Bubble Wrap Cure For Nexus 7 Speaker Distortion


[Home Brand Cola] is quite happy with his Nexus 7 with the exception of the built-in speaker. It produces fairly good audio quality until he reaches about 50% volume level. Anything above that produces distortion. He figured out how to fix it using a small piece of bubble wrap.

The eureka moment came when he was using his Nexus 7 and discovered he could fix the distortion by gripping the top and bottom parts of the case strongly between his finger and thumb. This led him to realize that the speaker unit is a bit loose and the unwanted noise is produced when it vibrates against the case. The video after the break shows the fix, which places a strip of bubble wrap (looks to be about 1″ by 3″) on top of that speaker unit. When the case is snapped back together the packing material helps hold everything in place and now he can use his tablet at full volume without any problems. One of the comments on the Reddit thread asks about heat problems with the addition of this plastic. He’s been using it for a few weeks and so far no issues there.

40 thoughts on “Bubble Wrap Cure For Nexus 7 Speaker Distortion

  1. At least he used the pink ESD safe bubble wrap… Oh wait. Well, at least there’s no ESD sensitive CMOS circuitry in a cell phone… Oh… Well, at least it’s not my phone.

  2. I’ve never had bubble wrap of any type last an appreciable amount of time in storage. The air eventually leaves the bubbles. Thus, I can’t see this being useful as any sort of viable long term solution.

  3. “[Home Brand Cola] is quite happy with his Nexus 7 with the exception of the built-in speaker. It produces fairly good audio quality until he reaches about 50% volume level.”

    So he’s “quite happy” about it except for a horrible manufacturing defect?

    Hmm, I don’t recall anyone having to crack open iPads and add foam… Android users seem to have major Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to defective products.

    1. Unfortunately, from where I sit, I have to agree with you. The entire Android realm looks like a mess of steaming WTF, not a finished product. Not even close to what I’ve seen from iDevices. I don’t like Apple at all, but Android is barely a competitor in my eyes.

    2. It’s much more affordable. And you aren’t strangled by iTunes to sync everything. I love it personally. But, I have a pretty high degree of computer knowledge. So it’s hard for me to sympathize with Apple users. I just don’t see the same problems.

      1. One’s degree of computer knowledge has little to do with it. Apple’s products tend to have a more refined and pleasant experience.

        Look at it like this: being an expert in food chemistry means you can consistently put out a broad range of food with a certain level of quality, but it doesn’t make you the chef of a Michelin 3-star restaurant. For that, you need a solid understanding of food chemistry, a solid foundation in design and composition to make your meals attractive, an impeccable sense of taste and a willingness to boldly experiment with it, and skill in tying it all together into a memorable and well-curated presentation.

        It’s also not for everyone. Some people just prefer a backyard cookout with friends and family and there isn’t a chance in hell that anyone could drag them into such a restaurant. Nor would everyone be able to easily afford the whole package, so there’s always a place for working class takeout diners that serve tasty meals on the cheap.

        Android is in some ways like McDonald’s. (Bear with me — I don’t intend for it to be a put-down.) It started out cheap, got cheaper, spread everywhere while adapting itself to regional tastes and values, and then began really investing in design (in Europe at least; the Mickey D’s in Berlin Hauptbahnhof looked kinda classy the last time I was there), finally branching out to compete on other companies’ turf; McCafé gives Starbucks a run for its money, for example. In the end though, it’s still McDonald’s, there are still myriad locations with quality all over the place, and on top of that, reputations are hard to shake off. But, you can have it your way, usually.

        Apple, going by the Android-is-McDonald’s analogy, would probably be something more along the lines of what you’d get if Shake Shack, Au Bon Pain, Muji USA, and those small and trendy coffee shops in Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Portland came together and intermingled to create a premium fast food & coffee chain. A dollar menu would be goddamn blasphemy at such a place, but you would get decent value for the menu items you’d be asked to buy, not *entirely* out of league with McDonald’s premium menu items. If you’d ask the barista to put ice in your espresso, though, expect a weird stare and a flat-out refusal; that’s the price you pay for damn good espresso.

        (iTunes on a Mac, by the way, is a joy to use. [It’s not even bad on Windows, if you don’t mind the resource usage.] I’ve been on iTunes before I even got my first iPod, so there. And honestly, there are no comparable options to iTunes 11 in the FLOSS or Windows world. AmaroK, Banshee, Rhythmbox, and Windows Media Player are pale imitations, and there’s no damn way I’m going without a meticulously organized media database, so forget VLC or Winamp. If that makes me a slave to Apple and a Mactard, so be it. I’m happy with the product I’m getting. And as 0c noted, iTunes is no longer really necessary for syncing iOS devices.)

        And yeah, that turned out way too damn long. My apologies, but that’s what caffeine-induced insomnia can do to a person….

    3. Instead of bitching and moaning, Android users solve the problem? I have the same tablet and encounter no distortion issues and I don’t see any proof that this is a widespread issue.

      1. Well, mine does this. Mine also runs Android fairly poorly (stuttery and glitchy) without a vice like grip over which processes are left running, and is also starting to fall apart along the left edge. Yes it is well looked after. Yes it lives in a case. No it has never been dropped.

    4. Are you serious? How soon we forgot the video of Steve Jobs holding an iphone the “special” way so it works as a phone. I’m not pro-android but at least be honest about it…

      1. The Nexus 7 is positioned against the iPad Mini, which costs about $100 more. Try playing with both devices and you’ll realize even that comparison isn’t a fair fight. The Nexus 7 has inferior build quality to an iPod from ten (yes, ten) years ago.

        It takes a lot of time and effort to engineer audio in small products because it’s the intersection of electronics, EMI, acoustics, physics and product design. It’s probably more difficult to get right than e.g. wireless because audio is a sense that humans can perceive and are generally very sensitive to.

        Regarding defects, a Google insider told me that the low price of this device compounded the problem of defect returns early on because many people bought a Nexus 7 who could afford the tablet but could then not afford return shipping to Google!

  4. I bought 3 Nexus 7s and they all went back to Google. Great software, but the build quality was utter crap. The screen covers were starting to lift off, and I also had the speaker problems. This was within the first week! ASUS really messed up.

  5. The speaker buzz indicates a failed and defective speaker. The best way to fix thus is to get a replacement. I’ve had three of these Nexus 7 fail within a week of receiving each one (for speaker problems) and now I’ve observed that number 4 has a dead pixel. Probably RMAing this for a refund and just getting something else. Asus has proven that that can’t build a quality tablet.

  6. As others mentioned, glue is the best choice. If you want it permanent, use epoxy. If you want it temporary, use either contact cement or possibly some kind of latex caulk.

    I once bought (actually still own) a set of speakers with loose backs on them. They sounded like the speakers were blown, but they weren’t. I put something like 25 wood screws in each speaker to re-attach the loose panel. They still sound fine today, 25 years later.

  7. Hi Mike

    Nice write up, it’s great to see people willing to open their kit in an attempt to fix it most people would have just lived with the problem. I’m surprised the bubble wrap doesn’t A) get hot B) cause other sound related issues and C) other issues, its now been a few months has the fixed past the test of time?

    Best wishes

  8. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon everyday.

    It will always be useful to read through content from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.

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