Just did a quick 5 minutes of testing 3 different songs on my FP2 and my Laptop, playing them in sync and switching my headphones back and forth. I can’t say I notice any difference in audio quality. Bass and treble seem to be the same, max volume seems to be a bit higher on the FP2 than on my Asus laptop. My headphones are certainly no high quality ones, but I’ve been happy with them so far and so for me the FP2 sound output is fully sufficient…
I have now tried a little more, but no different results. However I think I can live with it although I still believe it sounds a bit dull and lacks precision
I didn’t order the FP for using it as a high end music player but for known other reasons. I love pretty much everything else about the phone. This is why I’ll most likely keep it and if I really should get annoyed by its sound, I might just buy a good portable music player
Streaming via dlna works fine, by the way. no difference to my other devices. Haven’t tried Bluetooth yet as my sound system doesn’t support it.
My opinion, voiced in the First impressions topic:
And I agree with you on the sound being a bit dull, but I think that it stems from the device being new and not having played enough. What I always do when finding the sound dull, is let the device play lots of sound before judging:
I did find an app called Pink Noise on the Play Store that’s playing now on my Fairphone. From my experience with other device, it might take a full 24 hours of playing lots of different music or a few weeks of playing the device now and then, for the higher frequencies to sound well (I didn’t have access to pink noise, though what I would sometimes is play the radio without any station picked up, just the noise).
Well, it’s a phone not actual hifi…and most people will be playing MP3s on it (which always lose a LOT of high frequency detail and compress the volume range) but I think it’s pretty good. Better than my old motorola defy anyway.
Using some decent quality SHURE in-ear headphones in high bit rate MP3’s sound as good as they’re going to get. I also tried with some Grado SR80 “hifi” head phones, and those, whilst very detailed, are a bit quiet and thin on bass - harder to drive presumably as they’re designed to work with a dedicated headphone amp.
Now I admit, I’m a bit deaf and need hearing aids to hear much above 6kHz … but tweaking up the top two eq bands does exactly what my hearing aids do.
If I want quality I put the big hifi on and play wav files through my 1.5m tall loudspeakers :¬)
I guess some of you with young ears can hear the deficiencies - in the MP3s as well as in the player!
I tried some 30 € gaming headset and my Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear (18 Ohm). That impedance should be fine I think
The songs I tested with were .wma at 160kBit/s. I usually don’t really care about the format, it works fine for me that way. Actually I never compared audio quality of the same song in two different formats. Still I don’t use .wav or flacs, simply because of the file sizes.
I’ll let some pink noise run through the phone and eventually report back if I can hear a difference.
I’m really just a SEMI-audophile guy, so all my statements might not sound very professional and represent my very personal impressions
Listening to music is a very personal experience, it can lead to nebolous discriptions of characteristics like dull or vivid sound… Try to listen to details or differences in complex (accoustic) music on good headphones. Playing a lot (pink noise) won’t change anything in the hardware. Perhaps it will change something between your ears.
I tested FP2 sound for a few hours in different conditions, and I’m very disappointed too.
The quality is worst than what my old Nokia E6 provided.
Not speaking about battery charging noise, nor network seeking noises, but audio playback.
The sound is bad in high tones, the deficiency audiophiles call “sibilancy”, like if all my favorite singers became lisping (in french we say : with an hair on the tong).
It also lacks basses, and I can’t have fixed it via VLC equalizers.
A continuous (white-like) noise was still heard using a Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro (250ohm) (edit).
I tested through Focal Spirit One S 32ohms headphones, or well known amp+HP, Flac music played via VLC.
That’s quite disappointing but it was easily anticipable, as every piece of hardware in FP2 is cheap, needing closed blobs to work, but made of fairtrade metal allowing to sell it 6-7x what it really costs.
Seen workarounds :
Perhaps the modularity design of the FP2 will allow Fairphone or other providers to make a hifi module to replace the bad stock one. Hint : you’ll have a market for this.
Another solution I’ll investigate will be to use an external DAC as the AudioQuest DragonFly 1.2 or the coming new version dedicated to Android phones, with a focus on low power consumption.
Maybe the battery charging noise will have the same effect than the previously cited “PinkNoise” app, grinding the system…
@siltaar & @huskers : I completey agree: my experiences with using the FP2 for playing music are disappointing as well. Until now, I’ve been using Sony Walkman MP3 with 50€ Sennheiser In-Ear-Headphones. The same music on the FP2 indeed sounds ‘dull’. A far bigger problem however, are the high tones. I hear a lot of rock music, listing to drum parts that include a lot of cymbols is extremely annoying.
I wonder what is the reason:
Is the music chip included in the Snapdragon 801 SOC or is there a seperate module (that could theoretically be exchanged)?
Could this be improved through software-updates/improvements or is this a hardware issue?
In the German Wikipedia article it says that audio cores are often included on the SoC and that you can save cost by choosing a smaller audio processing unit if you produce rather small quantities of devices.
Sometimes the SOC contains all the hardware, and even the codecs, but they are activated/deactivated during production (by programming the non-volatile memory in the chip) depending on which codecs have been licensed. This memory is not always accessible without specialist equipment. I don’t know whether this is the case here, and I really don’t know whether the audio quality issues are even related to the codec, or whether something else is going on.
Also: I’m in no way saying the issues cannot or should not be fixed with the current hardware, but for those interested there are some audio-related posts elsewhere on the forum:
USB-OTG external sound cards seem to work:
In terms of providing modules / extensions, if USB OTG devices work, the built-in USB port (under the back cover) will see more options after the next software upgrade. Discussion on USB specs is going on here (rather spread out throughout the topic):
So I would guess there is a possibility to integrate a USB DAC in a modified backcover - but I’m not a hardware expert, so reality may be different.
Finally, module suggestions are being collected in the topic below, but again, whether any of them will ever be realised is anyone’s guess.
Playing two ultrasonic frequencies should result in a perfect silence for humans. But played with poor equipement (DAC, amp…), in creates intermodulation noises in human audible range (not pleasant to hear).
I tested this file against the Intel HDA chip of my ux305fa laptop : no noise.
AudioQuestion DragonFly 1.2 DAC : (edit) light noise (with good configuration)
Hifime DIY 9018D DAC : (edit) lighter noise
Nokia E6 player can’t play it…
Fairphone is noisy (edit : both loud speaker and headphones).
So in fact I was happy to hear some noises with the Fairphone, to have at last one bad soundcard detected (to ensure the method works).