[Editorial] Big, Sophisticated Sound Quality From a Small Device: The Story Behind the Galaxy S6 Sound

on May 25, 2015 by Gunhyuk Yoon
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Samsung Tomorrow is featuring a series of editorials by some of the leading designers and engineers who made the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge a reality. In the fifth installment, Gunhyuk Yoon, Senior Engineer at IT & Mobile Communications, explains the surprisingly powerful sound capabilities. Yoon worked on a team that included Senior Engineers Byoung-Hee Lee, Juhee Chang, Han Ho Ko, Junsoo Lee and writes on behalf of the entire group.





Which smartphone feature do you use most frequently? Is it web browsing? Chatting with friends through an instant messaging app? Taking photos? The Samsung Galaxy S6 is equipped with a very long list of innovative features and technology for better user experience. The device’s advanced sound technology is definitely worthy of a place near the top of this list.


The sound technology of Galaxy S6 was born under the philosophy of awakening the senses beyond seeing and touching but developed further to listening and feeling. For this, we tried to deliver the best listening experience, whether the user is enjoying music through earphones or the smartphone’s speaker.


First of all, we built the high-powered speaker on the Galaxy S6 to produce powerful, high-quality sound, similar to that of a mini sound bar. The 1.2-watt speaker on the Galaxy S6 is 1.5 times more powerful than the speaker on the Galaxy S5 and delivers louder, clearer sound.


We were tasked with a significant challenge, to increase the power and sound quality of the speaker with only the most minimal increases in size. To increase the power, the audio engine must be larger, but space is limited in a smartphone where various functionalities are integrated. Even 0.01mm can make a big difference in sound performance. That’s why we had to fight for as much real estate as we could.


Eventually, the speaker was moved to the bottom of the phone and we were able to secure a few extra millimeters, allowing us to reproduce high-quality original sound at a wider range with the high-powered speaker. The result is the one of the most outstanding speakers ever found in a mobile device, one that surpasses the performance of existing micro speakers.




To operate the speaker to its maximum performance, a powerful amplifier is a prerequisite. The Galaxy S6 has a ‘smart amplifier’ that can increase the volume to the maximum without any speaker defect. Unlike existing amplifiers, a smart amp is able to identify the extent of vibration on the diaphragm and the speaker temperature by checking the status of the speakers. By doing so, the optimal sound is sent out after analyzing the output amount to which frequency. Thanks to this technology, Galaxy S6 produces a deep and rich sound comparable to a sound bar.


But the new and improved speaker was not the only technological advancement related to sound on the Galaxy S6. We wanted our customers to be able to hear the original sound recorded by the producer when listening to music and talking to the person near you when talking on the phone.


We simply could not revamp the entire sound system without also improving the audio codec, which fundamentally influences sound. The audio codec on the Galaxy S6 is not just an improvement over previous devices, it is entirely new. This development allows the sound quality of the Galaxy S6 to keep pace with any audio device.


While were developing the new high-quality codec, we would sometimes spend more than 10 hours a day listening to music and analyzing the sound quality. Thanks to the great deal of effort put in by our team, the Galaxy S6 was able to achieve an industry-best signal-to-noise Ratio (SNR) and 192kHz,24 bit super-high sound quality.



Earphones that are included with the Galaxy S6



One of the biggest concerns of music lovers is whether the sound volume quality will be diminished when using earphones. For the Galaxy S6, when users connect the earphones to the terminal, the high impedance fault detection technology checks the earphone resistance automatically and can reproduce the optimal power of each earphone and headphone.


The bundle earphones that come with the Galaxy S6 have also totally been redesigned. You would be hard-pressed to find many similarities with those that came with previous devices. We wanted to create earphones that deliver high-quality sound, and are so comfortable, users will forget they are wearing them. We enlisted more than 50 developers to be our test subjects. The width, length and depth of their ears were measured and entered into a database. We used a 3D scanner to model the ear in our efforts to develop an ergonomic external design.


The reason design mattered was because a stable sound quality could be felt by users when the bundle earphone was comfortably settled in the ear. Naturally, the audio technology within the bundle earphone was enhanced. We also wanted to design a bundle earphone that allowed listeners to really hear the high-quality codec and high-powered amplifier.


Lastly, the Samsung’s own sound technologies are also much improved. The Galaxy S6 utilizes the ‘Sound Alive+’ feature, which produces three-dimensional sound by identifying the characteristics of the content (music, movie, multimedia). In addition, the ‘Adapt Sound’ feature allows the user to optimize the sound based on each user’s listening characteristics. While these two features could be found on previous devices in the Galaxy Series, they go further than ever before.



Sound Alive+ Setup Screen


‘Sound Alive+’ ensures outstanding sound quality even for streaming content since it can be applied to the preloaded Samsung music player and third party multimedia applications. And ‘Adapt Sound’ can provide the customized sound experience by identifying minute traits of each ear and respond by adjusting the strength of the signal. This is one of the differentiated features of the Galaxy S6, which cannot be experienced easily even in a premium audio device.



Sound Alive Equalizer


The reason we could bring the sound on the Galaxy S6 to a whole new level was the tireless efforts and tenacity of our team, in our goal to present the best listening experience to users. The completely new Galaxy S6 sound will awaken your senses.




by Gunhyuk Yoon

Senior Engineer at IT & Mobile Communications

Products > Mobile

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