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Samsung Galaxy S4 Audio Clipping


I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy S4 and I really love the phone. However, there has been one nagging issue with my phone that is really bothering me. I listen to mp3s, podcasts and use the radio application on my phone heavily. When using the phone with my audio applications, I noticed a heavy buzzing from my 3rd party earbuds (Monster Immersion iSport in-ears) when I increased the volume to a louder setting. Initially, I thought this was an issue when I transferred my mp3's to my SD card and re-did the entire process. Same issue. After a few weeks, I noticed a few articles online by searching "galaxy s4 audio clipping" that explained exactly the issue I was having. It seems there is an issue with some Qualcomm powered S4's and third party earbuds... which is ridiculous. I tried the stock earbuds that Samsung provided (and fall out consistently when I try to run/jog and I have no issues with them). There is a thorough investigation of the issue here - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2258831&page=33 What options do I have with Koodo as audio is an important experience with my cellular phone and I have never had any issues with third party earbuds with any phone I've previously owned. Thanks!

23 replies

Userlevel 1
Testers and Samsung did not report any Known issue when listening to mp3, podcasts..music etc..In fact people are talking lot about this online reporting similar problem, it's time to make Samsung react and investigate these allegations
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
Have you tried to use the different size rubber tips that come with the Galaxy S4 for the ear buds to fit properly. Have you tried to adjust the equalizer in the phone?
Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

Have you tried to use the different size rubber tips that come with the Galaxy S4 for the ear bud...

Yes to both. I've even played around with the Adept Sound functionality within the phone to no avail. The link I posted above seems to point the issue towards the audio portion of the Qualcomm chip within the North American variant of the phone. I personally have a SGH-I337M where the problem is quite severe.
Userlevel 7
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Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

Have you tried to use the different size rubber tips that come with the Galaxy S4 for the ear bud...

I just got the same model of Galaxy S4 a couple days ago so I'll do a couple tests and see if I can come up with a remedy at all. If you figure something out before me feel free to let me know as well.
Userlevel 7
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Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

Have you tried to use the different size rubber tips that come with the Galaxy S4 for the ear bud...

Mark I have that model and like I said I can't replicate the issue at all can you answer the questions I asked below and maybe I can figure it out because right now it's the best sound I've ever experienced from a mobile device.
they cant sell a phone like that to the public! i bought new headphones because i thought they were broken! when i found out the new ones had the same crackling and clipping noise i was shocked... Samsung if you read this... explain what this is please
Userlevel 4
tazztone wrote:

they cant sell a phone like that to the public! i bought new headphones because i thought they w...

They probably won't read this so here... http://www.samsung.com/ca/info/contactus.html
tazztone wrote:

they cant sell a phone like that to the public! i bought new headphones because i thought they w...

contacted them and they said they would pass infos on to their appropriate department
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
I just tried a bunch of headphones and I'm not hearing any crackling or clipping at all, actually it's the best sound I've ever heard out of a device. what tracks are you listening to that your hearing this so maybe I can try to reproduce the issue your talking about exactly? Are you cranking the bass up or flattening everything, what filter/effects are you using (reverb, 3d, room expansion, ect)? Also did it happen right away or after a minute or a few tracks or a few days? oh what volume are you turning it to when you experience it and do you crank it full ever?
Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

I just tried a bunch of headphones and I'm not hearing any crackling or clipping at all, actually...

happens only in i9505 not i9500. also not all devices of i9505 type are affected reportedly
Userlevel 7
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Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

I just tried a bunch of headphones and I'm not hearing any crackling or clipping at all, actually...

I have the SGH-I337M which Mark is claiming to be terrible and it has the best sound I've experienced on any mobile device, it's just as good as the HTC ONE I have as well.
Userlevel 2
Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

I just tried a bunch of headphones and I'm not hearing any crackling or clipping at all, actually...

What exactly is so good about the HTC One or the S4 Audio experience? From what I can tell they both run the same on board Qualcomm DAC, which a bunch of other devices run as well. The One & S4 aren't really running any hardware that would differentiate their sound from almost any other device, it's just a standard onboard audio converter. I think the International S4 Version runs a Wolfson DAC, which isn't 'onboard' and should potentially be better, but that's not really 'cutting' edge either, the S3 had a similar Wolfson Dac as well. Can you really hear a noticeable difference?
Userlevel 7
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Paul "Kid Android" Deschamps wrote:

I just tried a bunch of headphones and I'm not hearing any crackling or clipping at all, actually...

Nothing sets them apart in my opinion. I have the One, and it has excellent sound quality over the headphones. But it's not noticeably better than my iPhone 5 was. Tried a friend's S4 - same quality. The only phone I've had recently that stands out a bit is the Lumia 920, but only after I play with the Dolby settings. I've used the same Pioneer headphones with all of those.
I've tried using the Samsung stock music player, Google Play music and tweaked the Poweramp EQ settings to no avail. Whenever I use my Monster iSport earbuds which provides superior sound compared to the Samsung stock buds, I have this problem. This issue is not found if I use my fiancee's iPhone or our iPad using the same earbuds. The issue occurs right away, I've recorded a small clip on SoundCloud to share what I am experiencing when listening to a track. https://soundcloud.com/user441516433/gs4-clipping-1
Userlevel 2
Lewch wrote:

I've tried using the Samsung stock music player, Google Play music and tweaked the Poweramp EQ se...

Sounds like a genuine hardware related issue. I wouldn't even bother trying to fix it yourself,either return it to Koodo for a new one if you bought it from them, or contact samsung and initiate the warranty process. If you bought it from an international retailer you might have to get them to facilitate the warranty for you, I'm not familiar with how samsung handles international warranty requests.
Userlevel 2
Lewch wrote:

I've tried using the Samsung stock music player, Google Play music and tweaked the Poweramp EQ se...

Also, from a quick look around some forums, it appears the Wolfson DAC in the International S4 upsamples all audio to 48khz. What types of audio are you listening to on your phone? Any mp3 would automatically be upsampled. Have you tried a 48khz flac file? It would be interesting to know if you experience clipping on that type of audio as well..
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
Lewch wrote:

I've tried using the Samsung stock music player, Google Play music and tweaked the Poweramp EQ se...

that's odd, I don't experience this at all on my SGH-I337M Galaxy S4. it must be a bad batch of phones. I agree with mattjs, go with the warranty route if past the exchange process.
Lewch wrote:

I've tried using the Samsung stock music player, Google Play music and tweaked the Poweramp EQ se...

Mattjs, Yes, I have tried a FLAC file and the same issue occurs. It's a shame that I will need to go through the warranty process as it is a fantastic phone in all other aspects. Thanks for everyone's assistance. Cheers!
As a follow-up to this thread, a member of the XDA Developer forum created a survey where S4 users who are experiencing this issue are documenting their phone specs and their specific earbuds. Those who contribute can identify whether they experience the issue and their earbud model. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ahm7127Y1p78dHJtYjZpaHV4TlJ5ZFdVc05iRXFycmc#gid=0 I read on some various tech websites that there is a new Samsung firmware that will be released shortly. Does anyone know what to expect from Koodo in terms of turn-around so I can check to see if the firmware has helped/fixed this issue? http://mobilesyrup.com/2013/06/06/samsung-taps-past-android-versions-to-fix-galaxy-s4-storage-issues-with-new-update/
Userlevel 1
Lewch wrote:

As a follow-up to this thread, a member of the XDA Developer forum created a survey where S4 user...

The Samsung firmware is going to address the issue of the bloated internal storage. Should free up some space. No mention of the OP speaker problem.
Lewch wrote:

As a follow-up to this thread, a member of the XDA Developer forum created a survey where S4 user...

Right. I have not found any indication within what I have read about this upcoming firmware that it is meant to resolve the audio clipping issue. However, as Samsung has not come out and official stated the audio clipping is a "known issue", I'm hoping that they may try to resolve this issue quietly and sneak it into the "miscellaneous changes" that they add into patches. Here's hoping at least.
Good news. It looks like the new firmware released by Samsung has fixed the audio clipping issue I've previously raised. Several users on the XDA forums have updated to the new firmware and any clipping issue they experienced had been resolved. - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2258831&page=71 Are there any Koodo forum mods or senior support reps that can give a time frame as to when Koodo will push out this new firmware to our Galaxy S4's? Once I get this update, it will make the phone perfect.
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
Lewch wrote:

Good news. It looks like the new firmware released by Samsung has fixed the audio clipping issue ...

No you'll just have to wait till they announce it, trust me Im dying to know as well I can't wait to get the update but for the reason that it includes the ability to move apps to the SD Card. If I get any info I'll let you know as soon as I know. If you can't wait you can root and install the one that has been released or a custom ROM

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