- OnePlus and Dirac engineers worked closely to optimize speaker and headphone quality.
- Dirac’s EQ correction and multi-band compressor algorithms run efficiently on the Snapdragon 845’s DSP.
- The company provides similar solutions for Oppo, Xiaomi, and Huawei smartphones.
The OnePlus 6 is one of the few 2018 flagships that launched with a headphone jack — hooray! But did you also know that it has a selection of other audio enhancement under-the-hood to boost both speaker and headphone quality? The OnePlus 6 features Dirac Research’s Power Sound and HD Sound technologies for sound correction. Dirac also provides similar solutions for handsets from Oppo, Xiaomi, and Huawei, along with other major speaker brands and car infotainment manufacturers.
Dirac has been working with OnePlus since 2015’s OnePlus 2. The collaboration sees Dirac engineers assist the company with speaker and headphone tuning, and then providing customized software filters to even out inevitable issues and tailor the sound to OnePlus’ liking. The OnePlus 6 features a tiny micro-speaker with less than 1cm of cubic volume, which needs some careful software tweaking to make it sound anything close to the quality of a cabinet speaker.
To enhance the sound, Dirac makes use of tuned EQ curves to flatten out the frequency response and impulse response to avoid speaker ringing and low-frequency distortion. Boosting perceived volume and clarity is accomplished through the use of multi-band compression, volume dependent bass boosting, and fundamental overtone generation. All of Dirac’s algorithms run on the Snapdragon 845’s integrated DSP, which helps keep the power consumption low enough so that it barely registers in comparison with the consumption of the speaker amplifier.
In addition to tuning the speaker output, Dirac’s technology also offers carefully tailored headphone profiles for select models. Three OnePlus branded sets are supported, such as the latest wireless Bullet in-ears, as well as the JBL E1+ that shipped back with earlier models. When OnePlus advertises headphones as “built for OnePlus” this is exactly what they mean.
If you’re rocking a different brand of headphones, you won’t receive any of the tailored sound benefits. However, there is still a built-in EQ to play with to tweak the sound just how you like.
So does this actually make a difference? Well, I had a good listen to a number of Dirac’s technologies back at MWC 2018 and was certainly left impressed by the level of improvements on offer. Of course, the end result will vary based on the product and how OnePlus, in this case, has prioritized and customized the sound. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see/hear how smartphone companies deal with the compromises of the form factor to offer consumers a compelling audio experience.