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Old November 25th, 2011, 04:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [For Audiophiles] Galaxy Nexus sound quality vs Galaxy S

UPDATE: Please don't take the following post too seriously. Whilst the Voodoo Galaxy S has clearly better sound quality than the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Nexus is still very much listenable although not bringing out the best of your FLAC files and high end IEMs.


There have been several people out there asking about the sound quality of the Galaxy Nexus. We know the original Galaxy S and Nexus S set a very high standard with the Wolfson WM8994 DAC. How does the TI TWL6040 fair in comparison? First a little background on myself, I'm what you call a typical audiophile. I listen to high end earphones (or IEMs) and I only listen to FLAC, not MP3. For those who never heard of FLAC, think of it as the HD for music.

I used the same FLAC files to play in the stock Galaxy S and Galaxy Nexus player to do a comparison.

This will not be a long post. Simply because the Galaxy Nexus' sound quality is very poor in comparison to a Voodoo'ed Galaxy S. In technical terms, the treble and bass are very roll-offed. This means that the audio chip does not reproduce the highest and lowest frequencies of the music sufficiently. Also, the soundstage is compressed and for some reason the tonality is off. I have no idea why it can sound that bad but it does.

Needless to say, I'm very disappointed with this. As an audiophile, this is unacceptable. I hope Google pays attention to music quality more in the future. 16GB is also not enough for FLAC listeners like me since one album can easily take up 300MB.

Don't take me wrong, I love my Galaxy Nexus. I don't usually post here but I feel the need to this time. Even with my disappointment with the sound, I'll still keep the Galaxy Nexus as my main phone. It's amazing.

For the majority of people, this post is irrelevant. If you're used to listening to MP3, online streaming like Pandora or Spotify; and you used stock earbuds, Beats or Skullkandies, you probably won't notice the difference or even get bothered about it. As I said, this post is to all Android audiophiles out there. I don't know if the disappointing sound quality will effect your decision on the Galaxy Nexus or not. For me at least, I can always go back to my desktop rig at home


Best regards
Gary

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Old November 25th, 2011, 05:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Reviews and folks at xda seem to be happy with sound quality so far. Maybe the voodoo patch puts up some additional processing such as bass boost that you've gotten used to in galaxy s?
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Old November 25th, 2011, 05:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It isn't just bad compared to the Galaxy S. It also sounds bad compared to my $500 reference desktop rig (FiiO E7 > Schiit Asgard > AKG K501 / FA-003)

It was only fair to compare to the Galaxy S because it showed us that it was possible to have good sound quality from an everyday phone.

I'd like to add as well that the Galaxy Nexus is more guilty of boosting bass (no settings to change it) than a Voodoo'ed Galaxy S with bass boost turned off. The Galaxy Nexus definitely does not have a flat frequency response.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 05:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old November 25th, 2011, 06:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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But! you didn't Review the Rezound! it has to be great it has "Beats by Dre"

Right? :P

Sorry, thanks for the review, my hearing sucks so it won't bother me but it nice to see comparisons...
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Old November 25th, 2011, 08:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuahogary View Post
EDIT: Please ignore this post. After further listening and testing, the differences isn't as big as I made it to be. But I still maintain that the Galaxy S is a better DAP for the better DAC and storage space.

Best regards
Gary
I'd put that edit at the beginning of the post, rather than the end, since many people might miss it.

I'm not really an audiophile, but I'm pleased that an audiophile such as yourself has indicated that the audio is not that far from the Galaxy S. I am a critical listener with a decent set of IEMs so I do appreciate good sound.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am an audiophile myself as well, and would like more opinions on this matter. How does the sound quality compare to Sansa Clip?
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Old November 25th, 2011, 02:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is definitely good news, I've been kind of spoiled with my Voodoo Nexus S. So I'm glad to hear there is not a huge difference.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you for your observations! I too was curious about the audio quality of the Nexus because it will be my primary music player
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Old November 27th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Tuahogary, I heard that android 3 and up support USB hosting and that external soundcards were part of the list. Unfortunately, after doing some research into tablets with android 3 and up, i found that none of them worked with external soundcards. I noticed that you have an E7, which doesn't require special drivers. I'm curious as to whether it works with the galaxy nexus or not :P.
Thanks! And great review.
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Old November 28th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the overview -- this is something I've been waiting to hear about.

And I second the suggestion of putting your edit at the top of the post. Definitely made me feel a little better once I read down that far!
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Old November 30th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I posted somewhere else, on this, and am wondering what music players folk are using, I do audio books also, and I need a player that will remember where I last stopped...this will be on my Nexus s...I hope to see icecream sandwich soon, and I bet there will be more stuff available then
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Old June 12th, 2012, 06:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binary visions View Post
I'd put that edit at the beginning of the post, rather than the end, since many people might miss it.

I'm not really an audiophile, but I'm pleased that an audiophile such as yourself has indicated that the audio is not that far from the Galaxy S. I am a critical listener with a decent set of IEMs so I do appreciate good sound.
Done Living with the Galaxy Nexus for so long caused me to care less about portable sound quality. It just isn't the same as my old days with the Galaxy S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohungry View Post
Hey Tuahogary, I heard that android 3 and up support USB hosting and that external soundcards were part of the list. Unfortunately, after doing some research into tablets with android 3 and up, i found that none of them worked with external soundcards. I noticed that you have an E7, which doesn't require special drivers. I'm curious as to whether it works with the galaxy nexus or not :P.
Thanks! And great review.
As far as I know, we can't get a true line out from stock Android 4.0 ICS so there is little to no benefit of connecting the E7 from the headphone jack. (Basically, no USB hosting for external soundcards )

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I am an audiophile myself as well, and would like more opinions on this matter. How does the sound quality compare to Sansa Clip?
Sorry, but I've not listened to the Sanza clip before!
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Old June 16th, 2012, 10:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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gsmarena ran audio quality test for GNex before with RMAA. it seems pretty solid to me.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus review: Opening new doors - GSMArena.com

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalkSamsung Galaxy Nexus (TI DAC)+0.11, -0.69 -90.6 90.60.0085 0.014 -91.8
Samsung Galaxy S (Wolfson)+0.03, -0.04 -90.7 90.6 0.014 0.019 -90.6
Samsung Galaxy S II (Yamaha)+0.04, -0.09 -91.4 91.9 0.0042 0.066 -89.7
Iphone3GS(Wolfson) +0.01, -0.05 -92.1 92.1 0.0035 0.011 -95.0

GNex's FR on low frequency is bit off other than that, its SQ is quite good and better than most smartphones.

also about MP3, FLAC, CD,
when mp3 came out first (early 2000s) most of mp3s were in 64, 128kbps so people could tell the difference. so they often said when u shrink CD to MP3, there's loss of quality of sounds.. but thats not true anymore.

once its 192kbps, average people cant tell the difference, at 320kbps, even professionals cant tell the difference. (age and ear condition relate to this)
so if u can tell the difference beween 320kbps MP3 and FLAC (1441kbkps), then you must be very young or have some conditions on ear.
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Old June 16th, 2012, 06:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamisont View Post
gsmarena ran audio quality test for GNex before with RMAA. it seems pretty solid to me.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus review: Opening new doors - GSMArena.com

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalkSamsung Galaxy Nexus (TI DAC)+0.11, -0.69 -90.6 90.60.0085 0.014 -91.8
Samsung Galaxy S (Wolfson)+0.03, -0.04 -90.7 90.6 0.014 0.019 -90.6
Samsung Galaxy S II (Yamaha)+0.04, -0.09 -91.4 91.9 0.0042 0.066 -89.7
Iphone3GS(Wolfson) +0.01, -0.05 -92.1 92.1 0.0035 0.011 -95.0

GNex's FR on low frequency is bit off other than that, its SQ is quite good and better than most smartphones.

also about MP3, FLAC, CD,
when mp3 came out first (early 2000s) most of mp3s were in 64, 128kbps so people could tell the difference. so they often said when u shrink CD to MP3, there's loss of quality of sounds.. but thats not true anymore.

once its 192kbps, average people cant tell the difference, at 320kbps, even professionals cant tell the difference. (age and ear condition relate to this)
so if u can tell the difference beween 320kbps MP3 and FLAC (1441kbkps), then you must be very young or have some conditions on ear.
There is a difference, but it depends heavily on the headphones you have, and the genre of music. In my opinion, unless your a huge audiophile and can't listen to anything less, high bitrate MP3 is more than acceptable for most mobile listening. Often, you're not even in a quiet environment anyway so any benefits are nullified because of background noise.
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The Galaxy Nexus is the third official phone contracted by Google and the first phone to come with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Specs include a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16/32GB of internal storage, a 4.65 inch 720p HD Super AMOLED... Read More



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