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t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:45 am
by Ragnar
I recently purchased a "refurb" t520. I added an SSD loaded it up with linux mint 19 and I love almost everything about it.
Almost everything. The speaker is beyond horrible. I have a 20 dollar crappy smartphone with a better speaker. Are there any direct fit upgrades for the speaker or any improvements to the sound or am I stuck with something custom?

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:21 am
by MikalE
T520 is known for the crappy sound. I don't think it is the speakers so much as the audio amplifier. The audio amp is not replaceable as far as I know. There was an audio enhancement program I was using awhile back before reloading Win 7 to this machine after trying out Win 10 for a year, but I did not reload that program after buying the Flip4 and getting stereo audio Bluetooth working on this machine with Win 7. (Toshiba BT stack)

I seldom listen to music on my T520. That task is left to one of my T510's wired directly to a 500 watt home theatre amplifier and two 15" PA cabs. That is all that machine is used for.

But, on the occasion that I do, I use a BlueTooth JBL Flip4 speaker for the T520 and park it on my desk.

The T500 has the best audio I've heard from a T series machine.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:23 am
by dr_st
MikalE wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:21 am
T520 is known for the crappy sound. I don't think it is the speakers so much as the audio amplifier.
To the best of your knowledge, is this true across the entire **20 lineup? What about **30?

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:09 am
by MikalE
I don't know. I only have experience with the T500-T510-and T520.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:41 am
by Screamer
Ragnar wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:45 am
Are there any direct fit upgrades for the speaker or any improvements to the sound or am I stuck with something custom?
I am afraid not, and those are typically not any better than your T520's 1.5W 8 ohms-rated pair of speakers.

You could try messing around with the PulseAudio equalizer for your Linux Mint installation, though. It might improve the horrid sound quality that is coming out of your T520's Conexant CX20672 audio codec.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:49 pm
by Thinkpad4by3
MikalE wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:21 am
T520 is known for the crappy sound. I don't think it is the speakers so much as the audio amplifier. The audio amp is not replaceable as far as I know. There was an audio enhancement program I was using awhile back before reloading Win 7 to this machine after trying out Win 10 for a year, but I did not reload that program after buying the Flip4 and getting stereo audio Bluetooth working on this machine with Win 7. (Toshiba BT stack)

I seldom listen to music on my T520. That task is left to one of my T510's wired directly to a 500 watt home theatre amplifier and two 15" PA cabs. That is all that machine is used for.

But, on the occasion that I do, I use a BlueTooth JBL Flip4 speaker for the T520 and park it on my desk.

The T500 has the best audio I've heard from a T series machine.
T450 beats the living crap out of the T500....and yes I put them side by side.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:34 am
by Ragnar
Thanks. Maybe Ill just pick up some amplified external speakers that are powered by USB. Probably the simplest solution.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:15 am
by MikalE
Bluetooth is possible too, though I had a heck of a time getting it to work.

There is a codec, or program, or a small piece of software or firmware that has to be included in the BT stack that Windows 7 does not include. After reloading Win 7 but before loading the drivers, I downloaded and installed an older Toshiba BT stack and BT has been working ever since.

With the original installation of Windows 7 on this machine Bluetooth never worked with stereo audio with the factory BT drivers.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:26 am
by Thinkpad4by3
If you really wanted to there is always the possibility of dragging out the soldering iron. A small GOOD amp might fit and leech off the headphone jack or something and fit in the ExpressCard bay.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:46 am
by TPFanatic
dr_st wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:23 am
MikalE wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:21 am
T520 is known for the crappy sound. I don't think it is the speakers so much as the audio amplifier.
To the best of your knowledge, is this true across the entire **20 lineup? What about **30?
I have noticed the poor speaker quality on T520 and T420. The T410 speakers were louder. They both use Conexant.

T430 switched to Realtek. The speakers are also quiet, but the clarity is this muffled crap with the Realtek drivers - with the Windows HD Audio drivers the clarity is fine. :??:

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:44 pm
by Ragnar
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:26 am
If you really wanted to there is always the possibility of dragging out the soldering iron. A small GOOD amp might fit and leech off the headphone jack or something and fit in the ExpressCard bay.
I considered that. I have a small cheap amp but it isn't small enough to fit anywhere. I wonder if I can get something really tiny ? I use the DVD drive so no room to hide something there.

Re: t520 speaker upgrade?

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:04 pm
by Thinkpad4by3
Ragnar wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:44 pm
Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:26 am
If you really wanted to there is always the possibility of dragging out the soldering iron. A small GOOD amp might fit and leech off the headphone jack or something and fit in the ExpressCard bay.
I considered that. I have a small cheap amp but it isn't small enough to fit anywhere. I wonder if I can get something really tiny ? I use the DVD drive so no room to hide something there.
https://www.adafruit.com/product/987

Hook that up to the original speakers. The ones on my T450 look like the same tinny s**tshow but the amp in my T450 with Dolby on make it sound fantastic so I don't think its the speakers.