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Old May 13th, 2013, 05:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Poor quality streaming audio (a2dp)

So I left my iPhone 4s for a Galaxy s4. Overall I love the s4 and don't see myself going back to Apple (I still have a week to return the s4). I do a lot of audio streaming over Bluetooth and I find the sound quality to be terrible from the s4. I am somewhat of an audiophile and I never had a problem with the quality from the iPhone. Is this a problem with Samsung's Bluetooth stack or android 4.2.2? I have done some searching and found people complaining about both. Is there a 3rd party fix for the problem? I am currently stock rooted and don't necessarily want to get into custom roms just yet. I know voodoo works with Wolfson chips but I don't think the s4 uses one.

Anyway any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Try a bluetooth headphone with Apt-X?
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Old May 14th, 2013, 01:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Download a 3rd party audio player from the app store - it could be that Samsungs own audio player isn't up to the job.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 01:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The iPhones Bluetooth stack and music player are simply more robust than the Samsung products. The iPhone evolved from the iPod after all. That being said give PowerAmp a try. That seems to be the #1 music player among audiophiles on Android. I come from a Pocket PC/Windows Mobile background and the one thing I would never argue with an iPod/Iphone user about was and is the sound quality of their devices.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 02:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The GTi9505 (Snapdragon) uses a Qualcomm audio chip. The GTi9500 (Exynos) has the Wolfson.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 03:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dontpanicbobby View Post
The iPhones Bluetooth stack and music player are simply more robust than the Samsung products.
I beg to differ, at least as far as audio is concerned. The S4 has Apt-X, the iPhone does not.

RE: which DAC the phone has - not relevant to bluetooth audio since the bluetooth data stream is converted to analog by the bluetooth headphones DAC.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 05:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I beg to differ, at least as far as audio is concerned. The S4 has Apt-X, the iPhone does not.

RE: which DAC the phone has - not relevant to bluetooth audio since the bluetooth data stream is converted to analog by the bluetooth headphones DAC.
As I said I'm not going to argue. Just try this simple test: Grab any iPhone or iPod user you know. Give him a copy of your favorite song in MP3 format. Listen to the music on his or her device and compare it to yours. I would go into the whole Bluetooth Stack comparison thing but that's not what this thread is about. tjm276 wants some advice on a good music player for his S4.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 06:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontpanicbobby View Post
As I said I'm not going to argue. Just try this simple test: Grab any iPhone or iPod user you know. Give him a copy of your favorite song in MP3 format. Listen to the music on his or her device and compare it to yours. I would go into the whole Bluetooth Stack comparison thing but that's not what this thread is about. tjm276 wants some advice on a good music player for his S4.
As I read it he is talking about not being happy with the quality of bluetooth audio, the question about third party players is in relation to that and whether they might fix it. If you read the thread title this seems clear. For bluetooth give me an S4 and Apt-X headphones over an iPhone any day, if you're unfamiliar with Apt-X Google can help.

For audio via the headphone jack I agree, quality is better from iPhone, I don't need to do your test, I've owned iPhones and I wouldn't argue that either (notable exception being the Note 2 which is on a very nearly even footing, only bested by the iPhone on stock software because its volume output isn't as loud). I'm not speaking to audio out of the headphone jack though, only to bluetooth audio which is what the OP is asking about.

Third party players won't fix bluetooth audio, or headphone audio for that matter, but ones like PowerAMP, Neutron and GoneMad Music Player with good EQ options may help the OP get a sound they can live with.

Incidentally OP: if you were also talking about headphone out audio quality may I ask what headphones/IEMs you are using? The i9505 has a serious problem with lower impedance IEMs (less than 16ohm impedance) where bass frequencies cause crackling once you get to higher volumes. Fix there is lower volume or neuter bass in EQ, neither of which will be very acceptable to many (or getting higher impedance IEMs or an impedance adapter). Unknown at present if this is a hardware or software fault, although a clever chap who has measured the problem is leaning on hardware being the problem sadly.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 09:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the replies. I am not trying to start a war here. Indeed my question pertains to the quality of the bluetooth stream. The highs are all garbled and the overall quality sucks. I have poweramp and the problem persists which leads me to believe it is a problem with the phone/firmware and not the player. By third party solution, I am inquiring about a software/firmware patch to replace or change the bluetooth stack. It could be that the stereo in my truck uses a2dp and not apt-x. I need to learn about that as I am unfamiliar with apt-x.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 03:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjm276 View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I am not trying to start a war here. Indeed my question pertains to the quality of the bluetooth stream. The highs are all garbled and the overall quality sucks. I have poweramp and the problem persists which leads me to believe it is a problem with the phone/firmware and not the player. By third party solution, I am inquiring about a software/firmware patch to replace or change the bluetooth stack. It could be that the stereo in my truck uses a2dp and not apt-x. I need to learn about that as I am unfamiliar with apt-x.
Apt-X is basically a MUCH higher bluetooth audio codec (CSR, who created it and were last year purchased by Samsung, bill it as "lossless" although it isn't quite at that level yet), both the playback device and bluetooth headset or receiver need to have Apt-X in order for this mode to be used (if both have it it is automatically used).

I'm mostly recommending the Samsung HS3000 to people - it is a little bluetooth receiver with Apt-X. Very versatile since you can plug whatever headphones you want into it (full-sized cans at home, IEMs on the go etc), or even use a 3.5mm-3.5mm cable to plug it into stereos etc. The HS3000 can be had for about $30-40USD on Ebay/Amazon etc, very good buying.
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