The brand new Pixel and Pixel XL, Google's first direct attempts at taking on the iPhone, haven't rolled out exactly how Google would have liked. The devices have already had more than their fair share of issues, starting with the camera, and now extending to the built-in speaker. The camera issues were marked as "solved" by Google, but the lens flare is still very much there, just not as prominent.
As for the speaker issue... crank up your Pixel or Pixel XL to max volume and watch The Mummy trailer to hear for yourself. There's horrible distortion, static, and popping at the top three volume levels, and it seems to affect all Pixel models.
However, be careful not to blow out your speaker when doing so, otherwise you'll have to warranty exchange your phone like Mark Buckman did, who has gone through four Pixels already. Buckman had grown so frustrated with the problem that he uploaded a video that demonstrates the Pixel speaker issue, so if you don't want to experiment with your own device, you can watch the bug in action below.
Update (12/23): Google 'Resolves' Buckman's Speaker Problem
After stirring up a social media storm in an effort to get Google to issue a software fix for the Pixel's speaker problem, Mark Buckman's case has come to a disappointing conclusion.
Buckman kept pressing the issue with Google's customer support team, stating that he simply wanted "a fully functional Pixel XL, and if that's not possible, a rough ETA of when and if that will be possible." However, after several warranty exchanges—a grand total of five Pixels—Google has closed Mr. Buckman's case. The final resolution? Buckman was told to return his device within 14 days for a full refund, or else Google would no longer offer him support on the issue.
That may sound as though Google has no plans to issue a software fix for the Pixel's crackling speaker, but this is not necessarily true. Google does not give ETAs on software updates, so it could simply be that they're working on a fix, but have no time frame to announce. Luckily, though, an unofficial fix is available right now, and we've covered that below.
How to Actually Fix the Issue
Like with most Android software issues, developers and users end up correcting the issue themselves before the OEM even gets around to announcing that they're aware of the issue. In this particular case, installing ViPER4Android fixes the issue.
How great is that? No more speaker distortion and you get far superior audio quality. Of course, you have to be rooted in order to install ViPER4Android, and you'll also need to have TWRP installed. But once you've got the audio mod installed, you don't even need to adjust any of the options—the speaker issues will just be a thing of the past.
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