Samsung Galaxy S3 features a Wolfson audio chip, but not in North America

June 27, 2012
22 25

For the last few weeks, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, starting from the unexpected North American launch delays due to “unexpected demand” to an isolated case of the device catching fire.

This time, there’s finally some good news for Galaxy S3 owners. One of the speculations that made the rounds during the absolutely crazy pre-launch phase, was that the Samsung Galaxy S3 would feature a Wolfson audio chip. The rumor was confirmed by the reputable Scottish company themselves, in a press release issued yesterday.

The WM1811 audio chip is a 24-bit, two channel DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that includes active noise reduction circuits and a four-channel equalizer. According to Wolfson’s press release (see below), the WM1811 provides crystal-clear voice quality and enriched audio playback for music, along with minimum power consumption, to ensure a much longer battery life.

We all obviously prefer and appreciate high-quality audio in our devices, especially when we’re shelling out over $800 for it. That being said, I’m no audiophile, so in my completely amateurish comparison between the sound of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X (with the much-hyped Beats Audio), I couldn’t really notice a difference with the headphones on. But there was a noticeable difference in volume and a slight difference in quality as well, when using the external speaker.

Unfortunately, it looks like North American consumers have pulled the short straw yet again, after losing out on quad-core processors due to LTE radio compatibility issues. According to Francois Simond (@supercurio), the US version of the Galaxy S3 uses a Qualcomm WCD9310 audio chip instead.

What are your thoughts? How glad are you that Samsung decided to use a Wolfson audio chip? How disappointed are you at the use of different DAC for the US variant? Does the 2GB RAM make up for this switch as well? Let us know in the comments section below.

Show Press Release

EDINBURGH, Scotland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wolfson Microelectronics plc, a global leader in the design and development of mixed-signal semiconductors and high definition (HD) Audio solutions for the consumer electronics market, has today announced that its ultra-low power HD Audio Hub, the WM1811, has been selected by Samsung for inclusion in its highly-anticipated new smartphone, the GALAXY S III.

“We are delighted that Samsung has once again demonstrated its confidence in our Audio Hub solutions, this time by incorporating the WM1811 into its flagship GALAXY S III smartphone, the launch of which will further strengthen Samsung’s position as a world leading smartphone manufacturer.”
This announcement builds on Wolfson’s strong partnership with Samsung, having already designed Wolfson’s WM8994 Audio Hub into several of its leading-edge smartphones, including the Samsung Wave and Galaxy S.

Featuring class-leading technology, the WM1811 provides crystal-clear voice call quality and enriched audio playback for music and video while minimising power consumption, enabling manufacturers such as Samsung to create outstanding HD Audio user experiences with long battery life.

Commenting on the announcement, Wolfson’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Hickey said: “We are delighted that Samsung has once again demonstrated its confidence in our Audio Hub solutions, this time by incorporating the WM1811 into its flagship GALAXY S III smartphone, the launch of which will further strengthen Samsung’s position as a world leading smartphone manufacturer.

“Our continued success with Samsung, particularly within its range of smartphones and tablets, is testament to the unrivalled quality of our HD Audio Hubs, and the unique features in our products that allow manufacturers to create differentiated audio experiences.”

Packed with innovative technology designed for humans, the GALAXY S III is effortlessly smart and intuitively simple to make people’s everyday life easier.

About Wolfson Microelectronics

Wolfson Microelectronics is a global leader in the supply of high performance, mixed-signal semiconductor solutions to the consumer electronics market. In the home, in the office and on the move, Wolfson’s innovative technology can be found at the heart of many of the world’s leading digital consumer goods, including premier hi-fi equipment, mobile phones, tablet computers, gaming devices, MP3 players, flat panel TVs, digital still cameras and portable navigation devices.

Wolfson is committed to the design and supply of ground-breaking audio products, including its architecture-defining audio hub solutions, silicon micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) microphones, power management IC’s and noise cancellation solutions, all of which come together to allow Wolfson to deliver industry-leading HD audio to consumer electronics applications This rich portfolio allows Wolfson’s global customers to better differentiate their digital consumer products and create whole new end-user experiences.

The company’s headquarters is located in Edinburgh, UK. Wolfson’s customers are located worldwide, and so is Wolfson, with design centres, sales offices, applications teams and engineering expertise across Europe, the US, Australia and Asia.

Wolfson Microelectronics plc is listed on the London stock exchange (LSE: WLF.L).

Comments

  • https://twitter.com/#!/ZayStylin Zay Stylin

    US carriers ALWAYS get the short end of the stick! Samsung had to give us 2GB of Ram to make up for it or we wouldn’t buy it.

  • andhavarapu

    Actually go read on GSMArena. The DAC in the Krait chips is even superior to the Wolfson DAC in the S3. So, North America got the carrot here.
    Both are superior to the apparently shitty DAC in the Tegra phones.

    • Lance Klein

      Good Comment, Thank you. I take it the S4 is also more power efficient and performs better in everyday tasks. Quadcore + beats audio is a marketing coy used by HTC, as it appears

      • andhavarapu

        Definitely more power efficient and will only get better as the process matures. Quad core not the marketing coy but Beats Audio definitely. Its an EQ preset at best. Then again people buy those useless Beats Audio headphones so yeah there is a market.

        • harsh

          which one is better one x or galaxy s3……..?
          my priorties are:
          1) music listen ( via shure or klipsch headphones not beats ) 2) gaming 3) browing and 4) rest
          plz all of these should be best………..first the music listening point is must
          my email id is …………harsh_malik28@yahoo.com
          plz response to my request

          • andhavarapu

            Galaxy S3.

          • S

            S3 music audio is not good. A lot of noises, not so clear and sharp.

          • audiophile

            All the one line (one x, one s one v) suck in audio, I had all off them and the audio quality is just a joke, a very bad joke, shitty as hell. That just comfirms that beats are just for stupid people if they dont reakky check where they put their names.

  • git

    Guess the logo in the S voice thing is for the software then?

  • Dox

    Id love to learn more about this DAC in the krait s4 used in the sgs3. Can you link us to the gsmarena article for the comparison? Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/miniskunkz Minerva Skunk

    Picked up an S3 yesterday. Whatever audio chip they have in it, it is high quality. The phone came with a decent pair of packed in ear buds/mike. Using the EQ in the built in music player resulted in silky smooth deep bass and crisp highs. Only gripe is the top volume level is a tad low. Could use some amplification improvement for quieter music tracks.

    • Dis

      no way, mine sounds really bad and I’ve the Dr. Dre’s. Even my friends said the S3 audio is not good.

      • KingOfTheRobots

        you have beats, made by monster cable. Shame on you, you make me and other sound enthusiasts sick. horrible plastic shit

      • audiophile

        You have beats and let me guess… your collection is in mp3, if so stop complaining about audio quality cuz you know shit, if you use loosless my mistake and go on.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Thonyek Tony Sk

        my bro uses s3 and i use iPhone 5. iPhone 5 sound quality actually really good than my iPod 4g but let me tell you something about s3. i test the sound on both phone with Sony-MDRZX600 on loosless mp3@ 320kbps. the difference is really small. on s3 (equalizer off). i notice that the sound was like i am sitting inside the room with all the music instruments 10 meters (i guess) away from me and s3 did not caused me a headache, but the iPhone 5 (equalizer off) which is a difference. iPhone 5 sounds a little heavier than s3, you feel like all the music instruments 2 meters away and it makes you feel a little headache when you listen to it for long period. overall, both phone are good.

        i don’t agree with you about the Dr. Dre’s. it sounds wasn’t really good at all(because its a fashion headphone like every rich teen had) like the middle range is really bad (i’m talking about equalizer) which make the voice died, also too bassy (may be you like bass, but i like a balanced sound) and the high is not bad (not applied to dr.dre studio which is a professional headphone). so don’t make any complaint about your phone if you got a modified frequencies headphone.

  • Ray07

    I would rather have 2GB memory that I can use than have Quad Cores that are useless with most if not all apps. Quad core phones are good, but they are useless in a Dual Core application market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.mirk Shaun Mirk

    Ive been comparing my S3 (North American) to my Ipod Touch (1st Gen) and I can tell a difference. Ipod Touch is superior. I cannot comment on comparison to other smart phones. Also, the ipod touch has sound enhancements enabled, whereas the S3 is just playing with default settings. but something to consider.

    • Taylor Levesque

      Are you still playing super compressed aac’s and on both. Because if you are that is your problem. Also try the power amp app. And lessen compression on your files. 280 kbs at least on newer recordings or flac’s if you want to great crazy. That’s the best part about the s3 is that is will accept pretty much every file format.

  • t21

    No wonders the audio sucks big time!
    And yet I paid $600 full price for it. My Galaxy’s I actually sound better than the GS3. What you’re saying is that non-US phone is build differently and have better audio?

  • >:(

    feel like I’ve been ripped off

  • Minor Third

    I was about to pull the trigger on an S3 over the iPhone because I thought it came with a Wolfson DAC. This news will probably turn things in favor of the iPhone 5, that I can at least use with a FiiO LOD. The DAP is able to handle lossless files, but they don’t use a quality audio chip? I don’t get it.

  • http://twitter.com/liorsolomon liorsolomon

    S3 audio is indeed disappointing :(
    I miss my ios in that sense

  • David

    What is the audio chipset in the lg nexus4?

  • Lee

    Good thing I live in Korea hahahaha!!!

  • Jason

    No wonder the audio quality of my S3 is so wonderful! I have the international version :)