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Audio engineer extols the virtues of the HTC One - but do you feel the same? [Poll]

We call into question HTC's One audio quality, after the company released a so-called Audio review featuring an overly enthusiast sound engineer. Is the sound as good as HTC claims?
May 29, 2013
samsung galaxy s4 vs htc one one aa

HTC One, perhaps the best smartphone introduced in the first half of this year, has been analyzed by our team in almost every way possible. We’ve seen its sharp aluminum body subjected to torture tests, we dropped the bugger and compared it to the iPhone 5, and we carefully rated its camera quality, display, and general performance.  But what about the sound?

As you well may know, HTC decided to integrate not one, but two stereo speakers in their flagship this year. Unlike the vast majority of Android phones that come with a back-mounted speaker, the HTC One has both units mounted on the front, on both sides of the screen. Overall, the design is classy and should provide high-quality audio, but we have yet to see a proper analysis of the setup.

Moments ago, HTC posted a so called “Audio Review” video on their official YouTube account, containing the remarks of Jimmy Muna, a sound engineer and music producer who works for ATM Studios. During the five-minute video embedded below, Muna talks about the impressive audio capabilities of HTC’s latest phone and how it raised the bar for other manufacturers.

Muna claims that the One can render sound frequencies inaccessible to other phones, mostly those in the lower-end of the spectrum. Moreover, the addition of the secondary speaker allows the phone to properly distribute certain sounds to both sides, without altering the audio experience that users would get when using headsets.

But is this just marketing or is the HTC One really so much better than competitors when it comes to sound?

A bit of background…

As mentioned in the first part, the HTC One comes with two identical front-mounted stereo speakers that pack quite a punch. Baptized BoomSound, the audio technology on the HTC One is the fruit of the cooperation between the Taiwanese manufacturer and the well-known Beats Electronics LLC, a company founded by Dr. Dre and partially owned by HTC.

Besides the large speakers and the amplifier implemented by Beats, the software component of BoomSound enhances the low end of the sound spectrum, which allows the phone to pump out a deeper bass. The high-end part is also enhanced, though not as dramatically as the bass, with several other Android handsets (like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2) being able to do a similar job. The rich sound delivered by the One makes it, in theory, ideal for consuming video and music.

When it comes to daily use, the power of the twin speakers may be a bit much for some users – people have complained that the loud notification sounds or even the ringtones have startled them… Moreover, some reports claim that two seconds after the sounds stops, when the processor shuts off the power to the speakers, an irritating crackling noise can be heard. Other users observed the same issue when watching YouTube videos or playing back audio in other apps, but they blamed it mostly on a firmware glitch.

What’s your take?

We’ve been hearing different reports about the HTC One’s audio prowess and we’re looking to clear the matter once and for all. From your personal experience with the One, how would you rate its audio performance? Does the device rise to the hype or is BoomSound simply a clever marketing scheme? Vote in our poll.

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