The New Smartphone Trends that are Putting Audio Quality at Risk

Young friends sitting outdoors and looking at smartphone

So, you’re going to buy a new smartphone. What will you go for? A year ago, the must-have features on your list might have included: thin, lightweight, good camera, powerful chip, decent ROM&RAM, and great sound. Today, you would probably add to that a dual rear camera and large screen-to-body ratio. Yes, dual rear camera and large screen-to body ratio are some of the hot trends—among others such as face recognition, augmented reality and finger sensor—which, according to experts, will sweep over the smartphone industry in 2018. 

What about your sound requirements? Of course, it has to be better than, or at least as good as, your current smartphone. You don’t expect your smartphone to be as loud as your giant home speakers, but you would appreciate it if it would sound as good as a small portable speaker. Some of you may even expect a surround sound experience from your smartphone— and given the fact that an increasing number of us are watching videos on our smartphones, this makes perfect sense.   

However, having it all may come with compromise. The truth is that a thin, light smartphone with a dual camera and large screen-to-body ratio is a natural enemy to great speaker sound. 

Firstly, packing in all these new trendy features leaves even less physical space for the already super tiny speakers. The speakers would have to be minimized to the smallest possible size in order to fit into the smartphone. Normally, the bigger a speaker is, the more powerful it sounds. A smaller speaker and speaker cabinet leads to weaker, harsher sound because there is simply not enough air for the speaker to push in order to produce big sound. 

A thin, light smartphone with a dual camera and large screen-to-body ratio is a natural enemy to great speaker sound.

Secondly, sharing space with so many features will make it harder to place the speakers in optimal places. Smartphone manufacturers that aspire to deliver true stereo sound via two speakers might have to place speakers asymmetrically, which is not good for producing stereo sound image at all. 

So how can a smartphone achieve decent sound quality when compromising on speaker size and placement is necessary? The answer is digital speaker optimization technology. 

In the year ahead and beyond, smartphones that take on the new trends will be in desperate need of digital speaker optimization technology in order to ensure that they sound as good as (or better than) their predecessors. Dirac has been working hard on developing small speaker optimization technologies for years, and we believe that technologies such as Dirac Power Sound and Dirac Panorama Sound will help smartphone manufacturers handle these oncoming audio challenges.

In the year ahead and beyond, smartphones that take on the new trends will be in desperate need of digital speaker optimization technology in order to ensure that they sound as good as (or better than) their predecessors.

Dirac Power Sound

Dirac Power Sound technology helps small speakers produce bigger sound with enhanced sound quality.  Dirac works with AAC technologies, the world leader in micro speakers, to bring small speaker performance to next level. The technology has already been integrated into more than half a billion smartphones from 10 brands, such as Xiaomi, OPPO, OnePlus and Infinix, and shipped around the globe—from China, Europe, and Africa to India and the USA. In countries like India and China, high volume is crucial and sometimes even more important than good sound quality, especially in India where people enjoy watching videos and listening to music from smartphone speakers. Without digital sound optimization technology such as Dirac Power Sound, smartphones’ role as the entertainment center will be greatly reduced.

Dirac Panorama Sound

Dirac Panorama Sound for mobile devices.jpg

Dirac Panorama Sound technology, our newly released speaker optimization solution, is ideal for an asymmetric speaker system or any other speaker system comprised of two or more speakers that are placed in a non-optimal manner. The technology not only enhances the speaker system’s volume and general sound quality, it also creates a magically wide sound stage and immersive sound listening experience from a tiny device. With this technology, an asymmetric speaker system such as a smartphone with a receiver on the top and a micro speaker on the bottom will be able to produce stereo immersive sound. Something which was once regarded as impossible: the speakers are in different sizes and placed asymmetrically within a short distance of one another. Dirac Panorama Sound was recently made available to moto z smartphone users who listen from the compatible JBL Soundboost2 speaker. We are looking forward to seeing more portable devices empowered by this innovation in the near future!

- Weiwei Fang, Marketing Manager for Dirac Mobile Technologies