Some Garmin Fenix 7 owners have noticed their new watch is suffering from sound quality issues. The audio is distorted both for Spotify synced music and local MP3 files. There are reports of EPIX 2 owners also being affected. The company has issued a Beta firmware update today which apparently fixes these issues.
Here’s the full change-log of Beta version 7.35:
- Improved audio quality.
- Fixed issue where some smart notifications would still alert, even though the setting was disabled.
- Fixed issue which could cause the wrist heart rate lights to stay on while the watch was off-wrist.
- Fixed an issue that could show incorrect Sunrise/Sunset times on watch face.
- Fixed an issue where VO2 Max/Training Status data did not follow the specified Data Color setting.
- Fixed Issue where Sunrise/Sunset Times Could Overlap.
The software is classified as a “Public Release Candidate” which means it might take a few weeks before it is released to everyone. Garmin does this to assess whether there are any problems with the upgraded firmware files. This Beta is actually the first software released in this form for the new watches. Early reports are that the update really does improve the audio quality.
Poor sound quality on Garmin Fenix 7 and Epix 2
The issue was first reported at the end of January on Garmin user forums. A Fenix 7 owner wrote that he has found the sound quality to be “terrible”. The audio is distorted, with a lot of noise and hissing. He equated it to what you’d get from a low quality MP3.
Other users have chimed in characterised it as “high frequency noise and crackling”, adding that there’s a clear difference in quality between the Fenix 6 and 7. Switching headphones does nothing to resolve the problem. Another user compared it to music being played from a 90s cassette tape!
This is particularly the case with sound at medium or higher volumes. The same is the case for stereo versus mono playback. The first sounds much worse.
And it seems the issue is not restricted to the Fenix 7 base model. There are reports of users with Garmin Fenix 7 Solar, Pro Sapphire and EPIX 2 also experiencing this.
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Strangely enough, other users have reported they found no difference in sound quality as compared to the Fenix 6. So the audio distortion is clearly not affecting all devices. Which leads to the conclusion that this could be a hardware problem with certain watches. And it begs the question, how widespread is this issue?
That there is something going on was confirmed by one of the Garmin employees on the forum a few weeks ago.
“Our engineering team is working on a solution to the reports of poor audio quality for some Fenix 7 series owners.” he said – and added,
“If you are experiencing the issue, please highlight my name and send me a direct PM message. Thank you!“
He followed that message up with an update.
“Our engineering team continues to work on the resolution. Once the issue has been resolved, I will update this thread.”
“Also, everyone that has highlighted my name and sent me a PM to be added to the tracking case, will be emailed by our Outdoor Helpdesk team when resolved.”
The Garmin forum thread discussing the issue has grown a couple of dozen pages. Hopefully this update will put the issue to rest.
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