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07-30-2013 06:47 AM - edited 09-15-2013 12:51 PM
How to Disable HP ENVY IDT BEATS AUDIO to fix audio quality problems below, complete with REGISTRY PATCH!
I am noticing a multitude of beats audio problems on my HP Envy 17-3200t, both under Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro x64.
Problem one: 1. Beats audio cannot be disabled from the beats audio control panel. I untick the Beats Audio checkbox, but the effect remains enabled, at least partially. I can also adjust the sliders for beats audio, and it still effects sound quality. There is no way to disable beats audio without modifying the registry directly is my conclusion, or uninstalling the driver.
Problem two: 2. With beats audio disabled (by unchecking "Beats Audio" on the Beats Audio control panel (update: now fixed with patch)), the tone settings are reset after each reboot. The bass will be set at -12, and treble at +4. This is the same thing that happens if you uncheck "Beats Audio" using the control panel. If you toggle the Beats Audio switch off, each time it also will set the bass to -12 and treble to +4. Of course you know -12 bass adjustment with +4 treble is not adjustable via the beats control panel, you gotta switch over to the Windows control panel to see it. It results in loss of nearly all bass, and high amounts of treble. There is no way around it.
It is very hard to get good original audiophile quality sound without constant manual adjustment to the control panel settings. Someone at HP should make the control panel function as intended, and fix these bugs. But will they? Because as far as I know, these bugs have existed in the IDT driver for 3+ years, even for other vendors like Dell. There has never been a working IDT driver that allowed you to have proper sound playback, each one has SRS/Beats Audio playback problems.
If anyone knows how to submit these bug reports to HP, please do so, or post the instructions here. I have tested this with many different driver versions, including HP original stock driver. The updated one on the HP support page. And finally, the latest one that was found on the HP FTP to be compatible with my particular soundcard.
The registry patch: I created a patch for users, who like me, don't want beats audio sound effect garbage enabled. This is the only way to fix this problem.
download "Kill Beats Audio Bull Crap Patch" (disables SRS & Beats Audio, Limiter, Compressor, and HPTone plugins): http://strags.com/d2/killbeatsaudiobullcrap.reg
download "Kill Beats Audio Bull Crap Entirely Patch" (disables SRS & Beats Audio, Limiter, Compressor, HPTone, Eq, SysEq, SpeexRef, FFT, SpeakerMgr, and all other output plugins): http://strags.com/d2/killbeatsaudiobullcrapentirely.reg
Here is what is does.
SRS: The following registry key controls what is called SRS, a built in sound enhancement plugin that is the backbone for the Beats Audio "enhancements." (side note, Beats Audio is nothing more than a compilation of software sound enhancers, both on cellphones that have it, and on the laptops that feature it. It replaces or rebrands the old SRS sound effects that PCs and devices have been using for years). The registry key is located at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\LFX\LineOut\plugins\SRS, dword "load" controls whether it is loaded or not. set to 1 (default) to load the SRS plugin. set to 0 to disable loading of the plugin. This disables the Beats Audio interface on the control panel when set to 0.
HPTone: HPTone is another plugin that HP includes in the IDT soundcard driver. HPTone apparently is just another software sound enhancer. It is the plugin responsible for resetting the bass and treble every reboot. The registry key is located at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\GFX\LineOut\plugins\HPTone, dword "Load" controls whether it is loaded or not. set to 1 (default) to load the HPTone plugin. set to 0 to disable loading of the plugin. This disables the "feature" that resets the bass and treble switches every reboot when set to 0.
I also disable two other plugins with this patch, and I might add more later. Limiter and Compressor are probably just software sound enhancers, but they could be something else. Re-enable these two if you run into problems with chat programs, headsets, or USB/bluetooth devices, or any codec that might rely on these two plugins.
Limiter: this plugin probably is a software volume adjuster that is designed to prevent clipping. I personally don't want it enabled on my system, because I prefer not to have the audio stream modified as it plays back. I want to hear what's there originally. The registry key is located at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\GFX\LineOut\plugins\Limiter, dword "Load" controls whether it is loaded or not. set to 1 (default) to load the Limiter plugin. set to 0 to disable loading of the plugin. This just disables a hidden sound enhancer in the driver, that can't normally be adjusted via the control panel.
Compressor: this plugin probably is a software dynamic-range compressor, to enhance the "loudness" of music. It strips the amount of difference between soft and loud sounds. IT MIGHT do something else, like related to the Speex audio codec? Or something else? I don't know where this is used at, so I don't see any harm disabling it. I cannot confirm .. The registry key is located at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\GFX\LineOut\plugins\Compressor, dword "Load" controls whether it is loaded or not. set to 1 (default) to load the Compressor plugin. set to 0 to disable loading of the plugin. This just disables a hidden sound enhancer in the driver, that can't normally be adjusted via the contol panel.
With this patch installed, Beats Audio will no longer be adjustable via the Beats Audio control panel. The EQ still works, because that can easily be disabled via the control panel (the disable function works properly). If you want to similarly disable the EQ permenently, switch the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\GFX\LineOut\plugins\Eq, dword "Load" to 0. Two other keys of interest are HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\GFX\LineOut\plugins\FFT, dword "load", and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\IDT\Apo\GFX\LineOut\plugins\SysEq, dword "Load" which I believe are other sound enhancement plugins that might need disabled to fully disable sound enhancements within the driver. I don't have any idea what FFT or SysEq do yet. I would just always leave them enabled till we find out, if you go playing in regedit.
If you used either patch to disable Beats Audio and want to restore the settings to default (all plugins enabled), install this:
07-30-2013 09:05 AM
Please note that this is not endorsed by HP and using this may damage your system.
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07-30-2013 07:31 PM
It is not endorsed by HP, but it is impossible to damage your system with it. This is akin to disabling unwanted software on your computer. It was designed to be disabled, these are merely "addon" programs that HP installed as part of the IDT driver. These are completely optional components that are very buggy, and in fact damage the function of the computer just by being installed. HP should disable these driver plugins by default, because I don't know of any benefit to them being enabled or installed in the first place.
07-31-2013 01:54 PM
I believe what OrnahP is trying to say is that every user experience is different. The registry is essentially the heart and soul of the Windows OS. One wrong mistake could create an issue that is not very easy to solve depending on the tools available to the user. The biggest challenge is that pre-manufactured systems do not come with an OS install disk limiting the number of resolutions for registry issues short of a system restore followed by a full system recovery.
A user could potentially misread a registry path and make a change that was not needed and end with an undesired result. I suspect it is more of a legal precautionary statement more than it is saying "If you follow these steps 100% to the letter, you will damage your system".
09-14-2013 05:25 PM
Kudos for the work you did on this! I have a HP ENVY laptop w/ Beats Audio running Windows 8 (model m7-j010dx), and I'm experiencing these problems (gonna sound familiar, I bet): awful compression and (oddly enough) bass is massively filtered out. I actually didn't notice any audio problems when listing to music on the laptop speakers - it didn't sound awesome or anything, I just don't expect anything from laptop speakers (they’re just too small and under-powered to ever sound good). However, it became obvious that there are audio driver problems when I tried to digitally stream the sound to an external stereo (I use a program called Jamcast, which creates a DLNA stream (called "Virtual Soundcard") of all sounds coming off of Windows core audio engine – it’s a pretty sweet program for anyone who has all their music on a laptop and nice speakers connected to a DLNA-compliant external stereo receiver). No matter what Beats Audio settings or IDT driver settings I tried, the audio it produced always sounded BAD (as described above).
As an experiment, while listening to the crappy audio as-streamed to an external stereo, I plugged headphones into the laptop’s headphone jack (which triggers something in the audio drivers to prevent sound from going to the laptop speakers – makes sense if you’re actually listening to the headphones you just plugged in), and much of the audio problems disappeared from the streamed audio (it still sounded compressed & processed (not in a good way), but much of the bass re-appeared). Then when I unplugged the headphones, the streamed audio returned to its full crappiness. So, I have to assume that the IDT audio drivers are intentionally crippling the audio quality (i.e. compressing it and cutting the bass) whenever they’re configured to send the audio to the laptop speakers, and there’s no way to disable it (no matter what Beats Audio setting you’re using) – I think they’re doing this to mask the limitations of the laptop speakers – that’s SHADY BUSINESS. I want to decide if/how my music is processed, not some crappy drivers.
Here's what I did to work around it a couple months ago (I'll look into what you did w/ registry tweaks...): I completely ditched the IDT drivers (found under the “Sound, video and game controllers” in Windows 8's Device Manager), and instead use the stock 'High Definition Audio Device' driver that ships with Windows 8 (and probably Windows 7 as well). It’s sad, because in doing so you completely lose some of the other non-crappy features of the IDT drivers (like the microphone beam-forming & noise cancellation), but it’s worth it to me (note that you also lose all the Beats Audio features, but as far as I’m concerned Beats Audio brings nothing to the table, and only adds sound processing that I don’t like). The procedure is explained in this dude's video: http://youtu.be/MExhl8Gefpc
09-14-2013 06:37 PM - edited 09-14-2013 07:12 PM
Give the patch a try.. I wonder if it fixes your problems.
Only five plugins remain enabled by default now: Speaker Manager, Speex/whatever, FFT, Eq, and SysEq. The Eq/SysEq are easily disabled by just not using it - disable it in the registry for system resource savings, and to make sure sound is perfect w/o possibility of modification.
I left the Speex plugin enabled because I think it is used by some part of the microphone/sound recording mechanisms. Also, all the recording plugins remain enabled, so beam forming, etc should work perfectly, but I haven't tested it because I don't use it.
Speaker Manager I think has something to do with the management of sorrund sound configurations, I don't see the normal configuration tool most drivers have though to configure/change these settings. You can safely disable any of the plugins on the following registry paths to make sure all sound effects are turned off, which might help those who are doing the sound editing and need bit perfect playback (I wonder if someone who does sound editing could test it to make sure? It's better than installing the built-in Microsoft Windows driver):
Edit: I added a patch in the first post that disables ALL plugins on the output devices, EQ, FFT, Speex, SpeakerMgr, Placeholder, SysEq, etc in addition to HPTone, SRS, Compressor, and Limiter. You can install each patch over one another to downgrade/upgrade, or restore misssing settings.
09-19-2013 05:25 AM
Hi - I too am having beats related trouble with new Envy-17, see
I'll try the fixes listed above but I thought I share a some screen shots I took from another HP laptop (and Elitebook 8560w) - it's a "business" model so it comes with the SRS branded stuff not Beats Audio - but as you say, they are basically the same. The point is that you can disable SRS - and the headphone audio is good,
the fact that this works in SRS and not in the Beats version means that its just a bug, and it can be fixed with a new driver.
09-19-2013 10:14 AM - edited 09-19-2013 10:22 AM
the fact that this works in SRS and not in the Beats version means that its just a bug, and it can be fixed with a new driver.
anything can be fixed with a new driver. but do me a favor, after unchecking "Audio Enhancement" as you did, try to adjust the sliders under Audio enhancement. I do that on the Beats Audio side, and all the audio enhancements still have effect. It doesn't truly disable them, as the sound is still changed by using the disabled sliders.
I bet the HP Elitebook driver is better because it's designed with professionals in mind (who I am sure don't want this beats audio / SRS crap enabled in their professional work, sound mixing, etc), but I wanted you to try this to make sure. Also, after unticking "Audio enhancements" please try to reboot the computer. Then listen for bass, hasn't it been completely wiped out? You can also verify if bass is being adjusted by checking the Playback Devices control panel (Windows one, not IDT) by going to this location: Control Panel->Sound->Playback Devices->Right click Speakers / HP, go to Properties->Go over to Tone controls. It should be set to -12 bass, and +4 treble. And you can flat it to 0 0, but after reboot it resets back to -12 and +4. I found this is because HPTone plugin in the IDT driver is set to do this after every reboot. 😞
I just wanted to know if you truly disabled these "sound enhancements" and these stupid EQ adjustments on the Elitebook.
09-19-2013 02:11 PM
Hi woogles - yeah, when you uncheck the Audio Enhancements check box in the SRS driver, it reall y does disable them - the enhancement sliders (bass, treble etc) all grey out and the sound really is beter (as in not messed about), and sure you move the slider and it really makes no different. The thing I'm using to check this is playing this audio test file
Of course unchecking the stupid Beats Audio checkbox on my Envy doesn't disable anything (that I can tell) and the stereo seperation is still bad. Anyway, I'll the bass/treble setting on the Elitebook tommorrow, but I know what you mean about it whacking them up and down.
Anyway - I had a quick scan through the driver files and it does seem that the actual driver code between Beats, SRS and the Dolby OEM variants is exactly the same, but like others above have noted - it's all just configured by XML files and registry keys - it's concievable you could get the existing driver to start up like its SRS variant and then turn it off. I don't know if I've got the patience to hack that one out - I've actually just reverted to using an external SPDIF USB headphone driver (and old FiiO DAC-E10), and that works fine.
What I really want is someone from HP to say whether they consider this a bug or a "feature" - I'm sure there's some Beats marketting blurb that says "Beats lets you hear music the way artists intended it" - and in this case, I'm the artist and I'm not hearing it the way I intend......
09-19-2013 02:49 PM
So my patch does nothing for you? It works for me, except I still notice volume ramping up and down on occasion. I am even using the very latest driver, something off the HP FTP that is much newer than the one listed for the ENVY-17..