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Nokia Shows Off the Lumia 928's Audio Recording Quality

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May 10, 2013 7:14:47 AM

Of course, most of the idiots that view this are immediately going to like the clipped sound of the GSIII because we're still in the age of "louder = better."
May 10, 2013 7:20:55 AM

Looks to me like the Samsung has AGC enabled and the Nokia doesn't. That's great for loud sounds but not so great for voice recording. They should have also showed it recording quiet sounds to see how it faired. I think possibly the Samsung would have come out on top. Saying this the AGC isn't working that well...
May 10, 2013 7:26:49 AM

Being primary engaged in CGI and visuals, I also do some basic sound design. The Nokia actually cuts out too much. The Samsung does a better job of recording real life experience. The Nokia in the top video cuts the reverb from the room, and makes it too much "studio" but does a poor job even there, because it also filters other important frequencies and even the drums go a bit flat. I am not saying the Samsung does a great job, but its closer to life. Even with the basic functionality of Premier Pro/Final Cut or even Windows Movie Maker (if you are too lazy or don't have Adobe Audition/Logic or other audio software) you can just cap certain frequencies and you will get a better experience from the audio recorded by the Samsung. It's not that "louder = better" it is just that the Nokia filters too much vital information for "the live experience"
May 10, 2013 7:30:35 AM

This is why I will buying a Nokia phone.. It's practically made for heavy metal concerts.. Pureview so the videos look great, HAAC mics for great sound quality at high dB levels, and it's Nokia, so it's tough enough to not break in the mosh pit! Shut up and take my money!
May 10, 2013 7:38:24 AM

pacomac said:
Looks to me like the Samsung has AGC enabled and the Nokia doesn't. That's great for loud sounds but not so great for voice recording. They should have also showed it recording quiet sounds to see how it faired. I think possibly the Samsung would have come out on top. Saying this the AGC isn't working that well...

Most phones, when recording video, just record the live audio from the mic with minimal post processing. Most of the Lumia phones use the whole mic array to enable some amount of cleanup and balancing while recording.
Think of it like the noise cancellation used during a call, but instead of only picking up what is supposed to be where your mouth is, it is optimized for recording a larger environment. This means that loud sounds get compressed while quiet environments get a nice little noise-free expansion, environmental sounds (like echo or wind) get cut down a bit, and if the person behind the camera talks then their voice does not overpower the rest of the audio. For the most part this makes for some fairly impressive and clean audio no matter if the ambient level is loud or quiet.
The down side of course is that the phone is trying to guess what noise you want to pick out (typically the subject in the view finder), while trying to cancel out or deaden the rest of the environment (something found on mid to high end cameras for years). This becomes a problem when you want to focus in on a single part of a larger group, but want the audio of the larger group... but then again I doubt most uses of cell phone audio would call for those types of uses.

I know that my L920 has this tech, but it is good to see that the next gen L928 takes it to the next level. It is this audio feature which the HTC One got in trouble for using on accident, so the first batch of HTC One phones should have similar audio capabilities, but the next batch will have to use something else.
May 10, 2013 8:00:19 AM

Why not compare the HTC One too? HTC One has same Mic the Nokia has, at least until all those chips they bought are used up. This is why I bought first batch of HTC One before HTC is no longer able to ship units with that mic.
May 10, 2013 8:35:16 AM

CaedenVIt is this audio feature which the HTC One got in trouble for using on accident
I don't know how you consider that to be an "accident". The HTC One was found to be using the EXACT SAME component which was designed by Nokia and was SUPPOSED to be manufactured exclusively for Nokia... A lot of the blame falls on STMicroelectronics, ie>the company that manufactured the component in question, but it would be incredibly naive to think that HTC did not know that they were not authorized to use it. Honestly, saying they don't know what's in their phones isn't much of a defense, that's just playing dumb.In HTCs press release they did not apologize, they said they were disappointed that Nokia was granted an injunction. HTC tried to get away with using unlicensed stolen microphone tech from Nokia, and they got caught. The only "accident" was getting caught. I usually hate patent disputes and stifling innovation (like Apples patented rectangle with rounded corners) but when Nokia spends money researching and developing a microphone technology which is clearly (hey, it's a pun!) superior to all the competition, HTC doesn't have the right to shamelessly steal it without being licensed. I've always hated how horrible the sound quality is on phones, even on $600+ flagship phones the audio at any concert is complete garbage and not worth listening to. Nokia has my respect, and my money because they are the first company to actually do something about it. It pisses me off that HTC never thought to develop a better tech themselves, they just let Nokia do all the work and then credit from ripping it off.. HTC should be ashamed (but they're not, they're just sorry they got caught.). I think you should find a dictionary and look up "accident", I don't think that word means what you think it means.
May 10, 2013 9:58:32 AM

I'm not sure what purpose does this video serves other than showing that one is louder than the other. They both have bad sound, and if you crank up the volume on the Nokia device, the sound will be clipping too. Such a pointless video.
May 10, 2013 10:25:43 AM

dns7950 said:
CaedenVIt is this audio feature which the HTC One got in trouble for using on accident
I don't know how you consider that to be an "accident". The HTC One was found to be using the EXACT SAME component which was designed by Nokia and was SUPPOSED to be manufactured exclusively for Nokia... A lot of the blame falls on STMicroelectronics, ie>the company that manufactured the component in question, but it would be incredibly naive to think that HTC did not know that they were not authorized to use it. Honestly, saying they don't know what's in their phones isn't much of a defense, that's just playing dumb.In HTCs press release they did not apologize, they said they were disappointed that Nokia was granted an injunction. HTC tried to get away with using unlicensed stolen microphone tech from Nokia, and they got caught. The only "accident" was getting caught. I usually hate patent disputes and stifling innovation (like Apples patented rectangle with rounded corners) but when Nokia spends money researching and developing a microphone technology which is clearly (hey, it's a pun!) superior to all the competition, HTC doesn't have the right to shamelessly steal it without being licensed. I've always hated how horrible the sound quality is on phones, even on $600+ flagship phones the audio at any concert is complete garbage and not worth listening to. Nokia has my respect, and my money because they are the first company to actually do something about it. It pisses me off that HTC never thought to develop a better tech themselves, they just let Nokia do all the work and then credit from ripping it off.. HTC should be ashamed (but they're not, they're just sorry they got caught.). I think you should find a dictionary and look up "accident", I don't think that word means what you think it means.


I am not a big fan of HTC, but I tend to believe them on the matter. When your company is literally on fire and you have tons of responsibility heaped on you to succeed, and then your new flagship phone is having issues and your manufacturer says "we have something that might work" you don't ask a whole lot of questions. If it works, and it fits in the budget, you just say "thanks" and move on, which is exactly what they did. They were not "stealing" the tech, they were simply presented with what seemed to be a viable alternative, and they didn't check it out because they were busy putting out fires in every other part of the company.
The manufacturer was squarely the one at fault, and they are the ones who will be paying for it. If HTC is smart then they should pay whatever licencing fees are required to keep it in future builds (because it is good tech), but they do not have the budget or R&D department to make specialty technology like this. Nokia has been in the audio and camera innovation industry for a good long time now. HTC has no option but to outsource.
May 10, 2013 10:49:40 AM

milktea said:
I'm not sure what purpose does this video serves other than showing that one is louder than the other. They both have bad sound, and if you crank up the volume on the Nokia device, the sound will be clipping too. Such a pointless video.


... *sigh*
I am sick, and my ears are plugged up, and even I can hear a huge difference in the *quality* of the audio.
One has a lot of echo and reflections, the other does not
One has harsh high tones, and a lower midrange and bass that falls off, while the other stays much more even (on the Sammy section you can see the tuba playing, but you only hear a little bit of echo from it, and no direct audio)
One has phasing issues, and the other does not
One has clipping audio *at the time of recording* which is a major pain to get rid of, while the other has no clipping and can be later amplified much easier without having issues
One records very directional sound, while the other records sound from a wider area
One has a lot of background noise, while the other does not (In the sammy section you can hear the room, people talking and moving around, where the nokia parts have that much more muffled)


Yes, both are phone based microphones, and you are simply not going to get a 'studio quality' sound out of either of them. But lets say that you are reccording your kids in elementary school. The 'joy' of recording any non-professional players is that there will ALWAYS be someone way off pitch. When using a normal microphone it will always make the exception stand out way more than the general band. Meaning that even though it was painful to listen to live, it will ALWAYS sound worse on the recording. With a microphone array like this where errant sounds undergo some filtering you end up with a recording that is much more true to life. It may still sound rough... but it will sound more like you remember it sounding rather than having audio that only highlights the problems.

Again, this is not going to get you the kind of audio quality you would expect from a booth, but it is a $500 phone, so nobody is asking for that. But when it comes to recording moments in your life one phone is going to sound much more similar to what you remembered, while the other will really make you think that things in the past were much worse than they really were.
May 10, 2013 11:00:15 AM

I believe the iphone escaped because it is simply better.
/not a fan boy
//android user
May 10, 2013 11:52:02 AM

Awesome phone!
!