Take a second to think about the speaker on your phone. How often do you use it? Now think about the quality of sound it produces. Are you satisfied with it? Finally, think of the last time you heard a phone ring or play music and you thought it produced the worst sound you have even heard.
All mobile phones, smart or otherwise have a speaker in them. Some are small and others bigger, likewise, some sound good while others suck. If you thought this was just because one had a better speaker than the other, you need to keep reading because you would be wrong. The production of good sound by a phone is dependent on 3 factors, the quality of sound going through, how it is processed and the speaker. There is more to sound than we know and this is how phone speakers make meh or epic sound.
First, the speakers…
The speaker setup in a smartphone is not very different from the speakers elsewhere. The biggest difference between phone speakers and other speakers is the space the speaker has to vibrate. Sound can be broken into two types, low frequency (Bass) and high frequency (Not bass). To achieve sound, the speaker has to vibrate. If it vibrates at a high frequency, it produces a loud sound. If it vibrates at a low frequency, it produces a deep bass sound. To produce the low frequency sounds requires a more vibration space for the speaker than the high frequency. This is why those smaller speakers like the ones in your smartphone are able to be loud and not have bass. Some Chinese phone brands know how to take loud sound to a new level. (just saying)
The Sound input
Now, the sound quality. The output of sound is dependent on the kind of sound input being received by the speaker system. In theory, high quality sound like HiFi sound that is not distorted will enter the speaker system and come out good. The same goes for bad sound.To get good music, you need to input good quality music. However, sometimes you can have good sound and it will still come out horrible like streaming on Tidal using my Tecno. This is when the third factor comes into play.
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The link between the music you have on your device and the speakers is a little device called the Digital Analogue Converter or DAC for short. The DAC is responsible for transforming the digital music saved on your phone to analogue which the speakers can then project. Given that the music quality is good, the difference between a good speaker system and a bad one is the DAC. The better the DAC, the better the sound. All phones have a DAC that translates the sound the speakers play. Better DACs lead to better sound quality which is why some phones have better sound than others. Those with better sound have better DACs installed. Companies like Apple produce their own DACs for devices which is why the sound of the iPhone is great. Other manufacturers buy from DAC manufacturers that are not all excellent. Companies like LG and Samsung are now moving from the industry standard to much better DAC units that enable them to produce better sounding phones.
With this realization however, if your phone has less than satisfactory sound output, There are ways to improve the sound quality of the device. At the top of that list is headphones/earphones. To better understand how that works, look out for the second part of this article that explains how earphones make your phone sound better.