Laptop audio on Linux

Setting up the X1 Carbon with Dolby-ish surround sound

Jakob Helgesson / Dec 26, 2022

📖 3 min read

Recently having received my new X1 Carbon laptop and of course installing Linux on it, I ended up rather disappointed with the sound situation versus it running on windows.

But before getting any sound output at all, I had to start with installing the package called sof-firmware

The issue

As it turns out, on Windows, Lenovo has preinstalled various sound modifications such as Dolby Atmos to improve the speakers performance. And this is really not something uncommon for device manufacturers to do.

However, on Linux these modifications are often not available such as in my case. This results in at least my opinion a rather poor sound experience.

Me being me, I decided to look further into this and see if I could get something better working.


I started out by installing easyeffects. I came across a set of presets made by JackHack96

I tried out a few of them and while they did improve the sound, I still felt like something was missing. I didn’t get the more full sound I was looking for. So I continued my search.

The solution

I came across this post on reddit. It describes the usage of a module in EasyEffects called Convolver. This module allows you to load a custom impulse response file.

By recording the modifications made by the Dolby Atmos software on Windows, u/happinessmachine was able to create a custom impulse response file that can be used to replicate the sound modifications made by Dolby Atmos.

After installing the Convolver plugin and loading the impulse response file, I was finally able to get the sound I was looking for. I have to say that I am really impressed with the sound quality now. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than before.

I also tried making a custom impulse response file myself, but my attempt was not successful. The steps I followed came from this post over on stackoverflow which u/happinessmachine also linked to in his post.

The Files

In the event that the reddit post is removed, here is the file link supplied in the post:

I’ve also decided to upload the files to my own server if MediaFire would take it down, so here is the link to that:

Disable for headphones

The Convolver effect is applied to all audio output. This means that if you are using headphones, you will get the same effect. Due to the effects used to create the sound for speakers, it makes the sound rather weird when using headphones.

EasyEffects has a solution for this tho. By saving our settings as a preset, we can then enable the preset only when we are using speakers. Doing so manually would be a bit tedious so EasyEffects has a feature called Presets Autoloading which allows you to choose a preset based on the audio output device.

By also making a empty preset we can then tell EasyEffects to use the empty preset when we are using headphones. And use the Dolby Atmos preset when we are using speakers.


I am very happy with how the sound turned out and I hope this post can help others who are looking for a similar solution.

I also hope that Lenovo will start to include these modifications on Linux as well. I think it would be a great addition to the Linux experience.