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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Galaxy S4: Audio quality flawed

    So I've just made the switch to the s4 after using an iPhone 4 for almost 3 years and I'm absolutely loving my new device, except for 1 major flaw which is that the audio sounds terrible for music through headphones. Where as the iPhone delivers rich full sound the s4 sounds really flat with no vibrancy. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with my device and this just how the s4 sounds. I'm also really surprised (With the exception of the what-hifi review) that no one on the net is really talking about this. I've tried a bunch of different players including the Neutron player which was the only one to really increase sound quality, but it's still not good enough and I don't really know what to do as this is the one thing I'm not willing to compromise on. I'm just wondering if any other music loving s4 users feel this way and if there's anything that can remedy this. It should also be said that I am using some pretty standard headphones that were more than good enough on the iPhone but I'm wondering if investing in some high end headphones would resolve this, it's just a bit off a gamble if they don't.
    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
    Last edited by NotJustAPhone; 04-12-2014 at 12:17 PM.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    You need to invest in an audio player with built in gain increase, or the app called Volume +. You can then increase gain to equal the output of the iPhone. Same thing with my iPod 5. Sounds better than any device I have tried. Not just the S4.
  3. Thread Author  Thread Author    #3  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Hi thanks for the response. Gain isn't really the issue though as the neutron player solved this, it also has a host of eq controls but I still can't seem to master them to make it sound as good ipod/iPhone. It's not so bad with genres such as folk/rock/jazz but when it comes to beat driven music like hip hop the drums sound lousy and thin and I find it hard to immerse myself in my music. I guess I'm gonna have to invest in some 150-200 high end phones or swap out the s4 for the HTC one. Which is frustrating as I really like this phone and the main reason I went for it in the first place was for its expandable memory so I can finally hold my my whole music library on my smartphone

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
  4. #4  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    You're not giving a whole lot of info. What are you listening to, steaming radio, mp3s. Are you ripping the mp3s yourself, downloading maybe bad rips. What other players did you try? What kind of headphones are you using and have you tried a different set?
    I had an issue before the headphone post wasnt pushing in all the way and not making full contact causing half volume.
    I'm using a $5 pair of gummies right now and they're louder than the stock headphones, I mow the yard with them without any issues and hear very clear. I can't hear my iPod nano as good mowing. I'm using Rocket Player.
    And why would you just swap for the HTC, do you already know that's louder than the s4 or iPhone?
    roberts68 and orion575 like this.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    I use some monoprice headphones that sound great with my S4.

    GSM Arena tested the One against the S4 in audio quality and the S4 was coming out a little cleaner but the One a little louder-- so I don't know if switching phones will help.
    Lastly, have you tried the SoundAdapt feature with the stock player? It supposedly helps you calibrate the player to match your headset by asking you to listen to a series of tones and determining the low and high frequencies the headset can reproduce.

    Evo - MIUI 1.1.28

    ^----Old signature.

    flip phone, bb curve, pre, evo, evo3d, s4.
  6. #6  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    The sound adapt made a little leap for me also
  7. #7  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Yeah use adapt sound and get some better headphones . I never tried an iphone but I did get the chance to try the htc one and now own the s4. To my ears with my headphones the s4 sounded really good. The bass and sounds were really good. I am in love with this phone. Good luck.
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    satannik likes this.
  8. Thread Author  Thread Author    #8  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    People keep referring to volume but like I said that's not the issue. It's the quality of the audio, I've compared mp3s downloaded from the same source on my iPhone and s4 back to back and the difference is massive. The iPhone has a fuller, deeper more emersive sound where as the s4 sounds dull & flat. I've tried adapt sound but it hasn't had a noticeable effect. The headphones I'm using are also gummies which I've used for around 5 years with an ipod/iphone as well as the stock headphones that come with the s4. The reason I would swap for the HTC one is because I want a top android smart phone of a certain size and these two seem to be the best on the market. I'd be surprised if the audio was also, so badly overlooked on the HTC especially as they seem to have expressed somewhat of an emphasis on audio with their beats endorsement.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
    busul likes this.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by JustHenry88 View Post
    People keep referring to volume but like I said that's not the issue. It's the quality of the audio, I've compared mp3s downloaded from the same source on my iPhone and s4 back to back and the difference is massive. The iPhone has a fuller, deeper more emersive sound where as the s4 sounds dull & flat. I've tried adapt sound but it hasn't had a noticeable effect. The headphones I'm using are also gummies which I've used for around 5 years with an ipod/iphone as well as the stock headphones that come with the s4. The reason I would swap for the HTC one is because I want a top android smart phone of a certain size and these two seem to be the best on the market. I'd be surprised if the audio was also, so badly overlooked on the HTC especially as they seem to have expressed somewhat of an emphasis on audio with their beats endorsement.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
    I have the one and s4 and came from a 4s. Using the same rocketfish headphones the one and the s4 are about the same and the 4s not as good.

    Posted via Android Central App
  10. #10  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by JustHenry88 View Post
    People keep referring to volume but like I said that's not the issue. It's the quality of the audio, I've compared mp3s downloaded from the same source on my iPhone and s4 back to back and the difference is massive. The iPhone has a fuller, deeper more emersive sound where as the s4 sounds dull & flat. I've tried adapt sound but it hasn't had a noticeable effect. The headphones I'm using are also gummies which I've used for around 5 years with an ipod/iphone as well as the stock headphones that come with the s4. The reason I would swap for the HTC one is because I want a top android smart phone of a certain size and these two seem to be the best on the market. I'd be surprised if the audio was also, so badly overlooked on the HTC especially as they seem to have expressed somewhat of an emphasis on audio with their beats endorsement.

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
    You do realize that "beats" is mostly an EQ right? If you want better sound invest in some quality headphones that are efficient for mobile devices.
  11. #11  
    Kevin O'Quinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Could this be related to the low impedance issues people are having? We would need to know what headphones you're using specifically.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk 4 Beta
    Kevin F.I.M.T.K. O'Quinn Esq.
  12. #12  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Yea my 5th generation ipod touch sounds better than my S4 and I had the HTC One before this and the audio on that was a lot better for hip hop which is what I listen the most to. I would try the HTC One if you are looking for an Android phone with excellent audio

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Android Central Forums
  13. #13  
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    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Try the Equalizer app on the play store
    Set custom eq to:
    7
    6
    1
    6
    7
    Bass boost 25%

    Then get a pair of Woodies in ear headphones off Amazon for $35.

    Finally pair the two with the Google play music app and you are good to go.

    Sorry I don't have links, but can't post any from where I am right now. PM me if you need more.

    Posted via Android Central App
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  14. Thread Author  Thread Author    #14  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    @madlaw really? I'm starting to wonder if I have a defective unit

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
  15. Thread Author  Thread Author    #15  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by cordoni View Post
    Try the Equalizer app on the play store
    Set custom eq to:
    7
    6
    1
    6
    7
    Bass boost 25%

    Then get a pair of Woodies in ear headphones off Amazon for $35.

    Finally pair the two with the Google play music app and you are good to go.

    Sorry I don't have links, but can't post any from where I am right now. PM me if you need more.

    Posted via Android Central App
    Thanks for the advice I'll try out the app

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
  16. Thread Author  Thread Author    #16  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by craigrn16 View Post
    Yea my 5th generation ipod touch sounds better than my S4 and I had the HTC One before this and the audio on that was a lot better for hip hop which is what I listen the most to. I would try the HTC One if you are looking for an Android phone with excellent audio

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Android Central Forums
    Are u gonna stick with s4, why did u lose the HTC one

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
  17. #17  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    IMO for value and quality, the Klipsch S4 buds rock.
  18. #18  
    mhynek's Avatar

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    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    I use Poweramp and a set of Sennheiser ear buds. The combination of the two is outstanding. Very rich bass, crisp highs, and the mids are clear and un-muddled. No complaints.

    Sent from my MZ617 using Tapatalk 2
  19. #19  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    When shopping for my phone I brought my Koss head phones (50$ for the pair I have) and used them in both the s4 and the htc One.

    I was really impressed with The One but now that I have The One with the head phones that come with it... My Koss head phones are collecting dust. I'm just amazed that this sound comes from a phone.

    No experience with Apple though. My daughter had an ipod but I never used it.

    Anyways I would suggest just that. Bring your headphones to the store and pop em in lol

    Good luck on whatever decision you choose

    Sent from my EVO using Android Central Forums
    Owner of a replacement Htc One... Till something better comes along
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  20. #20  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by rushmore View Post
    You need to invest in an audio player with built in gain increase, or the app called Volume +. You can then increase gain to equal the output of the iPhone. Same thing with my iPod 5. Sounds better than any device I have tried. Not just the S4.
    You can't get Volume + on the Galaxy S4
  21. #21  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Quote Originally Posted by JustHenry88 View Post
    @madlaw really? I'm starting to wonder if I have a defective unit

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Android Central Forums
    Yes Henry. I've used the same headphones with all devices. S4 and One sound head and shoulders above iPhone and even the S3.
  22. #22  

    Default

    Cordoni's post helped improve the quality of my music even though I'm just using the standard Samsung earphone. I'll explore more using other earphones.

    Posted via Android Central App
  23. #23  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    Thanks a lot for the post. I went to the play store and was immediately overwhelmed - WHICH equalizer app? I was using Power Amp on my Droid Charge and have been disappointed in the sound on the S4 so would appreciate suggestions for which equalizer and what would you recommend for a music program. I tend to listen to jazz, some classical, electronic - don't need or want a pounding bass.
    Thanks a lot.
    Louise
  24. #24  
    Dreamliner330's Avatar

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    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    The problem is the physical DAC used by Samsung. It simply is not quality. No amount of EQ or apps will fix the issue. With the same headphones and quality sound file, the iPhone will produce superior sound.

    JustHenry, if your looking for premium sound quality I'd keep your iPhone/iPod handy or look into Cowon.

    Wolfson DAC is what you want. The S4 doesn't have it. (Neither does the iPhone, but it still sounds better than the S4)

    To anyone who attempts to argue this post: I am referring to sonic quality from the headphone jack.
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  25. #25  

    Default Re: S4 audio quality sucks

    When looking for IEMs take a look at this thread too: Sound crackling/distortion with certain headphones? - xda-developers

    Some low impedance IEMs have issues with the S4 i9505. They crackle badly.

    Sadly, it seems that Samsung has paid off news outlets not to disclose this issue. Emailed GSMArena, commented on their reviews etc, and any comment on this issue is strangely removed. PMed Alex Dobie about this issue but I haven't heard nary a word from him three weeks later :/
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