HP’s Beats Audio: Explained

Not all audio is created equal. The Beats audio implementations on HP PCs just sound better than the competition. It’s not just me saying stuff like that. So, while I have beaten that drum time and time again, I wanted to actually talk to the REAL experts about the subject. I mean, I’m a bit of a nerd, but Victor Lee is the kind of guy that I turn to when I need the straight scoop on audio.


Victor Lee is one of those guys that has a “Golden Ear” – that is, he can hear when something doesn’t sound absolutely perfect. (In fact, he’s caught sound irregularities in prototype units caused by crossed wires.) He also happens to work within HP’s desktop group, helping make sure that you get the purest possible sound and the best experience when listening to music on – or through – your PC (His official title: PC, Audio and Video Technologist). So, while I have a pretty decent grasp of the basics, I asked him to take me down the inception hole to the next layer. To help me – and you – be a better audio nerd. Here’s goes nothing.


envy 23 flo.jpgStep one is to provide the Beats sound profile. It’s a sonic signature that HP together with Beats AOC has established. Of course, the sonic signature changes from very large machines (like a 27-inch all-in-one) to a laptop. The difference in sound in Beats audio is that we adjust the settings in a very specific way (for example, even the music content above 10 KHz is tweaked).


The next step is the use of digital audio processing to optimize the audio hardware. Now, by audio hardware, we’re talking about the combination of the codec, the amplifier and the speaker.


So the sound gets optimized to deliver music more clearly than what is offered on most other PCs. We want to increase the dynamics and rich, fullness of the music as if you were listening to it live. This does wonders for those songs that have been dynamically compressed during mastering.


Back in the day, before Beats came on the scene, I used to notice that jacking up the bass was a cheap way to conceal weak treble reproduction. There is no cover-up going on here.


PC audio can sound so flat – because there is so much digital noise inside a computer. That affects both the low end and the high end (the stuff that Victor just mentioned matters the most). The Beats people figured out how to compensate for the problems. Usually, the first thing you lose in digital audio is the bass. The sound just isn’t as meaty.


Victor actually evaluated many audio codecs, amplifiers and speakers.  He picked the ones sounding the best.  He also made sure that the circuit design and their implementation were properly laid out to remove sources of interference.

Using that sound signature…and the right hardware are two of the ways you can side-step audio issues.


beats couch 2 - small.jpgThe typical problem with the amplifier is cost constraints. Take a larger all-in-one PC from HP, for example. It has four speakers on it – two left channel, two right channel. Each one driven by 2 Watts. That doesn’t sound like a lot of wattage (Hint: It isn’t!), but what we succeed in doing in loudness and quality is equal to or better than that of a 27-inch all-in-one computer that has two 20 Watts speakers. Our tech makes HP speakers WAY more efficient (in addition to being more

precise), Victor tells me, referring to some sound meter level tests he’s been conducting.


Turns out using 2 Watts to power an amplifier is pretty darn good. Since those 2 watt components don’t cost nearly as much, we’re able to reach way better prices on our PCs. “My speakers are way more efficient…and they get loud. The ENVY 23 is great for dorm room parties,” Victor says as a point of pride. Of course, if you opt for the extra, external Pulse subwoofer, you get an extra bit of bump.


We try pushing the speakers as hot as we dare, but we protect them by using a compressor and a limiter. Beyond a certain input, the output doesn’t increase anymore – reducing the risk of blowing out your speakers. (Or your eardrums. Or both.) Victor tells me that, “We have a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) that has multiple bands in the bass….and we actually reproduce virtual bass. It’s pretty convincing and you might not even realize that there is no subwoofer in our AiOs but they sounded like they do.”


Another thing that remains important is circuit grounding and avoiding line coupled electrical noise. If you have several wires crisscrossing each other inside the system, you’re introducing a LOT of interference into the equation. It might be cheaper and easier to bundle cables through a machine, but it won’t produce the best audio output – and that is exactly the sort of design issues that Victor keeps his eyes…sorry, EARS…tuned for during product development.


Inevitably, some people will want to plug in their headphones. Victor tells me that… “We take the same care in providing superior sound with headphones.  Our Beats desktop PCs, for example, have dedicated high performance headphone amplifiers for best in class performance with headphones, especially with Beats headphones.” That’s right, we’re not re-purposing the amplifier that pipes out to your speakers, we’re talking about separate, dedicated amplifier that goes straight to your headphones. Sure it costs a little more to build it in, but we think you’re worth it. 


So, it’s obviously built to get you the best out of your music.  Our Beats AiOs and towers also have a movie mode for sound.  It is optimized to let you experience the full dynamics in movie sound effects while maintaining the clarity of the conversation.


Did all this help? Or, if you need me to break out the ol’ projector reel, may I direct your attention to this recently unearthed video that succinctly explains what Beats audio means…



…and you thought it was just a matter of hitting fn+B to flip on the Beats audio to rock out.


If you have any additional questions or comments, chime in below. Or look for us on twitter tomorrow! Follow @MarkatHP, @gizmogladstone, @marcopena, @AFinnie, @windows, @kristinalibby, @brandonleblanc, @daniellaycock, and @windowsblog on Twitter for the #winchat. Between 12 and 1pm PT on July 17th, we’ll be hanging out for an hour and talking all about the difference good audio can make on your PC.

All right, class dismissed!


by sujirou
‎08-31-2012 05:32 PM - edited ‎08-31-2012 05:34 PM


HP beats control panel INTERFACE/ Application cannot be re-installed once it gets corrupted. HOW COME??? Already raised this on HP CATEGORY TEAM... no response.

by GizmoGladstone
on ‎08-31-2012 05:47 PM

I don't know how much this will help, but I found this in the forums....


I would suggest uninstall HP Beats Audio software from Programs and features of control panel, and install it back from here and check... ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softpaq/sp47001-47500/sp47393.exe


If you are refering to no able to engage Beats Audio using Fn+B Key Combination, I would suggest, Uninstall HP Tone Control and install The New HP Quicklaunch software from here... ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softpaq/sp50501-51000/sp50681.exe



If that doesn't do the trick and the corrupted files are still not coming out, it might require rooting in the registry...In short, I'd recommend going through the support forums if you're still running into problems.

by chiappy
on ‎03-15-2014 09:22 AM

I have a problem with the sound, volume goes up and down with the music automatically as if a compressor. I want to remove it because it is very annoying, if I have to uninstall Beat's audio, I will. Regards

by JF_Bernard
on ‎03-20-2015 02:43 PM
It seems I have the same problem Chiappy is mentionning. When the music volume goes up it also gets amplified, and when the volume goes down, the sound amplification goes down again, as if the dynamics of the music gets exagerated. It creates indeed a very annoying and disturbing effect in the music. The dynamic does sound weird, to a point where it couldn't possibly be an intentional effect. Would anyone at HP know why this is so and how to correct this? Chiappy, were you able to correct the problem? Thanks ! JF Bernard
by sauravtakri
on ‎07-14-2015 07:34 AM

Hi Chaippy and Bernard I too have the same problem with my notebook. I tried fixing the problem on my own for about a month. I tried all possible drivers IDT vovlume fix etc. But none of it worked.So I submitted my system for repair with HP. It has been with them for the past two days.


At first they were reluctant to even acknowledge my problem. First of all there is an easy excuse to it that, " Please donot use VLC or other high volume players, it could damage your system. Please use windows media player".  May be the fluctuations are less in windows player compared to others but it isn't just a media player issue.


I noticed the problem on live streaming media as well. May be shorter videos on YOUTUBE play fine I found volume fluctuations (although slight) in longer videos like documentaries etc. And for the other streaming sites such as DI.fm etc the fluctuations is just as bad as mediaplayer.


My point here is it is not just some "UNSUPPORTED" media player that people would point out, but everything else as well. I have tested with Digitally Imported (internet radio site i.e., di.fm). I didn't have the patience to check in SOUNDCLOUD or any other similar site. Feel free to test them out if you would 

like to,I have grown too impatient to even try. What's the point of trying anyway? You already know what you'll find.


I am just waiting for the HP service centre to call me back with a resolution. If they fix it I'll ask them what worked and let you know. You posted your comments on march,i noticed. If you've found a permanent solution meanwhile I would be really glad if you could please share it with me.


by Václav
on ‎02-06-2016 11:57 PM

Na HP Pavilion dv6 jsem nahrál přes webcam 500 svých písní, které jsem convertoval na MP3, editoval na Audio editoru ve free verzi a vytvářel jsem ve Windows Movie Maker videa, mám je na You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuPweclOBsI&list=UU9dsUe7Fcqvwem56-KHEzOg

Můj Pavilion dv6 přestal fungovat a nejnovější dvě videa 516 a 517 jsou nahrávaná již s Beats audio na HP Pavilion dv15 a je na nich slyšitelné, jak automatika hlídající úroveň záznamu zvuku nepříjemně a náhle sráží zvuk, což je známý problém již z doby páskových i kazetových magnetofonů, již tehdy se nedoporučovalo používat při záznamu automatiku, která takto ničí nahrávky.

Chci se zeptat jest-li je možné tuto automatiku úrovně zaznamenávaného zvuku někde vypnout, na dv6 tato

automatika nebyla, nakonec právě s mírným přezvučením se dá pracovat také jako s efektem, žádný zvukový technik již minimálně půl století nemá rád takovou automatiku záznamové úrovně, to je noční můra všech zkušených zvukařů, tak proč se toho Beats audio drží když je to zlá věc ?

IDT Surround na Pavilion dv6 bylo a je rozhodně kvalitnější pro záznam zpěvu a hry na kytaru a lituji, že není také v mém novém notebooku, při poslechu přes Beats audio chybí výšky a je tam příliš basů a hloubek, je to temné, dunivé, velmi nepříjemné ale je to taková hloupá méda ty basy, zvukaři vědí přece, že je lépe zvuk

přirozený typu hi-fi do 20000 hz minimálně a s minimálním zkreslením.

Velmi pracně se nastavuje laikovi ekvalizer a správné hodnoty ale je to řešení nikoli však pro záznam, navíc ta automatika neúnosně zesiluje zvuk strun v místech kde hlas má chvilku pauzu a na videích na mém kanále je u těch dvou nových jasně vše poznat.

Děkuji za případnou radu, jinak pokud nepůjde opravit Pavilion dv6 který již není podporován a nevyrábí se k němu náhradní díly, budu nucen pro záznam hledat jiný notebook, který nepoužívá Beats audio, tím nechci napsat, že je Beats audio špatné, jen pro mě osobně je extrémně nevhodné k mojí práci písničkáře.

Smiley Happy
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