Google says Pixel audio issue is a hardware problem

Google says Pixel audio issue is a hardware problem
You might recall the story we told you last month about Mark Buckman. He went through five different units of the Google Pixel XL, and his wife owns the smaller Google Pixel model. Each phone suffers from static distortion at high volume. As an example, Buckman created a video showing how the affected Pixel models could not clearly play the Perfect Piano keyboard app when the volume was cranked up. To show us what it should sound like, he used the same app on a Nexus 6 at the same volume level. The Motorola built Nexus 6 sounded like Carnegie Hall while the HTC produced Pixel XL sounded like the Carnegie Deli.

Google offered a full refund to Buckman, basically admitting that this was not a problem that could be repaired via a software update. And that was confirmed by a new email from Google dated January 13th, which states that the problem is a hardware issue and that no refunds are being given out at this time. Instead, the company is offering a warranty replacement to affected owners of the two devices.

Buckman did come up with a workaround that will take care of the issue if you are experienced with flashing custom ROMs on your phone. This manages to eliminate the static distortion that is annoying Pixel and Pixel XL owners.

Now that Google has confirmed that the problem is hardware related, your best bet is to put a claim in for the warranty replacement. Otherwise, you will have to live with the distorted audio.

source: AndroidHeadlines

Related phones

  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2770 mAh(26h talk time)
Pixel XL
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2150 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3450 mAh(32h talk time)



1. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

can't they simply reduce max volume level via software update? :-/

14. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Because it would not fix the problem. Funny, I don't see people flocking to this article criticizing Google for releasing a phone with an audio flaw. If it was Apple, this comment section would be on fire.

15. maherk

Posts: 6879; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Why do you care that much? I thought you are a nexus fan and you love it more than the iPhone? So why not prove it by defending them blindly like you do with Apple? I'll tell you why, because you are a proven liar who will do anything to polish Apple's image, all while claiming you aren't biased because you buy Nexus phones, which is a lie.

23. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Prepare for Mxy classic 12 year old on liners like "You are wrong" or "You're just bumburned".

18. Subie

Posts: 2364; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

When a defect was found on some of the iPhone 6 plus cameras I applauded the way Apple handled the situation. They admitted there was a problem and offered a free replacement even if the defect shows up after the warrantee expires. And I'll give Google credit for the way they're handling this issue. They are admitting there's a problem and offering a replacement. Defects in tech suck, nor will it ever be perfect. But it is commendable when these companies at least step up, admit there's a problem, and do something to show the consumer they won't be left hanging.

20. mahima

Posts: 730; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

its a defect most people can live with not antennagate or "you hold it wrong" camera issue that's why its not such a big deal to most fans the level of problems are different and I'm not a fan of pixel phone by the way

27. xfire99

Posts: 1205; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

More funny that you shows up in every Android flaw article and bashing. But when it comes to Apple flaws articles and you been hiding in yours 5th dimension.

33. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1324; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Because Google is admitting the is a hardware problem. Apple would not admit it until they were dealing with a class action lawsuits over it. And I will be exchanging my pixel even though I've only ever experienced the issue on that one video.

42. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

I think the reason is because fans of the iPhone are Always proclaiming its superior in every way. And even when that's proven wrong or new tech comes out that better, iPhone fans criticize the hell out if it, or try to say it's not useful, ie... The S Pen, AMOLED screens, Dual Cameras set up, fingerprint scanners, SD Cards, LTE, MMS... The list goes on and on. The same could be said about Android fans as well, but to a lesser degree, ie... Headphone jack on the bottom, 3D touch, and I'm sure there are others. Point is, we bring it on ourselves no matter you preferred OS.

21. davidsmith

Posts: 62; Member since: Mar 09, 2016

we can't safely assume that it can be fixed with a future software update from Google since we can't confirm the workaround actually works. For those who have sound issues can be caused by Bluetooth and sound not be loud on your smartphone. here is a solution for them to solve their problem.


Posts: 412; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

They could but when your one of the phones that actually compete with and sometimes at a higher level than the Iphone than all your problems are overblown. Own a Pixel XL have no problems.

3. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2367; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I understand this is a real issue and I hope that Google replaces any and all affected devices. However, there was something in this article that I had a problem with: "To show us what it should sound like, he used the same app on a Nexus 6 at the same volume level." When you're testing two different devices at high levels of volume, there is naturally going to be a difference in the sound quality between the two. I mean, it's not like they used the same speakers or speaker technology in the Nexus 6 as they did in the Pixel. So, I just don't see this as being anywhere near scientific enough to prove a point. They should've compared it against another HTC made device, but that's just my opinion.

7. miketer

Posts: 520; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

Maybe, the idea was to show that there's no problem with the app or any other elements, except the phone?

9. Punchy506

Posts: 129; Member since: Jan 10, 2016

As I understand it, it was to show that it was not a 7.1.1 issue, but instead a device specific issue.

4. Pem3108

Posts: 24; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

So it's not a software issue, but custom software fixes the issue? How does that make any sense?

6. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking that.

10. sissy246

Posts: 7115; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I Cought that all so. If custom ROM will fix it then why can't Google.

40. vincelongman

Posts: 5695; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Not even a custom ROM is needed You only need change the audio drivers Mostly likely just a misinformed support staff

12. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It could be a number of things, say resetting the max volume level to a tick or two lower in soctware. Or if the problem occurs in a specific band of frequencies, you could attenuate those frequencies in software. I don't have any specific knowledge of what the devs did to correct the issue, I'm just using my experience in pro audio systems to list some possibilities. On a full fledged audio system, something like this could be corrected with a compressor, but I doubt they have anything like that in the audio system in these devices.

13. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

The point is that the person who has been complaining about this came up with a software solution. Why not submit it to google for the "fix". Don't get me wrong, it sucks that you can't use the phone at it's highest volume, but on the scale of issues, this isn't that bad. Just about every phone I have ever owned distorted at high volumes, just not to the level the pixel does. So I guess I just feel the amount of complaining is a little excessive. I'm not apologizing on behalf of google, just my .02.

31. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I was putting out a couple of ways a custom software could fix a non software issue, which is what you and Pem were wondering about. And I agree it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, you can even use max volume anyway as it only happens in some extreme notes, a piano key being struck hard or that spot in the mummy trailer was something apparently similar to a gunshot, which is too loud for most mics and speakers. And at least Google seems to take it seriously and is offering replacements to those who are too anal about this.

5. Gadgetex

Posts: 197; Member since: Nov 10, 2013

Will have to wait until all old stock is sold out before buying new stock so one does not receive Pixel with defected hardware (Speaker). So much for cutting cost to save a few pennies. Should have paid more and put in a better and louder speaker

11. k9luvr

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 17, 2016

The phone is already $700.00 and they need to charge a few dollars MORE for a decent speaker?

8. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Well, for one, I never crank up volume to the full extent on any phones that I've owned. I keep it a step down.

19. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

That is not the point. The point is that, when you get a device that the producer says it does something, it should do that thing.

22. hado86

Posts: 177; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

So it must've been on 128gb pixel xl as it never was replenished on Google's site

25. surethom

Posts: 1694; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Google releases a phone with problems again at least this time they will fix the hardware problem, ALL nexus 5x phones record video upside-down but Google do not acknowledge the hardware problem, sad.

32. KingSam

Posts: 1449; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

So if it's a hardware issue. How does a custom ROM fix it?

41. Syracuse

Posts: 69; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

The Pixel is too much of a prototype device. They should of taken more time to get the design and bugs right.

47. edwaine

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 08, 2013

Please update your article: From Reddit Pixel Community - Official Google Account Hey All, Wanted to offer some clarification here. This is currently a known software issue and we are working to resolve it in an upcoming update. In the meantime, a temporary solution can be to not play your device at max volume. I'll keep this thread updated with any other info. wwwDOTredditDOTcom/r/GooglePixel/comments/5o5lph/p​sa_google_pixel_owners_top_tier_google_support/dcj​rvzm/

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.