Drill holes in your tablet for better sound quality

diy_tablet_speaker_grilles

As devices get smaller and smaller, it becomes a bigger challenge for engineers to squeeze a product’s components into an ever shrinking footprint. [Bulgarien] certainly found this to be the case with his Asus Eee Pad Transformer. He was not impressed with the volume or clarity of the tablet’s audio, so he disassembled it to see if he could somehow improve its performance.

Once he got the Eee Pad apart, he noticed that the tiny speakers were mounted directly against the back of the tablet’s LCD screen, muffling the audio. He flipped the speaker over to face the back side of the tablet in hopes that it might improve the sound just a bit, but he didn’t think that was a sufficient solution. Using an old speaker as a template, he drilled through the Eee Pad’s case to create his own speaker grilles, lining the inside with a fine cloth to prevent dust from getting inside the case.

He says that the tablet’s audio is far clearer than it was originally, which makes this a pretty compelling modification for anyone that uses their Transformer on a daily basis.

Comments

  1. Jake says:

    Apple didn’t forget this on the iPad.

  2. MS3FGX says:

    It’s mind boggling that they actually mounted the speakers in there backwards. What could possibly have been the idea behind mounting them against the screen? Try to make the screen resonate?

    At any rate, it made for an easy modification so that’s good. Always love it when a mod makes the hardware closer to the state it should have been in from the factory.

    • Mike Nathan says:

      My best guess is that they didn’t want to include some sort of proper speaker grille and thought that aiming the speakers at the user (albeit through an LCD panel) was better than nothing.

    • JS says:

      Well I have seen one laptop model where the camera was mounted upside-down and the driver had to reverse the image.

      So it’s not surprising.

    • lordicewind says:

      Whoops, accidentally hit report in an attempt to reply -.- Ignore, please.

      What I meant to say, the sound usually does not depend on the orientation of the speaker “drivers” as they should be open on the backside of the membrane anyways. Just phase differs (front is back and so on), so they should both be mounted with the same side facing out. I’d rather guess they tried to form some kind of resonant air chamber inside the whole casing by closing off one side of the membrane like that, but with no opening to the outside and this little power, that’s still pretty much nonsense.

    • Hirudinea says:

      Another example for “Bad Industrial Design Monthly”.

  3. ChrisG says:

    Just my 2 cents of an idea here, but I’d rather back it with a thin rubber or latex, in the event that a liquid might be spilled on it – the “fine cloth” backing would be fine for dust, but humidity and spilled liquids would still pass through. I’m sure the whole case is not watertight, but adding larger holes such as these would have me being a bit more proactive towards foreign particles and liquids getting into the innards. black latex would be hidden well and can be taken from an un-inflated balloon, and epoxied in place, and I’m sure it wouldn’t affect the sound coming out any more than the cloth would.

    • draeath says:

      I second this idea.

      If you put a slight gasket around the ‘grille’ and sealed some stretched latex or something similar across that, it should function as a diaphram and minimally effect the sound. This would serve to maintain whatever ingress protection the device had as-is.

      Alternatively you could fix a rubber gasket or such and figure out how to get the speaker frame to push against it forming a seal. The speaker I see in the image is very similar to what I have on my 2-meter radio, and it forms part of the ingress seal all on it’s own!

    • cde says:

      I dont know of a single electronic device with a speaker that goes that far. The holes arn’t that big, and most people try not to get their electronics wet.

      Case in point, the holes in my TV, Dreamcast, Playstation2, ipod radio, pc tower and fans are big enough that you can stick a pencil in it. No Dust cover, no Waterproofing. It’s not really that necessary.

    • Bill says:

      Panasonic makes a “Tough-Book” ruggedized tablet if you really need one. I think it cost around $2000 US and weight about 3lbs.
      This is a totally useless mod. There are slots on the bottom side of the Asus Transformer for the speakers. The back-plate directs the sound to these slots which are quite large. No mods or extra holes would help.

  4. abobymouse says:

    Goretex would be a good material to use to prevent water and dust getting in.

  5. kim says:

    Nice with a Danish hack here! :D, Im a dane myself and this is the frisk Danish hack i’ve seen :)

  6. Bill says:

    This is a total useless mod. There are slots on the bottom side of the Asus Transformer for the speakers. The back-plate directs the sound to this slots which are quite large. No mods or extra holes would help.

  7. N0LKK says:

    Audio quality is so subjective,so I wouldn’t call this an useless hack. In the event I owned the product, and was dissatisfied with the audio, I’d want to hear one that’s modified before deciding to opening mine. Perhaps the impossibility to manufacture these with speakers that have a decent chance of sounding anywhere close to good, the expectation is that those who will spend a lot of time listening to audio from these things will opt for ear buds?

  8. K Waldron says:

    On my Asus TF if I look closely at the “Sides” of the unit down by the speakers, I can see very fine holes on both left and right sides. I believe these are speaker vents – and sound does come from there – I can also reflect sound back towards me using any flat item (like a playing card). Granted – the volume is low – lower than my iPhone, but apparently Asus was trying.

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