Asus CX5 Chromebook and the strange issue with the speakers

I recently took advantage of Black Friday and bought an Asus CX5 Chromebook from Amazon. It was a great deal. I managed to get my hands on the Intel i5 quad-core model for just £599.99. Soon after purchasing this, I noticed they were no longer available, so I was lucky to get one at such a good price.

LATEST UPDATE: Good news, the speaker issue with the Asus CX5 has been fixed. Find out more in my latest post about the Asus CX5 speakers.

I went for the i5 model because I wanted to see what an eleventh-generation Intel i5 quad-core could offer. The fact is, not much more than what I can get from my Asus Chromebox Intel i5 dual-core eight-generation. Find out whether I think buying an Intel i5 Chromebook is necessary.

One of the first things I noticed was a really strange issue with the speakers. At first, I thought I was imagining it, then I thought it must have been the song I was playing. Nope, it was definitely an issue with the speakers or should I say software.

Asus CX5 speaker issue

The first thing I’ll say is the speakers on the Asus CX5 are pretty impressive. They are really loud and the sound is pretty decent. I decided to play Ocean Drive, which has a good bass line to it.

At first, it sounded fine, but then it sounded as if the left speaker was fading out into the right speaker. I thought it was strange because I could not remember the song fading out from left to right. I decided to play another tune and the same issue occurred.

Spotify on Chromebook
Using Spotify on my Chromebook

This was really off-putting and was really getting in the way of me enjoying my music. The issue was really noticeable, which had something to do with the sound generally being so good. When it was playing the music correctly, it sounded great, so it was really obvious when it started having these issues.

I had a look online

It took me a whilst to try and establish what was wrong. The problem was it was intermittent, which makes it more difficult to pinpoint. I took a look online and noticed other people had the same issue. They were describing the exact problem of music going from one speaker to the next.

Some people were suggesting issues with the speakers. However, I don’t think this was possible because it sounded intentional. This is why at first I thought it was the song. It sounded like the producer intentionally faded the music from the left to the right speaker.

Someone mentioned it sounded like a software issue, and I felt this was the most likely situation. I was somewhat relieved because software issues can be rectified. My Chromebook was up to date using the latest Chrome OS 94 and no further updates were available.

I reported the problem to Google

I decided to report the problem to Google. This is something someone suggested. To report a problem you’re experiencing on your Chromebook you can simply hold down Alt + Shift + i. You’ll then be presented with a dialogue box similar to the one you can see below.

The dialogue box that appears on your Chromebook when pressing Alt + shift + i

This is a really good way of reporting issues. I would strongly recommend doing this because it will help the team deal with any Chrome OS problems. The more people who report these issues the more information they will have to fix any problems.

My Asus CX5 received an update

I continued to listen to music throughout the day because I was struggling to understand what was wrong. It was frustrating because as I’ve already mentioned, it was really noticeable. In the end, I decided to use my Bluetooth headphones instead when I decided to have a music night with Spotify.

The next day I notice there was an update. I did not really look into it much and just decided to restart my Chromebook. This appeared to fix the issue I had with the speakers.

I don’t think my reporting the issue had anything to do with this fix. I’m sure people before me had already reported it, which makes me think it is something Google or Asus is aware of. It just appears I did not get the update straight away.

Summary

If you’ve just bought an Asus CX5 and have issues with the speakers. I would strongly suggest waiting a couple of days to see if you receive an update. If you do, this should hopefully fix the problem.

I would also strongly suggest reporting the issue because it is good for Google to have this data. The good news is it does appear to be a software issue rather than a hardware issue.

I’m thinking it may be something to do with the technology Harmon Kardon has used. It appears they’ve tried to make the laptop sound much better when the speakers have a surface below them. I might be wrong, but perhaps this technology was not working as intended.

18 thoughts on “Asus CX5 Chromebook and the strange issue with the speakers”

  1. I bought a CX5500 a few months ago and it had exactly this problem. I didn’t receive an update to fix it.

    I returned it and then ordered a replacement as I love the Chromebook otherwise. I got it today and it has the same issue again.

    Do you know what version of the update resolved the problem for you?

    Thank you , ALan

    Reply
    • Hi Alan

      Unfortunately, the fix was short-lived. The issue come and then went and come back again. I’m now stuck with a Chromebook with a speaker issue. I have spoken to Asus but they gave a very much template response, which was disappointing. Essentially stating I could send it back to them for repair. However, if they found no issue I would be charged. The fact it’s an intermittent issue makes me feel they would possibly state no problem and charge me for the privilege of them doing nothing.

      Reply
  2. I have the same issue with a purchase from June 2022. sound shifting from left to right to left and sometimes scratchy. I went for an update immediately which did not resolve the issue.

    Reply
  3. Thank you Dan for the information.

    All global consumers should have a heads up on this terrible issue.

    I recent bought a 15.6″ FLIP CB5500 Enterprise. I have the EXACT issue and it is really disappointing to be subjected to this from day one of a new machine.

    I contacted Google, along with your article, and they BLEW ME OFF and said ASUS is responsible for fixing this.

    With good intentions and hope, I now go to Asus for help. I will post the results here and elsewhere on the internet. Going to a Chromebook is a great thing, I hope ASUS does not cast a gray cloud over Chromebooks due to issues like this.

    Reply
    • Hi Gerry

      Thanks for your comments. It is really disappointing when the tech we buy doesn’t perform as intended. I’ve said all along this is a software issue and not mechanical. However, it appears from others I’ve spoken with that Asus has been treating as mechanical. This is because they’ve been asking users to send their Chromebooks in for repair. I don’t understand this because it’s obviously a software issue.

      The good news is. Once you upgrade to Chrome OS 103 the speaker issue with the Asus CX5 has been resolved. Great news for me and anyone else who owns one. I need to write an article about this to let people know. Again, this shows it was a software issue rather than hardware.

      My personal opinion, but I may be wrong is that it’s something to do with the Harman Kardon sound technology. Don’t get me wrong Harman Kardon has been around for many years and have a good reputation. However, I generally believe it was something to do with this, and it caused the issues people have been facing.

      I’m hoping the issue has now been resolved for good and it doesn’t come back in the future.

      I hope you get the outcome you’re looking for on your CB5500 Flip.

      Thanks for reading

      Dan

      Reply
      • Hi.
        Latest: Chrome version 103 did not resolve the issue.
        As you mentioned, ASUS is asking me to RMA the machine. I do not feel good about this but have no choice. I feel burned by ASUS.

        Reply
        • I’m sorry to hear that. I understand where you’re coming from, as I had the same issue with my CX5 but decided to keep it and hope it fixed itself with updates. Luckily for me, that worked. I hope you get your Chromebook fixed without too many issues. Dan

          Reply
          • So we are now at version Chrome OS 104 and the issue still persists. I made the decision not to RMA to ASUS at this point, even though ASUS encouraged me to do so. My instinct tells me they’re more curious to examine than they are ready to fix. I too believe it’s a software issue. I have a feeling one day magically it’s going to go away. If it doesn’t, I’ll deal with it towards the end of the 1st year warranty with ASUS directly.

          • It’s really strange you’re still having the issue because mine has now fixed itself with updates. Let’s hope this is what happens with your device. Yes, I had the same concern about sending my Chromebook off for Asus to look at. I wasn’t convinced they would come back stating an issue existed. I’m 100% convinced this is a software issue, or else mine would not suddenly be working fine.

  4. Hi!
    I’m experiencing the excact same issue with my CX5 here in Denmark. Just shipped it to Asus for the second time, but I doubt the can/will fix the issue.
    Also running latest stable software.

    Reply
  5. I have a brand new CX5500 (i3) bought a few days ago September 16. Exact same issue – tried all the dev builds, different apps, powerwash to no avail.
    It starts with full volume on left speaker, then moves to the right and then both go very quiet until I unpause the game/music whatever it might be. Agree it sounds like software and wondering if its to do with HK fancy processing etc.

    Reply
    • I think it must have something to do with the HK processing. Although mine appears fine now, and I have no real idea why; I hope you get it fixed soon. Hopefully future updates will fix it.

      Reply
    • I can confirm what Toro says. You can relax knowing that the speaker issue is a software bug (likely an audio driver) and not at all a hardware defect. The Harmon/kardon speakers work fine when you roll back ChromeOS! This means I don’t have to return my unit to Best Buy and can let my return period expire.

      But please don’t relax on getting your voice heard by ChromeOS engineers whose issue tracking system is overwhelmed by spam. Please add your 2 cents into the ticket I created. Otherwise, maybe this sound bug never gets fixed for this “last year’s model of the new ASUSCX5601”. Thanks!

      Reply
  6. Darren again, I swapped the chrome book with the retailer which arrived today. So far so good. I notice it was built sep 21 and the returned unit oct 21.

    Not sure – how bizarre. I will reserve judgement until I leave a fair bit.

    Reply
    • Hi Darren

      I hope that fixes the issue for you. It’s a real shame this speaker issue has been a problem for so many people. A great Chromebook that has been let down by this speaker issue.

      Reply
  7. Guys, I have logged a formal bug ticket at Google under the right component (audio, Delbin board name) under ChromeOS. To expedite that this frustrating and long-lived bug gets looked at by Google (and perhaps ASUS) engineers, could you please +1 and add a comment of your experience? Any version numbers you know when sound bug was not there or when sound bug appeared might be helpful.

    https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/252482299

    Reply

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