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Google Music / Audio Problems?
First off, I absolutely love this phone which is why it pains me to have such a huge problem which affects me almost enough to return it. I have searched far and wide online for a similar issue, but nothing's quite like this. It seems either the phone or Google Music is having some problems which I can't seem to fix nor find any details about.
There are many strange problems to list, so I will start firing them off from what I observed. When I listen to music, let a song finish, and the next song in the list comes up, the audio will sometimes get either quieter or louder. I fix this by going to Google Music's menu and manually selecting the song and the volume goes back to normal. What is even more bizarre, is that sometimes songs will play distorted as if someone set an equalizer to play only the upper frequencies and turn down all the rest. Again, I fix this problem by re-selecting the song from the menu. Even stranger, sometimes re-selecting the song doesn't fix this issue, and I have to go to the equalizer in Google Music and turn it on then off to "reset it" (Which also only fixes it sometimes, hah). What is even more bizarre is that the "User" equalizer doesn't work (As in, I move the sliders anywhere and it makes no difference. Bass and surround controls work though). I tried to fix the audio issues by just setting the equalizer on Flat and hoping it fixes these issues. All that does is give me the same problems as before, only sometimes the audio will get A LOT louder (Like, first volume notch would be considered normal listening volume, highest notch could destroy my IEM's). When the song gets much louder, I can hear a lot of white noise in the background as if somebody just cranked the gain so I think this is a software conflict or something. The most ridiculous part of all of this, is that any permutation of these errors can happen depending on whether or not I turn the equalizer on/off depending on whether I am listening to a song or not AKA I have no clue what exactly is causing it. Oh, and I also noticed that there is a lot of hiss in the background of this phone when I play songs. This hiss doesn't increase when I turn up the volume, so sometimes it isn't audible but if I am listening to a quiet song, it is quite irritating since it fluctuates and distorts in the background. There is no hiss if there is no sound playing. I thought I had tinnitus for a second but I play music through my Galaxy Nexus and there is no hiss at all, which was a disappointing discovery since I thought this phone was supposed to have better sound quality.
These issues only happen when I let Google Music play songs through my headphones and the next couple of songs come up. It seems to happen at random, as in no particular songs have these issues but it could happen at any time if I am letting Google Music play through an album or something. I have yet to test the speakers, and I want to test Samsung's default music player but I have to bring over a bunch of songs since I only use Google Music. These issues are bad enough that I pretty much can't listen to the audio for fear of A) Songs sound like fizzy mush or B) I lose my hearing.
Now that I sort of told the problems that I am having, do any of you have any ideas what could be going wrong with this phone? I'd rather not send it back for a new one since I have everything set up on this phone, being that I've had it since launch. I am currently listening through Westone 3 and Sennheiser CX500 headphones, and the problems persist on both of these. I do not have any third party audio-related software, just the stock Samsung apps and Google Music. Sound Adaptation is turned off. All the equalizer settings, from what I could find, are turned off. My phone is a Verizon phone. I apologize in advance if I put this in the wrong area.