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This question is targeted at mainstream or gamer-grade software-based audio/sound enhancements, found in highly integrated computing and entertainment systems like laptops, tablets and smartphones.

These are mostly marketed with fancy badges of known audio-releated brands on the product or packaging, while being mostly uncertain about the actual implementation or components used and poorly differentiated from the general audio capabilities of the system or device.


  • This question is not about actual hardware like speakers. If your headphones are not properly detected, your speakers are assigned wrong, work partially or not at all then your soundcard or chip is not properly detected and you should take a look at troubleshooting audio issues.
    • Some subwoofers on laptops require proper LFE remixing, which is currently disabled in PulseAudio.
  • This question is also not about enthusiast or recording-grade hardware like recording interfaces, amplifiers and DACs in a variety of formfactors.
  • And this question is also not about audio encoding and playback of different audio formats like Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD and DTS. Most of these may be subject to patents and licensing, see restricted formats.

If you are just searching for an equalizer, please take a look at this question: Is there any Sound enhancers/equalizer?


Simply speaking: Every feature where you would flip a switch or check a box in a fancy looking interface in Windows that makes the sound change from neutral to fancy.

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1 Answer 1

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General advice

You should turn to the manufacturer and demand to have these user experience features ported to the operating system you want to use, if you want any of these to work properly.

The manufacturer usually has licensed proprietary technology and software that FOSS projects like Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora refuse to include or pay for.

Overview

  • Beats Audio from Beats Electronics

    Software equalizer or audio processing that is only available for the preinstalled OS. Probably improved performance of the integrated speakers achieved by consulting engineers during product design phase.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
  • Dolby Advanced Audio, Dolby Home Theater, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Virtual Speaker, Dolby Mobile… from Dolby Laboratories.

    Software equalizer or audio processing that is only available for the preinstalled OS. Probably improved performance of the integrated speakers achieved by consulting engineers during product design phase.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
  • EAX and other audio processing from Creative

    Special audio processing features may be available in alsamixer on newer hardware like the recon3D series via open source drivers. Some EAX effects in games may be available via OpenAL, but that is out of scope for this question.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
  • THX TruStudio, a collaboration of THX and Creative

    Almost the same as for Creative.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
  • TrueAudio from AMD and AstoundSound from GenAudio

    Audio processing that may be available via proprietary drivers for certain GPUs or APUs.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
  • General 3rd party Windows software like Asus SonicMaster

    Software equalizer or audio processing that is only available for the preinstalled OS.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
  • Generic Virtual 7.1 Stereo Gamer Headsets

    Similar to one of the above, usually implements solutions by Dolby Laboratories. The choice of labeling it Virtual 7.1 seems to be completely ambiguous and could also be 8.2 or what ever sounds fancy and up to date currently.

    • Status: No known implementation of the software features
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