Phone

Samsung details the work behind the Galaxy S9’s stereo speakers

The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are an incremental upgrade over their predecessors. The new phones come with minor many improvements which add up to make a noticeable difference in the overall experience. Stereo speakers, however, are a major addition made by Samsung to its latest flagships and its flagship lineup in general. In a blog post on its website, Samsung has detailed the efforts required to equip the Galaxy S9 and S9+ with stereo speakers.

Galaxy S9/S9+ sound 1.4 times louder

At the outset, Samsung set out to equip the new smartphones with “multiple dynamic speakers” to ensure sound from different areas of the phone for an immersive audio experience. Previous Galaxy smartphones had speakers at the bottom of the phone. For the Galaxy S9/S9+, Samsung decided to place an additional speaker at the top of the phone to enable a stereo experience, just like other OEMs have done. Due to the tiny bezels and the edge-to-edge display, adding that extra speaker proved challenging for Samsung. It required rearranging the internal components on the front (like the front camera and iris scanner) to make room for the additional speaker.

Samsung engineers from different teams worked on that rearrangement, but in spite of all these efforts, they were still left with a minor size difference between the two speakers. The company addressed this imbalance by fine-tuning the speakers to balance the output levels. The team also increased the size of the existing speaker by 1.5 times and reduced magnetic interference from other components.

By doing all this and more, Samsung was, in the end, able to make the Galaxy S9 and S9+ sound 1.4 times (3-4dB) louder than their predecessors. Samsung’s efforts to offer a rich audio experience on the new flagship smartphones were not just limited to adding an extra speaker, though. The company also partnered with Dolby Atmos to incorporate a virtual surround sound effect to create the impression that sound is coming out from multiple directions. Audio experts from AKG also fine-tuned the speakers to expand their bass range while preventing distortions even at high volume.

Read our Galaxy S9 review to see how we feel about the phone’s stereo speakers!

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A2theC
A2theC

Too many cooks spoil the broth…

DareDevil01
DareDevil01

How is the broth spoiled? Galaxy S9 speakers are among the best ever speakers on a smart device.

Biransahin
Biransahin

The sound from my wife’s S9 plus is very impressive compared to my Note8 and I’m not afraid to admit it. Particularly when you use the music or movie mode it’s incredibly good for a mobile phone. Of course nothing beats being connected to a couple of decent quality Bluetooth speakers sitting on the coffee table but it’s certainly good to have. Not mentioned so often is the incredible sound that Dolby Atmos can give you through your wired headphones.

ionutdicu
ionutdicu

so, when playing music, I feel clearly the difference, although this switch between earspeaker and loudspeaker (according to holding position) I feel quite disturbing…
but, when phone-ringing, the sound I noticed is only mono (through loudspeaker), so no obvious difference

Biransahin
Biransahin

You don’t need the phone to ring in stereo. No phone with stereo speakers ring in stereo. Lol. Smh.

Abhijeet
Abhijeet

I think the iPhone does use both speakers for the ringtone, it’s the sole reason one guy I know wants stereo speakers on his phones, instead of needing them for audio etc. Interesting if they don’t actually use both speakers for incoming calls.

ionutdicu
ionutdicu

exactly; I saw iphone x doing stereo when ringing and I don’t understand why this restriction for s9+?! because also the ringtones may sound better this way….

vitorvedder
vitorvedder

Because if you’re using the earspeaker close to your ear and suddenly you receive a call, having the earspeaker ring loud would likely hurt your audition.

DareDevil01
DareDevil01

Indeed. Using a sound meter, the top ear speaker produces in excess of 114db at close range. Enough to hurt your ears.

Abhijeet
Abhijeet

Actually, my S9 does ring on both speakers, at least with the Over the Horizon ringtones. I’ll try playing a custom track.

Abhijeet
Abhijeet

Yep, same for a third-party ringtone, it’s actually why I have to keep my phone’s ringtone lower than full with the default ringtone, from fear of waking my wife up if a call comes in in the morning. It’s that loud.

ionutdicu
ionutdicu

I hope we are clear that we don’t talk about playing those ringtones, but actually ringing the phone…..
and if that’s so, maybe you can tell me how did you set it, because I didn’t see this option in the menu

Abhijeet
Abhijeet

There is no such option, it’s how it works for me out of the box. Tested with an incoming call as well.

ionutdicu
ionutdicu

so, there is a thread on xda that clarifies…
https://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-s9-plus/help/stereo-ringtone-issue-t3763854
when phone sits on the table, ringing is stereo, when phone in hand – only mono; as someone said before, probably to prevent ear disturbance….

DareDevil01
DareDevil01

IONUTDICU That’s a very good point. If you’re holding the phone up to your ear and the top speaker rings at full volume in your ear it could really hurt you ear.