Hello, it's me again and this time for a quick (sort of) review of my Omnia's Media Player audio quality compared to my old phone, a glorious heavily used 2 years old Nokia N95 8GB.
I've never been in history entirely satisfied by any of the mobile devices (including the Walkman era) I've owned, ever. But the NOKIA N95 was pretty good to my taste, and I liked the fact that after a good equalizing session I was easily able to create a decent pleasant sound with any kind of earphones I own, currently: V-Moda Bass Freq (in-ear) and Sennheiser MX-460 (ear bud).
Now with the new Omnia HD, 8 GB of internal memory plus my new 16 gigs microSD card I though I'd be able to really enjoy the variety of my entire music collection. But it didn't really go like this...
The sound on the Omnia is at best MEDIOCRE. I know that many of you would disagree with me but I have my own standard, and this doesn't quite match it. When I first listened to the music with the Omnia I immediately perceived that there was something missing there. And the feeling got worse when I discovered that I couldn't create my own EQ presets. The pre-stored presets cover pretty much everything, but with the case scenario always being a representation of the typical set up, none of them worked for my taste or my previously mentioned standard.
The sound is hollow. It has no soul. Only mid-to high frequencies that scratch your ears. I could listen my N95 for hours at 80% volume without feeling discomfort. This one just after few seconds makes me afraid of hear loss. And it's not because it's more powerful, because it's loud just about the Nokia. Also it lacks the deep bass understatedly provided by the N95 even when default, and the mid-to-high frequencies that make the sound of the N95 spring to life.
Just because I didn't want to be regarded as the typical always complaining fellow (often without a case) I made a more scientific test to proof that I was right.
Before this I went to a colleague and asked him to lend me his iPhone 3Gs to the extent of a brief listening session, and my goodness I was shocked! The Nokia N95 to my surprise kept its pride against the most renowned almost thousand Euros worth iPhone. I was moved, really. I asked him to listen them both and he told me exactly the same thing: N95 was better, and it was on a tiny little eAAC+ with PS and only 55kbps, against a whopping 320kpbs MP3 file played by the Apple creature. It was staggering for me.
Anyway I moved on to my test knowing that the Samsung would have a bad beast to contend with.
I took the Nokia and the Samsung and laid them down on my desk, I used the same source file for both, but I gave the Samsung some advantage by using a higher bitrate, that wasn't really having significance in the audio perception as we'll se later on.
I recorded the device played files to my computer using a line in audio capture, making sure there wasn't any fancy like auto gain control and using 90% volume on each device.
I played the file twice, one with every parameter of the respective audio player at default, and one with loudness turned on and louder equalization (one that extols the lower and higher frequencies).
The results were plain to see. The graph shown on my monitor matched what my ears heard, and was the proof that I was not making that up. The waveform produced by the Nokia is wider, more pronounced with spiking highs that don't blow your ear, and a mid to bass presence that makes the overall look of the entire waveform more tubby. The Omnia instead showed its limits even with full loudness on, and it's even worse if you keep the highs on the low: either you loose the higher frequencies completely overshadowed by the emphasized bass, or your ear goes kaboom!
The scenery produced by the NOKIA isn't challenged but the Samsung, and there's a massive problem with lack of bass for the Samsung. With the Nokia and an earphone like the Bass Freq you'd able to enjoy a warm mushy sound that resembles that of a valve amplifier, using a normal earphone like the MX-460 you're just on par with a decent listening experience with noticeable bass presence. Use these normal good quality earphones with the Omnia and you'll get screwed by the highs without any hint of bass.
So, nonetheless I like the Samsung a lot, I like the huge AMOLED display, I like the GPS, I like how it's blistering fast compared to the NOKIA, but I'm sorry Samsung, you're just a mediocre performer in sound quality. With my freshly reinvented knowledge I feel in duty of giving the NOKIA all the best coded files I could, keep the Samsung for everyday task and use the Nokia as it ever deserved: as a high quality 8GB Music Player.
You can dowload and evaluate yourself the files used
on my audio quality assessment.
Use only one service: it's the same file package!