iPhone 3G vs iPhone: Sound Quality

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milaz001

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Has anyone compared the audio quality on the new iPhone versus the original. The review seems to give the nod to the new device, which uses a different DAC chip. Any thoughts from other folks?
 

dmiZe

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milaz001 said:
Has anyone compared the audio quality on the new iPhone versus the original. The review seems to give the nod to the new device, which uses a different DAC chip. Any thoughts from other folks?
Yes, the new one sounds better than the original, especially when you're on 3G
 

Jesse Hollington

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Are you referring to sound quality for music playback or sound quality when on calls?

The sound quality for audio playback is dramatically improved on the iPhone 3G compared to the original iPhone. The sound quality on calls is going to vary with your neighbourhood and network coverage, but is generally slightly better -- perhaps only due to better earpiece fidelity, however.

The Bluetooth headset sound quality seems dramatically improved as well, however, and the speaker is much louder (and therefore provides better sound quality as well - at least for a small monaural speaker).
 
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milaz001

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I'm referring to the audio quality for music playback, not phone calls. It's good to hear that the quality is improved. Hopefully, the next iPod Touch will get the same type of audio quality upgrade.
 

spiderma

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sound quality maybe good but the speaker volume sucks, i think it should be a lot louder then it is. my mates n95 is so much louder then my iphone it puts it to shame.
 

Jesse Hollington

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Oh yes.... The difference there is night and day, and to be honest it would almost have been worth getting the new one just for the improvements in speaker volume. :)
 

dmiZe

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Ohh as far as music playback, yes thats better as well.

I agree the speaker is much clearer as well as louder
 

Saiing

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I've found the overall sound quality to be VERY disappointing to the point where I'm considering exchanging my phone (although since I've heard 2 phones and they both have the same problem, I'm wondering what good this will do.) This is a copy of a quick post I wrote in the Apple support forums:

Distortion appears to be a real problem with the 3G iPhone.

The sound quality at reasonable volume levels, particularly in the bottom end is really poor. I started noticing soon after I purchased it that the bass was distorting noticeably, and when there was a lot of degradation of sound quality over a wide range of frequencies. I tested it with 3 pairs of headphones (cheap $10 Sony, decent $100 Sennheisers, and some high end Denon reference headphones). In all three tests the bottom end was muddy, indistinct and worst of all was noticeably distorting.

I also tried the same selection on a friend's iPhone with identical (i.e. poor) results. It's ironic that the better the headphones you use with an iPhone, the more noticeable the problems are due to the more accurate representation of the sound actually coming out of the phone.

I then played the same selection of mp3s on my Mac Pro, and on an MP3 capable hifi, and nothing was wrong with them (i.e. it wasn't the encoding of the mp3 that was at fault).

This is deeply disappointing as I'd really hoped to be able to carry just one unit around in future (the iPhone) but with such poor sound reproduction I think I'm going to have to dig out my iPod Nano again.
 

spiderma

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all i can say is the first iphone must have sounded really bad if this is a great improvement.
 

Skrat

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Saiing said:
I've found the overall sound quality to be VERY disappointing to the point where I'm considering exchanging my phone (although since I've heard 2 phones and they both have the same problem, I'm wondering what good this will do.) This is a copy of a quick post I wrote in the Apple support forums:

Distortion appears to be a real problem with the 3G iPhone.

The sound quality at reasonable volume levels, particularly in the bottom end is really poor. I started noticing soon after I purchased it that the bass was distorting noticeably, and when there was a lot of degradation of sound quality over a wide range of frequencies. I tested it with 3 pairs of headphones (cheap $10 Sony, decent $100 Sennheisers, and some high end Denon reference headphones). In all three tests the bottom end was muddy, indistinct and worst of all was noticeably distorting.

I also tried the same selection on a friend's iPhone with identical (i.e. poor) results. It's ironic that the better the headphones you use with an iPhone, the more noticeable the problems are due to the more accurate representation of the sound actually coming out of the phone.

I then played the same selection of mp3s on my Mac Pro, and on an MP3 capable hifi, and nothing was wrong with them (i.e. it wasn't the encoding of the mp3 that was at fault).

This is deeply disappointing as I'd really hoped to be able to carry just one unit around in future (the iPhone) but with such poor sound reproduction I think I'm going to have to dig out my iPod Nano again.
My iPhone 3G doesn't have any of the distortion you are talking about. Bass is crisp and clear on my AKG K27i headphones. In fact, I have to say that my iPhone actually sounds noticeably better than my old 30Gb 5G iPod. I'm very happy to be able to carry around one device now instead of two.
 

deftdrummer1

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the sound quality and volume of my new 3G beats the pants off any mobile phone I have ever used.
 

kyussmondo

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I wouldn't say the volume beats the pants off any other mobile, but the sound quality definitely does. Pretty amazing how Apple managed to get that kind of quality out of such a small speaker.

Saiing, I appreciate your concerns, however for 90% of iPhone or iPod users then the new iPhone probably sounds great to them. The iPhone is hardly an audiophile device. Comparable to other "phones" then it is probably one of the best. The iPhones main use is still a phone.
 

deftdrummer1

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kyussmondo said:
I wouldn't say the volume beats the pants off any other mobile, but the sound quality definitely does. Pretty amazing how Apple managed to get that kind of quality out of such a small speaker.

Saiing, I appreciate your concerns, however for 90% of iPhone or iPod users then the new iPhone probably sounds great to them. The iPhone is hardly an audiophile device. Comparable to other "phones" then it is probably one of the best. The iPhones main use is still a phone.
Well apparently the 3G uses the same audio chip as the ipod classics. So to some people the 3G iphone may very well be up to audiophile standards depending on the listener, file type, and encoding. There is no clear definition of an "audiophile" in the purist sense of the word, since tastes vary between listeners.
 

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deftdrummer1 said:
Well apparently the 3G uses the same audio chip as the ipod classics.
While the ilounge review suggested this might be true due to both having similarly low background noise levels, this is appears to be wrong. The iPod Classic used a Cirrus Logic audio codec chip. Whereas the 3g iPhone uses "the Wolfson WM6180C audio codec, which replaces the WM8758 used on the original iPhone"

Personally I'm really happy with the iPhone sound quality. My previous iPod, a monochrome 4g finally gave up the ghost a few months ago, but going by my ears' memory of it, the iPhone 3g sounds better. It's also much, much better than my (admittedly, much cheaper) nokia 6300.
 
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floridapilot

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IPhone 3G ipod sound quality is very bad

Hello,
I stumbled upon this forum looking online to see if anyone else was experiencing what I have.

My girlfriend and I both bought 16GB iPhone 3G's last week.

I am very disappointed in the audio quality.

I am a purist who can hear the difference between codecs, and though I am one of those who think uncompressed CD is a mediocre format quality-wise, and generally speaking lossy compression (reduction!) is particularly awful, I can appreciate decent quality portable sound, accept it for what it is and enjoy reasonable fidelity.

I encode at 320kbps AAC from original CDs, and I use the venerable Koss PortaPro headphones as well as a set of Bose QuietComfort 2's. For reasons audiophiles will understand, I do not like EQ and listen to everything flat (EQ off). So, the distortion I am about to complain about is not the result of digital clipping.

While I am aware of the shortcomings of both headsets, and neither one is a Grado, I generally think the PortaPros are excellent as portable headsets and the gold standard as far as what is on the market today in lightweight open-air cans. (Better than the Senn PX-100's).

On my Sony WM-D6C and my Allen & Heath home headphone preamp, I find the sound quality of high bitrate digital audio through these cans to be quite good, all things considered. On my Bendix/King AV8OR GPS, which doubles as a media player, the sound is quite good for a portable device playing compressed digital audio.

I am mentioning the equipment to illustrate that a) I am testing the 3G with decent source material and good headsets (not lousy earbuds, etc.) and b) that while I am a purist, my complaints here are well beyond audiophile snobbery.

That said, the iPhone 3G is the second worst sounding portable listening device I have heard since the 1st and 2nd generation portable minidisc players. (The worst is a Philips portable CD player circa 2002).

The bottom end is quite punchy and full, but the frequency response curve must resemble a nice pair of double-D's laid sideways. There is a peak in the midbass that results in downright mud. Highs are so scratchy and coarse I had to double-check my encoding settings and listen to my files on an alternate player to rule out severe compression artifacts as the cause.

Worst of all, there is a LOT of distortion in the lower mids, especially in complex signals.
This player has more distortion than any other portable player I have ever listened to, all the way back to cassette walkmans from the 80's. The vocals on most source material, especially when there are a lot of harmonies, are loaded with distortion.

This is not headphone amp clipping due to high volume/inefficient headphones. It is present with the volume turned down low.

For the sake of comparison, I also own an iPod Mini, a first-generation shuffle, and a first gen Nano.

I found the G1 shuffle to be excellent, if lacking a bit in power and high-end detail. The mini was lacking in bottom and had a lot of harmonic distortion in the treble, and the G1 Nano is relatively flat but has an overall constrained sound and a boxy bottom end.

All of the above were much cleaner than the iPhone 3G. The iP3G seems to have plenty of power and a spaciousness lacking on all of the above except for the G1 Shuffle. Too bad it is so dirty.

At first, i couldn't believe the device really sounded this bad, but I loaded some good recordings on my girlfriend's iP3G- same audio characteristics on hers.

I am running firmware version 2.0.2.

I was hoping with this device I would have phone, internet, mobile apps, and my music collection all in one device-just carry some good headphones with me and I would be all set.

I'll still be keeping the phone, because of all else it does well.
But, when I want to enjoy good sound I will need to carry another player.
 

n3tfury

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jhollington said:
The sound quality for audio playback is dramatically improved over the original iPhone 3G.
there's a v2 of the iphone 3g?
 

deftdrummer1

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floridapilot hasn't even posted since this. What I got out of his post was: "I'm an audiophile, cause I said so, and here's why the iphone sucks as a music player".

An internet rest stop if you will.
 
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