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W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

W500/W510/W520 and W700/W701 series specific matters only
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MSKFAHIM
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W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#1 Post by MSKFAHIM » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:18 pm

Recent events have inspired me to think about upgrading the hardware on my W520 if possible. The first thing I'd upgrade, if I could, is the speakers. Is that possible? I don't really know what makes the volume on this thing so darn low. The audio quality seems really good when I use headphones. That tells me that the speakers must be the components holding it back. I have been using DFX Audio Enhancement software to make my laptop audible since I bought it.

Ideas?

Sleepy664
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#2 Post by Sleepy664 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:35 pm

There is not a chance of finding speakers that would fit into W520. Its speakers are custom made by some miniature speaker manufacturer.

Different speakers could probably be installed after doing some extensive modifications to the chassis. I don't think it is worth the hassle :?


And I think that speakers are only part of the problem. The onboard amplifier is also crap I guess... :roll:

MSKFAHIM
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#3 Post by MSKFAHIM » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:04 pm

Sleepy664 wrote:There is not a chance of finding speakers that would fit into W520. Its speakers are custom made by some miniature speaker manufacturer.

Different speakers could probably be installed after doing some extensive modifications to the chassis. I don't think it is worth the hassle :?


And I think that speakers are only part of the problem. The onboard amplifier is also crap I guess... :roll:
that's just sad.... plain sad!

Sleepy664
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#4 Post by Sleepy664 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:07 pm

Maybe if you don't need an actual stereo and a working Ultrabay, there is a lot of space in there for a speaker and cheap D class amplifier.

But that would require quite lot of hacking, cutting and so on...and it would probably end up looking awful.

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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#5 Post by Cigarguy » Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:17 pm

Why not get some decent headphones and be done with? No laptop, as far as I'm concern, comes with decent or even bearable speakers. At home it's hooked up to my stereo system which headphones on the road.

MSKFAHIM
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#6 Post by MSKFAHIM » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:29 pm

Cigarguy wrote:Why not get some decent headphones and be done with? No laptop, as far as I'm concern, comes with decent or even bearable speakers. At home it's hooked up to my stereo system which headphones on the road.
It's embarrassing to have to use headphones to listen to youtube vids/podcasts/etc. My ASUS F3Jr had a billion times better sound system installed in it. With W520, I always have to be in pin drop silence situation to be able to make out anything in youtube vids/movies/podcasts.

I want the sound to be loud enough so that I can hear things properly but not so loud that others in the house is bothered by it. But yeah, if I am in the mood, nothing beats connecting the system to stereo system (for music). For movies, I prefer headphones for some reason.

600X
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#7 Post by 600X » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:38 pm

If you want to stick with ThinkPads, the P50 is the first ThinkPad since the X301 that offers decent internal speakers.

As for upgrading your W520 speakers, your best bet is to look for physically compatible Ultrabook speakers. These are very flat and usually squarish while sounding somewhat OK. They are usually my first address when I upgrade speakers. If you are capable of more serious modding, then Tangband and flattspeakers offer some interesting solutions.


If an easy solution is what you are after, then check out my Dolby Home Theater guide at ThinkScopes.
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bit_twiddler
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#8 Post by bit_twiddler » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:10 pm

You might just have a problem with the wiring getting fried, like on my W510.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS5EBNhOgCc
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u666sa
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#9 Post by u666sa » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:53 pm

You can A) cut a bigger hole in upper cover, and B) install custom and bigger speakers that will fit, or A and B together. To do B you will have to disassemble your notebook (take upper cover off) and measure their width, height, and length, then go and find something that will fit. You could cut out old speakers out of brackets and install into them new speakers using epoxy. But honestly, I wouldn't bother, I have blue tooth speaker at home and a 3.5 jack with an amp at work. Just connect and listen.


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brchan
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#10 Post by brchan » Sat Jan 16, 2016 3:08 pm

Some people have reported that W530 speakers are a bit better than those on the W520. They are probably a drop in replacement, but am not 100% certain.

The dolby home theatre drivers included with W530 units also made the sound noticeably better.
Current Thinkpads: W530 (functional classic keyboard mod), X301, T61, T60, T43, A31p, T23, 600X, 770
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#11 Post by u666sa » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:51 am

Image


BT008. No wires, cheap. You are probably like myself, using notebook at home and at work, only 2 locations. You only need to install two sets of speakers, and it will connect automatically, and sound is still better than any known notebook speakers.

jedisurfer1
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#12 Post by jedisurfer1 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:04 am

Look up Dolby Drivers for the w520 like an automatic 30% volume increase. I know the drivers should be in the t420s page of drivers but they install for the w520.

Or on Windows 7

Right click your audio icon on the bottom right and select speakers in your playback devices

Select properties

Select Enhancements

Check Bass Boost, Loudness Equalization, maybe virtual sound.

Instantly louder.
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#13 Post by Saucey » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:51 pm

Thanks for the info Jedi!
The Dolby driver is excellent on this machine, very nice EQ settings too.

Not as loud as a Chromebook Pixel or Qosmio X305. :wink:
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MikalE
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#14 Post by MikalE » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:17 pm

I have the same crappy audio on my T520. My T500 sounds a lot better.

Are those Dolby drivers good for the T520 too?
A31p P-IV 2Ghz, 2MB, 2653-R6U
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600X
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#15 Post by 600X » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:52 am

MikalE wrote:I have the same crappy audio on my T520. My T500 sounds a lot better.

Are those Dolby drivers good for the T520 too?
My guide has a table that clearly states which ThinkPads are supported: https://www.thinkscopes.com/2015/12/02/ ... heater-v4/
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MikalE
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Re: W520: Can the speakers be swapped for better ones?

#16 Post by MikalE » Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:10 am

I experimented, but they do not work for the T520. Unable to install either manually or automatically.

Oh well. I still have the 500 watt HT amp and two 15" cabs.
A31p P-IV 2Ghz, 2MB, 2653-R6U
T500 T9600 2055-BE9
T510 i5 4384-DV7
T510 i7 4349-A64
T520 i7QM 4242-4UU Highly Modified

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