09-22-2012, 06:09 PM #1
- 62 Posts
I'm an avid music fan and have the XBOX Music subscription so I'm intrigued by the audio capabilities of the 8X. What does Beats Audio really mean for a device like a smartphone? I have no idea what questions to even ask, but here are a few:
1) Does Beats Audio mean better speaker quality or better headphone quality (or both)?
2) Do I need Beats Audio headphones to get anything out of it? or is Beats Audio headphone independent? I have pair of Bose OE2 and a pair of Bose IE2 headphones.
3) I have a Samsung Focus today. What is the difference between what I hear today and what the HTC 8X will provide?
4) Are Samsung and Nokia offering anything comparable in their hero class phones?
5) Can i sample Beats Audio in a current device anywhere (Android, etc..)?
09-22-2012, 08:05 PM #2
- 42 Posts
I dont know anything about beat audio. But I do know Nokia has Dolby audio enhancements. And Im sure its just as good if not better than Beats audio.
Hero Windows Phones compared: HTC 8X, Samsung ATIV S, and Nokia Lumia 920 | wpcentral | Windows Phone News, Forums, and Reviews
- Retired Moderator
09-23-2012, 06:10 AM #5
- 2,232 Posts
I have an HTC Rezound with Beats audio and the Beats headset. On the Rezound Beats enhancement only works with music stored on the phone, so if you stream your music you're out of luck. It also requires the Beats headset. As far as the music quality to me all it's just a bass booster. If you like that then it will be perfect for you. I'm not that big on the bass myself. I've never listened to a newer phone like the One X with Beats, but for me it's definitely not a selling point.
09-23-2012, 11:08 AM #6
- 117 Posts
I believe the 8x is missing an audio chip that's in the One X because Microsoft has tight guidelines as to what can be added to Windows Phone. So it is yet to be seen if the 8x sounds as good as the One X. Who knows, maybe Nokia with Dolby sounds better. Best way to tell is to test it out for yourself when the phones come out.
- 09-23-2012, 11:55 AM #7
I have used dolby on other phones and been unimpressed. The big thing in the 8x is that it has a built in amp for headphones and the built in speakers. This should give it louder, clearer, crisper sound than any other windows phone, regardless of what audio enhancement software is being run.
09-23-2012, 04:39 PM #8
- 433 Posts
I'm sure the Nokia audio performance will be superior. Beats audio is basically a scam (similar to Bose). What it does is merely EQ your music by boosting lows and highs and scooping out the mids. It allows for more bass before distortion, but the 8X having only software implemented Beats Audio, I'm not sure even that feature will work that well. However, the preamp should yield a stronger output and result in better sound on power hungry, over the head headphones.
- 09-23-2012, 06:27 PM #9
I think the best course of action is to find a high quality music stream online that matches your musical tastes (preferably something that actually has high's, mid's and low's), and listen to it a few times with high quality headphones while playing around with the equalizer settings. Then find an HTC Android device to compare it with (almost all the newer HTC Android devices are Beats Audio certified). Finally, make your own decision.
Beyond that I would second everything Scottcraft and vp710 mentioned (for the purely technical perspective), and refer you to this post on the subject, particularly the blog-post it links to. I think it answers most of your questions.
Last edited by a5cent; 09-23-2012 at 06:42 PM.
09-23-2012, 11:40 PM #10
- 123 Posts
So I have a few questions too (of course audio quality is limited to actual hands on experience) but I have never had any experience with "Beats Audio". I'm strongly considering the HTC 8X to be my next Windows Phone. I often use my phone as my mp3 player.
1) Does Beats Audio work with any headphones? For example I have some Skullcandy headphones. Will the audio software/hardware on the HTC 8X have any effect on my headphones because they are not "Beats Audio" headphones.
2) Does Beats Audio change the quality of music that is played off of the phone's native speakers? I've heard word of some amp on the HTC 8X phone is this just an amp that increases the phone's output volume, or is there some ability to increase quality of the sound?
09-24-2012, 12:03 AM #11
- 433 Posts
2) The amp could help power headphones that are power hungry like AKG K701's for example and as a consequence reveal more of their potential. Every electronic component in the audio circuit of the phone will influence the sound quality coming out of the phone. The "Beats" part of the 8X is, as far as understand, software generated and will most probably some combination EQ / normalizer.
- 09-24-2012, 12:49 AM #12
I do agree on Bose being a total scam though.
- 09-24-2012, 09:43 AM #13
2) You can get equally good audio quality without the amp! Beats Audio certified devices (with amp!) will always sound better than smartphones into which zero audio engineering effort was invested (as you say, that applies to the majority of devices). That some effort was made, is the only real information you get from the Beats Audio label. If another device you are comparing with also had some effort invested into it's audio circuitry, it may very well end up being better, even without the Beats Audio label. Without going beyond the marketing speak, you won't ever know.
What people need to realize is Beats Audio isn't selling audio quality, they are selling a brand! That is why you won't be getting any actual audio system measurements from Beats Audio! That is why we see so many people asking "What is Beats Audio really?". All you get is the name, the celebrity association, and the assurance that audio circuitry wasn't ignored completely.
If you are going to make your decision based on spec-sheets, you should be ignoring Beats Audio outright. Instead you need to read up on audio system measurements (Fs, THD, Output Power, Signal to Noise ratio etc.) and search that information out on the internet for the devices you are interested in. Also, petitioning your favorite review sites to make a few audio quality related measurements wouldn't hurt either (usually you can't expect more than a verbose rehash of the spec-sheet which doesn't list that information).
Buying into the marketing fud, that a Beats Audio certified device offers superior audio quality compared to a competitors offering is simple... much simpler than putting in the effort to actually know. Do the research once the devices are out... it's the only serious answer.
Last edited by a5cent; 09-24-2012 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Spelling
- 09-24-2012, 09:54 AM #14
I agree. The point I was trying to get across was that, beats or not, the fact that HTC took the time tu build in an amp (which will help most 'phones or speakers) was the more important thing to look at when considering audio quality, and that which custom eq (beats or Dolby) was included could largely be ignored.
I basically agree with what you have said, and my opinion is that, lacking proper audio tests, given htc's track record and the fact that they took the time for the amp, my money is on the 8x over the 920 in audio quality. The same way we haven't seen true tests of either phones camera but everyone is assuming the 920 willbe better due to the pureview label and the ois.
- 09-24-2012, 10:46 AM #15
The only place we differ, is that at this point I wouldn't be willing to bet any substantial amount of money on anything pertaining audio quality (whatever that is exactly - speakers? signal quality at headphone jack? etc). Why? Because I still don't really understand where the Lumia 920's extra 60g come from. A good part of it can be attributed to the curved glass display and the massive case, but that is still nowhere near 60g. Could it be the built-in speaker? I don't know...
I wasn't disputing anything you said either. Your post was just a good one to hang my reply onto ;)
- Retired Moderator
09-25-2012, 08:29 AM #21
- 2,232 Posts
09-25-2012, 12:59 PM #22
- 39 Posts
The Nokia dolby is nothing but an equalizer. One some of HTC's devices beats audio is also just an equalizer. For those devices it just comes down to preference.
HOWEVER, for the 8x, HTC has designed a special hardware amp on the device itself. It is not just a simple software equalizer like dolby. It's hardware based, it's a physical add-on. It actually makes a big difference, regardless of whether you listen to it with headphones or using the built in speakers.
If you like music, the 8X is undoubtedly going to be the better choice. Check the following out:
Quick demo of the HTC 8X with audio amplifier | wpcentral | Windows Phone News, Forums, and Reviews
09-26-2012, 12:18 AM #23
- 39 Posts
You're right, no windows phone has an equalizier as far as I can tell. However, things being what they are, I think HTC made the best out of the situation. Besides, a phone with an amp is better than one without.
Besides, an amp should make headphones sound better as well if I'm not mistaken.
09-27-2012, 11:17 PM #24
- 61 Posts
I'm a bit of an audiophile, and in the world of headphones, Beats, Bose, and the big brand names are generally as a whole considered a joke. The quality of the big brnad cans that you pay $300 for is comparable to that of a <$75 pair from a more specialized brand such as Grado, Audio-Technica, or even Sennheisers. You really do pay for the brand name, and not much else.
That's why I'm skeptical of Beats on the 8X, while it may be a nice addition and could improve the quality compared to other devices, I'm honestly setting my expectations pretty low. I'm not sure if it even has a dedicated audio card, I'm pretty sure that MS' guidelines for WPs prohibit things like that anyways. Besides, if you REALLY want to improve the audio quality of your music, get better headphones, they account for much more than the audio player. I use the ATH M50s, and they're nothing short of excellent for the price that you pay.
09-28-2012, 07:47 PM #25
- 2,298 Posts
As far as I know the audio enhancements on my HD7 enhance the sound in both the music player and for the entire system. On android the enhancements only work in their specific media players. Which to me is a letdown and puts WP ahead of android. While we are on audio quality OEMs really should be moving beyond TRS plugs and begin investing in micro-USB headphones or S/PDIF, TOSLINK headphone jacks. Both of those provide better audio quality than TRS.