5 sounds worse than 4s

ruger141

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Nov 18, 2011
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Just last weekend I upgraded from my 4s to a iPhone 5. I've notices on all fronts that the 5 does not sound as good to me as the 4s did. By all fronts I mean the external Speaker, streaming over Bluetooth and streaming with the Lightning Cable to my cars's USB jack. Music through headphones(Ultimate Ears 600) seems about the same.
I don't know if I'm just hearing things or not but I swear the 5 sounds more muffled, the bass drowns out the rest of the music more heavily and it just lacks some clarity my 4s had. Anyone pay attention to this?


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Tanbam

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Feb 11, 2012
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New device, new hardware. The codec in the 5 drives me nuts with the click/pop every time the IC goes into or out of shutdown. If I've got my headphones on but the device is silent (like right now) it makes me crazy when the keyboard slides on or off. I actually replaced my first phone, thinking it was a problem with the device, but it's present on my new phone and also my new iPad 4.

I'm pretty sensitive to this problem, because I work on these and other audio semiconductors for the mobile industry. Seriously, the requirements that some manufacturers demand regarding issues like this make it hard to believe that the new iOS devices went with this solution. The iPhone 4 was pretty solid, so it almost seems like a step down in the 5. It sounds "crunchy" every time it happens.

I spend much of my time evaluating audio quality with precision test equipment and listening tests, and to be honest, I usually find something that bothers me with every part. I've long gotten over how the built in speakers sound, and audio over Bluetooth has always sounded bad to me. Most of the content is MP3, anyway, so it's going to sound kind of crappy anyway, even over USB.

I'm not an audio snob, but my job requires me to evaluate every nuance of a part and identify any weak spots or bugs that can be fixed before a part can be introduced. I've simply gotten really good at doing this over the last decade.

In a way, it's kind of nice, because I find something wrong with everything. Expensive gear sounds just as bad to me as cheap stuff, so I don't bother spending the extra money!

My advice is to listen to another iPhone 5 to determine if yours is worse. If they're all the same, either learn to live with it or get a different device before your return window runs out.
 

ruger141

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Wow pretty cool tanbam. I spent a good while comparing again today and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with my 5 it just sounds a hair different. It should be fine I think I can just be overly critical of new equipment.


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Tanbam

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Yeah, that's kind of how it is, once you start training your ears. You stop thinking good or bad (except for extremes) and just notice differences. Since everything sounds different, it's hard to judge what is right or wrong. It's easy to find something you don't like, though. Let me tell you, people don't like when you mention things you notice about their high-end audio gear. It's better to just smile and say that it sound great, even if it sounds funny every time someone sings their "S's". Kind of like when you realize that Megan Fox has really ugly fingers.

I'm not a huge fan of Android-powered phones, but let me mention this:

Samsung doesn't tolerate these things. Their requirements are amazing, and that company is going to drive quality up across the board for everyone. I've spent weeks developing tests to measure unwanted artifacts that were so low volume that they were nearly impossible for me to hear yet too big for them -- and WAY smaller than what is present on the latest iOS products. After identifying the source and fixing that particular problem, all of our parts are going to be better.

Apple may have a lock on operating systems and apps, but Samsung really is driving internal component quality to a whole new level. I really wish that I could make the switch, but I'm pretty firmly in the Apple camp. It would be awesome if Samsung could make their own OS...
 

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