Audio Quality And Enhancements: Exynos’s Mi Audio Vs. Qualcomm’s Aptx Technology. – Samsung’s mid-range devices are generally considered some of the best phones on the market, in part because of what Samsung keeps inside. To keep things going, Samsung is all set to equip its next-gen mid-range devices with its latest chip, Exynos 1380.
Exynos 1380 brings a few minor improvements in overall performance to the table. The chip follows the 5nm EUV process and comes with 4 Cortex-A78 and 4 Cortex-A55 cores. Pairing, the 1380 features an Arm Mali-G68 MP5 GPU and an AI engine that goes a little further.
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According to Samsung, the new artificial intelligence engine can perform more advanced language recognition, especially for voice assistants. Broader AI capabilities are also extended to image recognition, improving the SoC’s ability to identify and process images and details. This comes as Samsung focuses more on AI-processed images.
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Interestingly, Samsung’s Exynos 1380 can also support cameras up to 200 MP; This is a big jump in megapixel count for mid-range devices. However, it can also support 4K at 30fps and uses USF 3.1 storage for fast save and recall.
Exynos 1380, the successor to Exynos 1280, is intended to be a mid-range chip that will likely be used in upcoming A series devices. Last year’s Galaxy A33 found itself powered by the Exynos 1280, so it would be easy to assume that the upcoming Galaxy A34 would see Samsung’s latest SoC, even though it might see the Dimensity MT6877V in some regions. According to recent leaks, Galaxy A34 will come with 6 GB RAM and 256 GB expandable storage.
Every day you read experts breaking news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem. Be sure to check out our website for the latest news and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up to date. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, guides and subscribe to our YouTube channelSamsung Galaxy S 2 (International) Review – The Best Redefined by Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi September 11, 2011 11:06 EST
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We asked Francois Simond (supercurio), the creator of the wildly popular voodoo and voodoo audio enhancement suites and an Android hacker focused on audio, video and imaging, to break the record on the audio quality of the Samsung Galaxy S 2. Additionally, Francois will help us test audio quality on smartphones and mobile devices, and we will continue to contribute as it quickly becomes an important industry focus.
Galaxy S II brings with it many expectations in the field of audio. Samsung’s previous flagship family, the Galaxy S (also known as Vibrant, Captivate, Fascinate, Galaxy S 4G, Epic 4G in the US), upped the ante by using a quality implementation of the Wolfson Micro WM8994 codec. The available special modes that adjust the use of the WM8994 managed to increase the quality as well as the headphone output levels higher than expected.
But for the Galaxy S II, Samsung switched audio IC supplier to popular Japanese brand Yamaha, which has made a big foray into low-power codec for smartphones. The name of the chip used in Galaxy S II devices is C1-YMU823 (also referred to as MC-1N2).
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The datasheet isn’t publicly available, but it’s a chip designed to compete with the latest Wolfson and TI offerings, and is likely a custom product designed to meet Samsung’s requirements.
Smartphone audio capabilities are gaining importance, as evidenced by growing interest among readers and the recent strategic alliances of HTC and Beats by Dre. Of course, solid voice search performance remains a major concern. Many smartphone owners now use their devices as their primary music player, sometimes with high-end headphones.
Die-hard enthusiasts expected the Galaxy S II, as a music player, to sound at least as good as Apple’s rival, the iPhone 4, and replace the performance of its bigger brother, the Galaxy S.
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Yamaha’s MC-1N2 codec has some nice theoretical specs, but the promised audio fidelity translates into a lackluster reproduction plagued by several key issues, pushing Samsung’s flagship out of the audio enthusiast category. Even worse: Only some of these problems can be solved by using additional equipment such as an attenuator or active headphone amplifier.
Most listeners today enjoy music with isolating headphones, as they are useful for listening to music or podcasts in noisy environments without turning up the volume and causing listening fatigue. Most in-ear devices are very sensitive. Combined with low impedance and 20dB isolation, hiss and other noises become quickly noticeable.
It is not recommended to rub the Galaxy S II directly on sensitive ears as you will easily hear the CPU working. Fixing the CPU frequency to maximum (rooted phones only) does not prevent this annoying noise that reminds us of cheap integrated audio codecs from a dozen years ago. Undoubtedly, the sound and noise levels of the Galaxy S II headphone output are much lower, but today’s standard mobile headsets easily reveal them.
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Radio GSM/EDGE noise can also be heard if you use sensitive headphones; This indicates a possible hardware design fault in the codec or card. The culprit is poor EMI shielding.
Due to its sputtering nature, this defect is difficult to detect in measurements and, fortunately, is less audible in medium sensitivity headphones and not at all in low sensitivity headphones.
You can solve this problem by using an attenuator or amplifier: increase the Android digital output level to maximum and adjust the volume with the amplifier to your needs.
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With the current Android audio implementation, all media types are sent to the DAC as a 44100/16bit/stereo stream. Despite using a fixed speed, Yamaha’s codec is not capable of producing a very clean output.
Galaxy S II DAC output quality is limited due to various types of distortion. Despite initial Korean updates announcing “sound clarity improvements”, no firmware has been able to fix them so far.
When playing music, these artifacts are perceived as “lack of clarity”, “reduced stereo separation”, “loss of detail” and “lifeless sound” (as opposed to liveliness).
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Not the best ever but pretty straight forward. The slight fluctuation in the frequency response starting from 1kHz gives a clue as to what we will see in the next graphs.
In the graph of noise levels and dynamic range, I’ve included measurements of the Apple iPad and the reference sound card for comparison purposes.
We see good performances here. Theoretically and measured under ideal conditions, the Galaxy S II has a low noise level and a very good dynamic range. However, if noise levels are quite low at high frequencies, they increase at lower frequencies, which is either unexpected or a good sign because they are more likely to be heard.
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THD is calculated by measuring the harmonics produced by electronic circuits when a 1kHz signal is played back. As you can guess from the shape of this graph, there is a problem here.
In terms of sound and perception, harmonics add color to the sound; nice distortion, the kind that tube amplifiers sometimes add.
The THD measurement itself becomes somewhat irrelevant as noise and other distortions are high. Unfortunately the 0.0036% of actual performance is not there.
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IMD+ What noise means needs an explanation: I think it would be safe to define it as “any noise and distortion that occurs when you play a signal” – the opposite of the signal itself.
The importance of IMD + Noise is often underestimated, as if it is useless because we already have another distortion value (THD). However, it is generally more representative of overall performance and perceived sound quality.
No matter how low the theoretical noise floor is, the Yamaha MC-1N2 DAC has trouble playing signals. As you might guess from this last comparison graph and the number of spikes that indicate a sound that shouldn’t be there. The iPad DAC isn’t perfect either, but it still produces much cleaner sound. The reference DAC shows what the graph should be like.
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The 63.7dB level for “noise and distortions” is far from the level of performance expected from the last generation audio IC.
In fact, when you play something as simple as one frequency at a time, the result isn’t that bad; music rarely consists of simple sinuses.
My guess is that Yamaha’s internal codec behavior is corrupted by a flickering clock source (like the Exynos AP PLL clock). If not? This means the DAC design is faulty. The first hypothesis is more likely: Implementation is always difficult on a small card with very low power consumption.
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The spectrogram allows you to “see” the sound; so I’ll use this colorful presentation to show you some examples of Galaxy S II audio output.
Udial is a very interesting example that has been floating around the forums for over a decade. I couldn’t find the author to thank him for his clever idea. udial is a very effective stress tester that allows simple testing for clipping, resampling, and some types of jitter.
The performance of the Galaxy S II is not bad, but it is not perfect either. Artifacts can be heard and seen in this spectrogram. I must admit that it is mysterious to me that some of them are “late”.
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Simple bass sine allows you to control a few things: clipping, unwanted EQ, Bass Boost or Dynamic Range Compression as well as problematic DC Servo setup.
Galaxy S II shows works again. If you download the output of the associated FLAC recording phone you can:
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