC repair tool. Alternatively, you can buy a pair of headphones or portable Bluetooth speakers.

There are several ways you can make your laptop speakers sound better, including:

Update Audio Drivers 

To update your audio drivers, use the following steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R.
  2. Write “devmgmt.msc” then click OK.
  3. Expand Audio outputs and inputs.
  4. Right-click on the laptop speakers (the exact name differs between laptops), then click on Update driver.
  5. Click on Search automatically for drivers.
  6. The system will automatically download and install any available driver updates.

Audio driver updates sometimes come with new features and improved audio quality. Therefore, ensure that you installed the most recent audio drivers. 

You can also perform a quick search online by typing in your laptop brand and model to find the appropriate audio drivers on your manufacturer’s website.

Change Sound Effects

You can change your laptop sound setting using the steps below:

  1. Right-click on the Speaker icon on the taskbar.
  2. Select Sounds.
  3. Go to the Playback tab.
  4. Select your laptop speakers and press Properties.
  5. Click on Enhancements.
  6. You’ll see several options, such as Low Frequency Protection, Loudness equalization, Room Correction, Virtual Surround, Bass Boost, etc.
  7. Try to experiment with turning on different enhancements until you find a suitable mix that boosts audio quality.

You may tweak your enhancements further using the Equalizer. It’s also in the Enhancements tab, but you’ll only see it on select laptops and audio devices.

Turn on Spatial Sound

Spatial sound refers to an immersive enhanced audio experience that creates a virtual 3D space. Spatial sound offers a more enhanced atmosphere than regular surround sound. Here’s how to enable it: 

  1. Right-click on the Speaker icon on the taskbar.
  2. Select Sounds.
  3. Go to the Playback tab.
  4. Select your laptop speakers and press Properties.
  5. Go to Spatial sound.
  6. Click on the drop-down menu and select Windows Sonic.
  7. Click Apply then OK.

You can also install additional sound software such as Dolby Atmos for use with headphones.

Use Audio Enhancement Software

You can also try using sound enhancement software to improve your laptop sound. Various software with audio enhancement functions can help you customize all speaker outputs. They often include:

  • Audio equalizer for regulating the frequency response curve.
  • Various sound enhancement algorithms.
  • Speaker calibration.

Boom 3D

Boom 3D is an audio enhancement program that can help you get an immersive 3D sound experience in your music, games, and movies. The app adds significant 3D enhancement to your music or streaming. 

With this software, you can play music from your internal storage. Also, you can access more than 20,000 radio stations from the internet. The app comes with: 

  • 31 band preset equalizer
  • Volume booster for increasing the volume
  • 3D sound technology
  • Separate volume controller for the app

Run a PC Repair Tool

If you have unusual sound issues with your laptop speakers, you can try fixing them using a Windows repair tool. My favorite is CCleaner because it’s an all-in-one solution. It can update all outdated drivers, fix registry entries, and remove junk from your PC.


Laptop speakers are bad because of the challenges in space availability caused by the ultra-thin design of modern laptops. The drivers have to be tiny to fit into the limited space available. 

Thankfully, you can boost your sound experience using numerous software techniques. You can also opt for external Bluetooth speakers or headsets, which may come with additional enhancement software for a more entertaining experience.