Smart devices have become an essential part of our lives. People use them for listening to music, watching videos, and making phone calls.
It’s known that there’s a relatively wide range of quality in the sound they produce.
Some devices produce good-quality sound, but others come with factory settings that produce lower-quality audio than what is expected. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to test the audio quality and change the settings accordingly.
- 1 Theory
- 2 Step 1: Connect your Device
- 3 Step 2: Start Testing
- 4 Step 3: Troubleshoot
- 5 Step 4: Make Adjustments
- 6 Step 5: Verify the Results
- 7 Common Problems In Testing Audio Quality
- 8 Conclusion
To get the best quality sound from your smart device, you need to get these three things right: volume level, equalization (EQ), and outside noise. Most smart devices are set at half their maximum volume by default. It’s because manufacturers want to avoid hearing damage, which can be caused by listening to audio at high volumes for long periods of time.
But you don’t have to sacrifice audio quality just to protect your ears. You can adjust the volume level on your device so that you can still enjoy the clear sound without having hearing damage.
EQ allows you to adjust the frequency profile of your device’s audio. On most devices, the EQ is set to ‘Flat’.
The ‘Flat’ setting ensures that all frequencies are present at equal levels in your music. It’s good for producing high-quality sound, but if you don’t like how it sounds, you can change it using EQ presets.
Outside noise can also affect the quality of your music. If you listen to music in a noisy environment, it’s challenging for your device to produce good sound because it competes with ambient noise. Similarly, if you’re using earphones or headphones that don’t fit well, exterior sounds might be louder than the audio you’re trying to listen to.
To get the best audio experience, you should test your device in different environments and adjust the settings accordingly.
Nowadays, audio analyzers like Audio Precision can help you test the quality of your device’s audio output.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to test the audio quality of a smart device:
Step 1: Connect your Device
The first thing you need to do is connect your device to the audio analyzer. Most audio analyzers have a standard connector that’s compatible with most smartphones.
Using an adapter, you can connect your device to the audio analyzer in just a few seconds. If you have trouble, consult your audio analyzer manual to find out how to plug in your device.
Step 2: Start Testing
The second step is testing the audio quality.
If you’re testing wired headphones, plug them into your device and ensure that the audio analyzer is set to headphone mode. If you’re testing wireless headphones, just turn on the headset, and it should show up on your audio analyzer.
Make sure that all of the settings are correct by checking your manual. Usually, you’ll need to configure the audio analyzer for a sample rate of 44.1 kHz and a bit depth of 16 bits.
Make some noise into your device while the audio analyzer runs a test. As it tests, you should see a graphical display on your screen that shows both a frequency and dB spectrum. In most cases, you should see a flat display with no peaks or dips in either the frequency Y-axis or the dB X-axis.
If your device is producing an abnormally loud output at a particular frequency, it could mean that there’s a problem with one of your internal components. It may be caused by poor audio codec design, incorrect component layout on your board, or it may even be the result of interference from other components.
Step 3: Troubleshoot
If there are any abnormal peaks in either the frequency display or dB spectrum, you’ll need to troubleshoot your device’s audio output. Most devices are designed to have a flat frequency response across the audible range.
If your device has an abnormal peak somewhere in the high end of the kHz spectrum, then it could mean that you need to adjust your audio codec or amplifier settings to improve its output.
A common problem is something called intermodulation distortions. If your device has these types of distortions, then it means that the signals from two or more sources interfere. The poor layout can cause it, or if you’re using too many components close to each other.
If you find it hard to find the source of the distortion, you can use a spectrum analyzer to narrow down the problem.
If you’ve got a smartphone handy, it most likely has an FM radio receiver in it. Turn on your FM tuner and look for any abnormalities in the dB spectrum or frequency display when you’re playing back audio through the device. The chances are that if there’s an issue with the audio quality, you’ll see it in the FM tuner.
Step 4: Make Adjustments
If you find your device has an abnormal peak in its frequency response or dB spectrum, you need to make the necessary adjustments to improve its output. In most cases, this can be done by adjusting the settings in the audio codec.
Some common adjustments you can try:
- Increase the number of bits per sample (increasing bit depth)
- Use a lower sampling rate than the default one specified in your device’s operating system. It’ll create more bits per sample, but it can also increase power consumption and reduce battery life if you don’t have a high-end audio codec.
- Lower the bit depth to reduce the number of bits per sample if it’s not possible to change your sampling rate. It’ll increase battery life because it reduces the amount of power used by each component in your device, but it can also affect sound quality.
Step 5: Verify the Results
Once you’ve made your adjustments, it’s important to verify that they’ve improved the audio quality of your device. You can do this by performing some more tests with the audio analyzer.
If the peaks and dips in the frequency response or dB spectrum are gone, then you’ve successfully fixed the problem. However, if the peaks and dips are still there, then you’ll need to make more adjustments until you achieve a flat frequency response across the entire audible range.
Common Problems In Testing Audio Quality
Now that you’ve known how to test audio quality on a smart device, you may take a look at some of the common problems that can occur:
Frequency response or dB spectrum
One of the most common issues is an abnormal peak in the frequency response or dB spectrum. It might be due to different factors, including poor audio codec design, incorrect component layout on your board, or interference from other components.
Power Consumption and Battery Life
Your device’s power consumption and battery life can also be affected by the audio codec you choose to use.
For example, using a high-sampling rate can make greater demands on your CPU and “burn through” your battery at a faster pace. It’s especially true for devices with a low-power audio codec built into them. You can often decrease power consumption and increase battery life by using a lower sampling rate, but this comes at the cost of sound quality.
Other ways to reduce power consumption and extend battery life include turning off the display when you’re not using it or disabling features that you don’t need.
Interference From Other Components
Another common issue that can affect the audio quality of your device is interference from other components on the board.
For example, the CPU can emit radiofrequency noise, affecting sound quality if the audio codec picks it up.
Similarly, your device’s audio codec can amplify power supply noise or ground loops and produce undesirable results. To reduce interference from other components in your board, you should route the audio signals as carefully as possible and use shielded cables when necessary.
You should also try to keep the distance between the audio codec and other components on the board to a minimum.
The Condition Of The Audio Cables
The condition of your audio cables can also have a significant impact on the audio quality of your device.
If the cables are damaged or exposed to excessive heat, they may not carry the audio signal accurately. It can distort the sound or even complete loss of audio in some cases.
Audio cables should be treated with care and shouldn’t be bent excessively. They should also be shielded to protect them from interference from other components on the board.
Many things can go wrong with the audio signal between your device and the headphones or speakers you’re using. By understanding these problems and fixing them, you can significantly improve your device’s audio quality.
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The steps described in this article will teach you the basics of how to test audio quality on a smart device. By following this audio quality check guide, you can identify and fix any audio problems that may be affecting the quality of your device’s sound output.
Testing the audio quality of a smart device can be a helpful way to ensure that you’re getting the best possible listening experience. Feel free to use this information to improve the audio quality of your smart device.