Tuesday, 26 June 2012 10:46

Tablet and Phone Makers Finally Getting Past the Eye-Candy Push By Including Better Audio

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4374280-music-notesIt looks like the world of the smart phone, tablet, and the digital “media” players are finally getting past the “good enough” trend that they were heading into. Well, at least where audio is concerned. One of the biggest issues that we have had with many phones and even top end media players is that while they spend money on the display to give richer visuals you are often left with audio that is very bland.

To give you a direct comparison the iPod Touch has a great display but the audio chip used in it is a plain old Cirrus Logic Audio CODEC (after the first generation which featured a Wolfson WM8758BG). This is compared to the ZuneHD which maintained the Wolfson tradition. The ZuneHD was considered much higher quality by many audiophile publications during comparison testing so the difference was very noticeable between the two choices.

Apple also chose to crop a Cirrus Logic audio CODEC into their iPhone 4 line up (including the iPhone 4S). We have head the comments that the audio quality on the iPhone 4 and 4S is not as good as on the older 2G (which still featured a Wolfson Audio chip). Most likely Apple did this to keep costs low and also to ensure that they could meet demand for the phones, but really what they were doing was reducing the audio quality to “good enough”.

Still there is a new push (as we mentioned) to improve the audio quality on smartphones, tablets and other media oriented devices. After all the audio in a movie or game can be an integral part of the experience. Take a look at your favorite movie or game and the audio that is in it. The music becomes a part of the emotional experience in the movie or game. It adds a depth to it beyond the visuals. In fact movies that did not have a sound track become more compelling because of that. An example of this is the movie “I Am Legend” there is no audio overlay to queue you to the presence of danger; It leaps out at you and even with the relatively poor CGI in the movie this lack of sound becomes an oppressive element in the production. It conveys a sense of desolation and isolation in a very powerful way.

Back to the topic at hand; this is the move to include better audio in our mobile devices. We see this as a very good thing and one that has been a long time coming. We know that even the component makers are seeing the need to do this with their products. Asus, Gigabyte, ASRock all are looking into building better quality audio into their motherboards. We have finally reach the point where eye-candy is not the major push. Hopefully this means that the entire experience will be fleshed out to create even more compelling products that are not all about one or two “features” but the overall experience. I know that I am certainly looking forward to this.


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Read 6775 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 11:35

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