FORUMS
Remove All Ads from XDA

M8 - Audiophile thread

942 posts
Thanks Meter: 983
 
By Jamal Ahmed, Senior Member on 30th July 2014, 07:15 PM
Post Reply Email Thread
We seriously need a sound quality-related thread for this phone.
I'll start first.

I think this phone's audio is OK, best I've seen by far, but not as detailed as I'd like it. I seldom change phones, so I will compare it (very neutrally) with my previous phone: Note 3.

The Note supports 24-bit/192 kHz, while this phone's international model supports 24-bit/96 kHz.

This phone's Boomsound software is actually a pretty good feature and raises just the right frequencies to the right extent, without distorting the authentic experience. But it was so loud/wild that it started to blow even my studio monitor Audio-Technica M50, which was something purely related to not up-to-the-mark coding, blowing off relatively neutral headphones.

But I just updated to 4.4.3 firmware, and they have actually improved a lot on that software deficiency. The headphones do not feel blown even at full volume, which is a giant leap considering how "sensitive" audio equalizers like BoomSound are to reach perfection. Sure, they still haven't reached perfection; audio loses detail nearly last 2 steps of volume, but it's nice to see they are actually improving on that.

Of course, I can turn off Boomsound anytime and be as authentic as anything, but for me boomsound is just a priceless software I'm yet to find in any mobile yet.

Note 3 had Adapt Sound, which is a great equalizer to tweak sound to the best too. But I like how you don't have to take an audiometry-like test just to improve sound on your phone in M8. (Not bashing Note 3's audio at all, just my preference).

I think I read in the official features of Android L that external DAC will be natively supported (correct me if I'm wrong), so I'm really looking forward to the future of audio in this phone.

P.s. I would give an arm and leg to try out Harmon Kardon mod for this phone, but I can't because of no S-Off. I really can't wait to hear the difference between Boomsound and Harmon Kardon myself. Well, until the day I can get the mod!

Sent from my HTC One_M8 using XDA Premium 4 mobile app
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Jamal Ahmed For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift Jamal Ahmed Ad-Free
 
 
30th July 2014, 07:35 PM |#2  
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 116
 
More
Pay the 25 dollars...
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to erapmicks For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift erapmicks Ad-Free
30th July 2014, 07:48 PM |#3  
09Ram's Avatar
Senior Member
Flag Ottawa
Thanks Meter: 852
 
Donate to Me
More
OP, I think this thread is a good idea

I hope that we will get some good input and development info here

P.S. HK on 4.4.3 is awesome!
Link: http://forum.xda-developers.com/htc-...ne-m8-t2827439
The Following User Says Thank You to 09Ram For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift 09Ram Ad-Free
30th July 2014, 07:53 PM |#4  
Jamal Ahmed's Avatar
OP Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 983
 
More
Quote:
Originally Posted by erapmicks

Pay the 25 dollars...


Willing to pay, even tried all I could to pay them in *any* way but my country has no PayPal, and even a live chat with the developers could not find a workaround for the issue

I'm just refreshing their page everyday to see if new payment methods become available.




Quote:
Originally Posted by 09Ram

OP, I think this thread is a good idea

I hope that we will get some good input and development info here

As a really really really enthusiastic audiophile who is trying all his can to learn music and stuff, I wanted views of everyone, pro or not, on this phone's audio. Can't wait to see how the feedback/discussions help us!!!

Sent from my HTC One_M8 using XDA Premium 4 mobile app
30th July 2014, 08:01 PM |#5  
WarCow's Avatar
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 174
 
More
Good stuff, you sound like you know your stuff What is your opinion of the stock earbuds that come with the phone?
30th July 2014, 08:13 PM |#6  
Jamal Ahmed's Avatar
OP Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 983
 
More
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarCow

Good stuff, you sound like you know your stuff What is your opinion of the stock earbuds that come with the phone?

Just like HTC's previous ear buds which came with M7, they lean towards a more bass-y sound. The sound is hence easier on the ears, and the best point about these earplugs is that they are at least able to playback all (OK, not all, but a lot more than any I've seen come from any phone) frequencies. This is most noticeable as the lower frequencies, the bass, is actually *booming* at lower volumes with these earplugs. Which is relatively hard to attain in earphones.

But apart from bass being good (which targets a more encompassing audience which likes bass-y music), the sound maintains its balance. It's not obsessively bass-y, and not too peaked at higher frequencies too.

The new 4.4.3 update made the audio more "muddier/bass-y/low frequency-focused", than I'd like though. It is, in my opinion, a downgrade from previous version. But yes, an upgrade in the part that the crucial frequencies aren't "blown" like the previous one.

Let me give you my point of view. How *I* like my music. I like it as authentic as possible. I'm what you might call an audio purist/fundamentalist person.

One last point about the earphones. The earphones are a bit fatiguing. They fatigue my ear more than other earphones I've tried, despite the easier, softer audio focus.


Sent from my HTC One_M8 using XDA Premium 4 mobile app
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jamal Ahmed For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift Jamal Ahmed Ad-Free
30th July 2014, 10:44 PM |#7  
lsv-1's Avatar
Senior Member
Flag San Jose
Thanks Meter: 127
 
Donate to Me
More
Thumbs up
Great thread! I do really enjoy good audio myself!

What I regret is that I converted my phone to Google Play Edition and that really changes how boomsound works. I am going back to Sense.

In my case, and I do not know why I am the only one that notices, but the soundstage goes on and off when listening to music and touching the home button. Stay away from GPE people.

In regards to the headphones I think they're pretty good too considering they're $6 earbuds. Lots of people say "Hey this earbuds suck" but what they do not know is that the plug size really MATTERS!!! If you don't choose the correct plug size any earbuds sound like crap.

I would really like to test the V-Moda Crossfade m-100 headphones on my phone, but I spent the money on a Samsung Gear Live I had the V-Moda Crossfade LP2s and sold them, they are great but bass-y (I don't have much time to use headphones), I use my car audio and my home theater system (MartinLogan speakers + Denon A/V receiver).
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to lsv-1 For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift lsv-1 Ad-Free
31st July 2014, 10:29 PM |#8  
Account currently disabled
Thanks Meter: 1,251
 
More
I converted my m8 to EU stock rom so I haven't tested it thoroughly yet. I did like the sound on .2 minus boomsound. BS was OK on some hip hop but overpowering on other genres. I've been working too much OT to test but has the mono USB audio out been fixed? I don't think many people noticed that that use external DAC s. Output through my JDS labs CD5 was mono but headphone out was still awesome. Has anybody noticed if it's been fixed?

Sent from HTC One_M8 using hofo app.
1st August 2014, 08:59 AM |#9  
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 118
 
More
Sry in advance, too long post :<
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamal Ahmed

This phone's Boomsound software is actually a pretty good feature and raises just the right frequencies to the right extent, without distorting the authentic experience. But it was so loud/wild that it started to blow even my studio monitor Audio-Technica M50, which was something purely related to not up-to-the-mark coding, blowing off relatively neutral headphones.

But I just updated to 4.4.3 firmware, and they have actually improved a lot on that software deficiency. The headphones do not feel blown even at full volume, which is a giant leap considering how "sensitive" audio equalizers like BoomSound are to reach perfection. Sure, they still haven't reached perfection; audio loses detail nearly last 2 steps of volume, but it's nice to see they are actually improving on that.

Of course, I can turn off Boomsound anytime and be as authentic as anything, but for me boomsound is just a priceless software I'm yet to find in any mobile yet.

How can you call this an Audiophile thread with these claims? (no offense tho).

Boomsound is the by far most horrible crap, you can use for headphones, if you truly want a high audio quality.
And i am not talking about, that you might "like" the different sounding, when the bass/treble is raised, and the mids are lowered.
I talk about the PURE quality of the sound. Its worse. It is. Noise and distortion are by worlds higher. With my Beyerdynamic T90 (yes, treble peak.. but still) and also with my pretty neutal Logitech UE 900 it was not listenable. The treble distorted in alot songs, it hurts in the ears etc.

I still DO think, if Boomsound would do the same, but NOT raise the treble, if would be by miles better as a "fun-setting". But like this, its not usable, tbh.

Also, if you want a sorce besides my ears: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8078/s...ng-galaxy-s5/2
Scroll down.
Quote:

Comparing the THD+N ratio of BoomSound On to Off shows far more noise and distortion as well. If you want boomy bass, a harsh top-end, and no midrange, then use BoomSound. A better choice is to find headphones that suit your listening preferences more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamal Ahmed

I think I read in the official features of Android L that external DAC will be natively supported (correct me if I'm wrong), so I'm really looking forward to the future of audio in this phone.

If I am not mistaken, this feature is supported by Android from version 4.3 onwards. So, witha Fiio E07k, E18~ you should be able to use it as a DAC. In the M8 audio quality thread on head-fi.org, one User uses the E18 with this, and can't disable Boomsound, while using an external DAC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamal Ahmed

P.s. I would give an arm and leg to try out Harmon Kardon mod for this phone, but I can't because of no S-Off. I really can't wait to hear the difference between Boomsound and Harmon Kardon myself. Well, until the day I can get the mod!

Even if i do absolutely not share your opinion about Boomsound via Headphones, you might still be interested in my opinion in this comparison.

Boomsound:
Just a cheap EQ setting. Works well together with the external speakers, but is pretty crap for Headphones (maybe its fine with dull headphones, which dont have good treble/clarity. Maybe Shure SE 215, or some other basshead headphones).
I truly cant recommend it. And like i said, its NOT because the EQ setting changes the "true sound" (i like the Use of EQs to do some fine tuning if needed), but because using this raises the noise AND distortion by a good bunch. You can hear that strongly. At least i can.

PLUS, theres one big thing: This is just ONE strong agressive Preset of an EQ. Bass below 120 hz gets +5db, lower mids (120-1000 Hz) gets lowered by up to -5 dB, while the frequencies from 2000 up to 10k+ Hz) gets raised by 4,5db. Above 10k Hz its even above 5 dB).
This makes the difference Bass/treble, to the Mids from 0 dB to 10 dB, since +5 and -5 adds to 10. Thats a really hard difference.
So, in conclusion: Depending on headphones, this might sound better, or actually MUCH worse.
Bassy headphones, lets take your M50s, already have strong bass. Depending on frequency response, that bass could even "overlap" the mids, if the bass is too strong. you can see that on beats headphones. With Boomsound, the bass gets even more stronger, and the mids will get even more back in the background. Alot Headphones, that have a V-curve (and so naturally weaks in the mids) gets even weaker mids.
Also, depending on your headphones also as with the Audio files, the distortion gets raised by a little, or maybe by A LOT.
If you are not happy with your Headphone sounding, you should maybe try another Headphone.
If you just need some fine tuning, then you are by MILES better, if you just use PowerAmp, and its Equalizer, since it can react like a million times better to the individual frequency response of the headphones, and to your own personal taste. Boomsound here is more like "boom in your face. be happy with it, or cry"

Harman & Kardon Soundmod:
Now, this thing is alot different. This is actually Not an Equalizer, like Boomsound. H&K's "Clear-Fi" technology tries to take a strongly compressed Audiofile, and tries to recreate the missing parts.
So, it tries to raise the pure "compressed" audioquality of bad audiofiles.
I personally have mostly 256+ kbit/s MP3s, and Flacs. So, this technology wont help much. it sounds almost the exact same --> not really usefull. You just wont hear much of a difference, unless your Files have a bad quality. And if they do, then get better quality files, instead of such a software, that might not even work well enough.
But, this Soundmod disables Boomsound. Yes, you can find a "trick", where you change the Boomsound parameter from false to true in a script, and enabling it back in the menu. But, it will NOT be active. its like just menu decoration. The "boomsound" sign in the task bar will not be there - Not even with external speakers.
Boomsound is made ONLY for the External speakers, they work together quite well. Without Boomsound (ergo, with H&K soundmod flashed), the External speakers will sound much more thin/tinny. I have yet to find a way to have Boomsound for the speakers, and H&K Soundmod for headphones. Unless theres something new here, this is not possible together.

Lets go a bit deeper into the Audiophile theorycrafting:
H&K's "Clear-Fi", and its purpose might sound awesome. But it has its negative sights:
- It only helps on Crappy Audiophiles. Someone, who cares about audio quality will not use <128 kbit/s mp3s. At LEAST 192, but more 256-320 Kbit/s or even flac. So this will not help you, as the compression on 256+ is not strong enough, to make a difference (also, because most songs have a crappy quality from beeing badly mastered)
- The thoughts behind clear-fi are adressing the "problem" at the totally wrong spot. On most songs, it just does not matter, what file quality (bitrate etc) you use, because most songs are just really really crappy mastered in the studio. Its because alot people dont care about audio quality. so they use cheap crap, like beats headphones, logitech speakers for 30 bucks, and 10 bucks earphones etc. Crappy mastered/produced music sounds better on cheap devices, than a high quality master.

I mean, how are you supposed to "guess" the higher quality, if the artists arent producing high quality music?
I think, the following is a perfect comparison:
You create a 480p Movie, and try to upscale it into 1080p using a cheap software... Do you honestly think, that will raise the quality? I personally don't..

So, to make it pretty short: The worse your File quality is (and higher the file compression), the more "Clear-Fi" might make a difference.
The higher the file quality, the less difference this will make.

To get a high audio quality into your ears, you need a different priority:
1. The Song must be produced in a good/high quality. Much more important, than Bitrate. For example: Michael Jackson's Thriller album at 128 kbit/s will sound much better, than the new Linkin Park Album in 320 kbit+. (i like linkin park, but the new album has such an incredible low quality... its like zero fun listening to it, when you have really good headphones)
2. You need good headphones (Besides the master quality headphones are responsible for like 70-90% of the Audioquality. The REST comes from the DAC/AMP)
3. DAC / AMP Quality

The "Chain" is important. If just one part of it has a low quality, the whole chain will sound low.
The Following 21 Users Say Thank You to Darkseth For This Useful Post: [ View ] Gift Darkseth Ad-Free
1st August 2014, 11:27 AM |#10  
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 532
 
More
good thread, I like quality audio too and use my M8 for music player, stream music at home etc

have a few high quality headphones like Sennheiser On Ear momentum, shure se215, hifiman re 400 and NAD HP50

with boomsound turned on, headphones sound awefull then I realised that it can be turned off with headpohone is connected, and with that off, sound quality is clean and crisp

I like neutral sound, true to source but maybe a bit high on treble....so far sound quality is good and is comparable to my previous note 3...note 3 was the best clean souding phone I hear so far though

any other suggestion to get a clean sound would be much helpfull
1st August 2014, 11:28 AM |#11  
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 33
 
More
Angry
Long post (Darkseth), but ultimately just regurgitated from other audiophile nonsense. Boomsound is fine, and it's just elitist to claim it is anything else.

Most people like more bass in their music, most artists sound crap when played back without EQ. You can like it how it's meant to sound but artists want what THEY like, not what I like.

My favorite sound is poweramp music player with bass and treble cranked up, the mid tones almost removed as they sound rubbish with almost all music, and boomsound on top.

I am A1 qualified audiophile with qualifications from the school of knowing what I like


/bowing out and sorry if I derail anything.
Post Reply Subscribe to Thread

Guest Quick Reply (no urls or BBcode)
Message:
Previous Thread Next Thread
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes