iPhones, iPods, & iPads forum


Apple iPhone 4s music audio quality in question.

by Ebersudsky / November 1, 2011 12:49 PM PDT

I am a guy who loves music. I devour quality sound. It makes me happy to hear audiophile quality samples that make me go WOW.

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on the money
by aditbmr / November 4, 2011 1:38 PM PDT

And here I was...wondering if it was only me out there Angry
I got the Nano yesterday and it put things really into perspective....awesome player...but my 1000$ phone sounds like a cheap radio..same headsets. I guess me and the iPhone are jinxed...I will never get the perfect iPhone...Thanks for your post...now I know why.

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(NT) $1000 phone?
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 4, 2011 10:17 PM PDT
In reply to: on the money
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off contract
by aditbmr / November 5, 2011 12:10 AM PDT
In reply to: $1000 phone?

off contract.....

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Apple to release iOS 5.0.1 patch sometime soon.
by Ebersudsky / November 5, 2011 12:46 AM PDT
In reply to: on the money

I've voiced my concerns with a friend who has contacts at apple. He indicated that a patch will be released to address iPhone 4s issues. A few big ones and a couple of small bugs.

The big iPhone 4s issues are:
1) noise cancellation mic generates echo feedback when using wired headsets.
2) audio quality exhibits compression artifacts when utilizing high end headphones.
3) high pitch hiss present in everything involving the use of headphones.
4) battery drains rapidly when auto timezone is ON.

The battery issues can be solved. I'm confident about that.
Simply turning off the feature that changes timezones automatically will help battery life. It worked for me.

On the audio bugs, the echo feedback can be easily fixed by disabling the noise cancellation mic (that little tiny pinhole on the top) when headphones are used. This would be a great fix. Can't disable that currently.

Now for the hiss and the compression artifacts that are present. If they are being caused by the new and anemic codec from cirrus logic, only so much can be done in software to compensate for this.

The chip is likely much more efficient and less capable of driving high end headphones/earbuds. I am truly skeptical about that potential fix (if it's even gonna address the sound quality issue). Codecs are hardware in portable handsets. How can it be fixed without replacing the hardware cause? Answer: it generally can't be fixed with a patch.

I'm learning to accept it. I don't like it, but I can live with it. The iPhone 4s is a marvelously smooth device. Sound quality is the trade off.

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by ottolo / November 7, 2011 5:24 AM PST


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Equalization does not improve quality.
by Ebersudsky / November 7, 2011 12:38 PM PST
In reply to: equalization?

For the sake of it, I tried all of the available EQ settings. To me the OFF position sounds the cleanest. I want to believe it is a setting. I have a de-actived 3GS that I compared directly with my new 4s. I listened to a 320kbps sample of Beethoven, the original score for Batman the movie in AAC 320kbps, and various techno/rock tracks (all above 256kbps). Using the same Shure triple driver headphones on both iPhones.
I really think its the new codec Apple is utilizing, Otto. I hope the iOS update does something to improve its output quality. Test this on your iphone 4s: Plug in a headset and make a call. See if you head echo. This another big issue.

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Musical Instrument App
by SongbirdOcarina / November 8, 2011 1:59 AM PST

I am in the process of building a musical instrument app, and I have noticed the degradation in sound quality between the 4 and the 4s. This is the first post I have found that addresses this issue, thank you. My instrument sounds inferior on the 4s, and I am very worried that I may have to live with this. I really hope that the situation improves, because it sounds really bad on the new device, and mostly there are raves about how much louder the speakerphone is on the 4s.

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We will definitely know it if it's fixed or not.
by Ebersudsky / November 8, 2011 8:16 AM PST
In reply to: Musical Instrument App

I don't have my hopes up, however. The codec in the 4s is a comprehensive redesign from the previous chip. It will also have a different flavor than the old chip.

The shame is that the iPhone 4s is a joy to use otherwise. Web pages open quickly. 3G connectivity is absolutely superb. I've been contemplating switching to the iPhone 4 on AT&T. Still debating about that one. I like the fast CPU on the 4s. Decisions decisions.

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iPhone 4s audio
by AJB2020 / November 9, 2011 8:40 AM PST

All these reports of the new 4S not performing audio output as well as previous models is very disappointing. I was considering upgrading my iPhone 4 to a 4S but if the audio is not as good I will wait. As an audiophile type I was rather frustrated by the lack of a fully manual EQ within the music player on the iPhone / iOS . I did a bit of searching and I found the App EQ-U . I listen to my music with a pair of ACS T2 in ears and now play music through the iphone via the EQ-U app. I found a real improvement in audio output quality and can fully tweak the EQ to suit my in ears. If your having a problem with the audio on the 4S maybe try downloading the EQ-U app and see if it helps. I Hope it does !

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5.01 fixes the battery issue at least
by Pepe7 / November 13, 2011 11:47 AM PST
In reply to: iPhone 4s audio

OTOH though, you guys complaining about the very subtle difference between how the 3GS, 4 & 4S play LOSSY files is sort of curious. My $20 refurb Sansa with rockbox knocks the daylights out of our iPhones/iPods/etc. since it can play lossless files very well. True audiophiles don't complain since they know the difference between lossless and lossy is the dealbreaker. It's also silly to compare headphone output to dock connector output on an iOS device. The sound output from the dock connector is where the rubber hits the road, people!

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What an incredibly irrelevant response.
by Ebersudsky / November 13, 2011 10:04 PM PST

First, the difference isn't subtle. But if you've read the posts, you would see that. But I guess, there is always at least one blowhard who feels that their testing platforms are more valid. A refurb Sansa being a better comparison. I've heard Sansa
Players. You have nothing the brag about, Pepe.

So, be proud of your opinions and thank you for pissing on the opinions of others with your ridiculous comparison. You don't know if the differences many are listening to are lossy or lossless and it is equally inflammatory to call all of our opinions silly on your part. Dock connector vs headphone jack. Most folks listen to their devices through the headphone jack, not a dock connector. If the jack exhibits lesser quality than on previous devices, it isn't silly as most people use it that way.

So Pepe, if you have an opinion that's one thing , but please take your personal issues elsewhere and list your opinion without insulting those who have graciously listed their thoughts, by your calling their tests silly or invalid. That's just not nice. Ok, That's the approach you chose to take, I hope you got some satisfaction out of it. That's the only thing your response is good for. Your personal satisfaction. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Even you.

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What a typical response from the 'audiophile' crowd
by Pepe7 / November 13, 2011 11:37 PM PST

The minute someone posts an opinion different than their own, they take offense.

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by krisPalamos / November 26, 2011 1:53 AM PST

im having the same issue EB, have you found a solution? it is sooooo frustrating!

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Learn how to manipulate your new device
by Pepe7 / November 28, 2011 4:36 AM PST
In reply to: hm

Download the popular EQ app. Play with it a little. Stop worrying about 'true audiophile quality' on a portable device. It's only going to take you so far.

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yes EQu
by ottolo / December 28, 2011 8:26 AM PST
In reply to: hm

OK, I followed your tip by purchasing EQu. It seems that the presets provided by Apple are too "soft". Personally I found a more acceptable sound by attenuating frequences between 60 and 500 Hz and by increasing under 60 Hz. Ok, ok, it is completely subjective, but this setting is much better, from my point of view, than any other setting provided by Apple. Anyway I still can't understand how can they miss to care about the quality of sound, it should be their core business.

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Did you try opening up the Pandora "Preferences"?
by Trombonier / November 28, 2011 6:15 AM PST

In the Pandora Preferences, there is a "Cell Network Audio Quality" option

it's on "Normal" by default, maybe since you got the new iPhone 4s, you haven't changed it to "High" yet?

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I thought I was CRAZY...
by CryingEars / December 28, 2011 4:29 AM PST

I thought I was CRAZY... I have the 3G and the sound quality was stellar. I got my 4S and after a few days listening to music on it - no kidding - I thought I was LOSING MY HEARING because the sound quality is CLEARLY inferior...

Been to the Apple store, brought both iPhones and of course they even had the nerve to say that the 4S is better...

It is SO frustrating...

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Please provide more details
by Pepe7 / December 28, 2011 2:35 PM PST

"the sound quality is clearly inferior"

Whaaaaahht? What precisely were you listening to? Be a little more specific on the details or your post doesn't really add much to the discussion other than additional speculation. [Please don't tell me you are worrying about a Pandora stream...]

Listening to very typical 320 or ALAC tracks, I've found very little difference between the 3G, 3GS, 4 & 4S.

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by Joohunta / December 30, 2011 11:43 PM PST

Upgraded from the 3GS to 4S and i am utterly disappointed by the 4S's sound quality. regarding the issue on the chip using less power, um wouldn't an external amplifier do the trick? im pretty sure it'll sound exactly the same as the 3GS with help from an amp Happy sounds the same to me on my UE Triplefi. 10s / Sony XBA-4s

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by cbr2002 / December 31, 2011 7:19 AM PST

There are serious audio quality problems with the 4S.
There is a static artifact. I have high quality skullcandy ear buds.
Perhaps it's the compression artifact you've mentioned.
I think it's absurd and unacceptable given the cost: $650.00.

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Then it makes me wonder.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 31, 2011 7:21 AM PST
In reply to: Agreement

Why would you or did you buy one?

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Good Sound Is Available....
by TradinPaint29 / January 3, 2012 9:05 AM PST
In reply to: Agreement

Seriously? Hi-End SkullCandy ear buds? How about some Westone UMX3's or Shure 535's or even some lower end model's but, SkullCandy has NO HI-END models available on the market. Another method id too uncompress your files, use Apple Loseless since we are talking I-Phone. Do not use FLAC. Another method is to consider a portable amp such as the PA2V2 or P-51 Mustang or Filo line, they work wonders with my I-Pods, I-Phone, Laptop and TV. Along with using the EQ settings, and pre-amp settings you can re-produce a decent sound from the phone. It just takes the time to find what you consider to be YOUR sweet spot, as it differs with each of us.

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by Pepe7 / January 4, 2012 3:40 AM PST

My thoughts precisely. People should take not of your 'sweet spot' comment. Some of what constitutes 'good sound quality' is most certainly subjective.

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by ottolo / December 31, 2011 10:14 AM PST

OK, I know, my post is out topic.
But let me wish you all an happy new year.

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iphone 4s reviews
by samboycott / January 15, 2012 12:40 PM PST

I am very distracted with the price it was launched and now its has also become a very big headache about the Camera and the speakers. Listening to a same music in the Lumia and the iphone is a big difference. Lumia has brought revolution into smartphones industry with carl zeiss lens and amazing speakers that rocks.

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You are also missing the boat, or have fallen for the pitch
by Pepe7 / January 16, 2012 4:39 AM PST
In reply to: iphone 4s reviews

The Carl Zeiss lenses in some mobile phones are still hampered by the fact that they are mated with tiny sensors and less of the helpful electronics found on a simple point and shoot digital camera capable of much better quality (see something like a Canon S95 or S100 as a good example). Nonetheless, the 4S is still a fairly capable little portable camera.

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iphone 4s reviews
by samboycott / January 17, 2012 1:59 PM PST

iphone 4s has been into a great criticism with issues in it. Also people are disappointing with its high price and pre-launch. Since this discussion is about the Music part, i would like to mention that Nokia has been the leading mobile maker and popular for its devices, especially the battery and Music. The single and dual speakers of Nokia has rocked the world since decades.

Now the Nokia Lumia has re-invented a new way to music with its amazing dual speakers. A combination of the windows software has changed the world of music with the Lumia.

You can enjoy superior quality of sound on direct downloads or online music with the Lumia. Th Lumia has been a great advantage over the laptops also. iphones are now outdated. People who has witnessed the Lumia live and exclusively, have ordered it online.

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This reads like a product sheet
by Pepe7 / January 19, 2012 5:07 AM PST
In reply to: iphone 4s reviews

No offense, but you sound like you are reading this from a product sheet.

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iphone 4s reviews
by samboycott / January 27, 2012 2:20 PM PST

Iphone 4 was a better phone than the 4s. well there are so many things to get discussed her, but

@Pepe7 : Nokia has slowly covered the smartphone market.
I didnot find any data related to the failure of any models of Nokia.
Apart Nokia's every handset has been a success in the market.
Nokia Lumia is the modern generation youth phone,which is much better than the smart iphone.
You can refer to the global market share of smartphones, Nokia stands number one.
December quarter iphone sold 1.8 million 4s devices and Nokia delivered 1.35 million with still close to 2 million pre-orders.
Truly speaking iphone 4 was better than the 4s and Apple needs to review to bring in a better generation now.

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when you get some actual information...
by Pepe7 / January 30, 2012 1:21 AM PST
In reply to: iphone 4s reviews

....we could actually have a useful discussion. Your reasoning is that Nokia holds the largest mobile market share so they must be the best(?)

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