Nokia Lumia 930 to feature world’s first Dolby Digital Plus audio recording in a phone

Yesterday, Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia 930, a new flagship device running Windows Phone 8.1. That phone is due for release in the coming weeks and for all intents and purposes, it’s the same hardware as the Nokia Lumia Icon for Verizon. There are two differences though: color options, which is obvious and something more subtle: Dolby Digital Plus audio recording.

According to Nokia, this is the first time a smartphone will have this ability and we don’t doubt it. The feature is still technically in development and while we were able to see the configuration options in settings, we are not able to show you them just yet (the phone was a special version, not on display for the media, though it’s the one I’m holding in my hand in the video below).

Nokia has some video recorded on display demonstrating the familiar rich-audio recording found on high end Lumias. The Lumia 930 features the same four HAAC (high-amplitude audio recording) microphones as the Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon, and the same internal hardware (forgetting the radio change). So what’s difference? The firmware.

Does that mean that the Lumia Icon and Lumia 1520 will be getting this feature too? Nokia was mum on the issue, but they gave very strong hints that it would be coming in a forthcoming firmware update. That update is likely the Lumia Cyan firmware, due to arrive with the official Windows Phone 8.1 update in the coming weeks and months. Nokia did tell us that the Icon and Lumia 1520 technically can do this Dolby recording, but we’re not sure of current development status.

To put in perspective just how new this feature is, the videos recorded for the audio demonstration were shot just last week (the device we saw was the very one used to record those videos you see behind me) and the feature is only on a few, internal 930’s at the moment. Nokia is expected to finish the feature in the coming weeks before release.

The new Dolby option will be found under the Camera settings for Video. Current Lumia users can head to those settings to toggle Audio bass filter and Directional Stereo. In the forthcoming Lumia Cyan firmware, there will be an option for enabling Dolby Digital 5.1. Interestingly, the audio is recorded in two streams, with one being the Dolby and the other being standard stereo. Users will then be able to choose which they want in post editing, leaving the “guess work” out of the equation.

Needless to say, the quality of the audio was nothing short of stunning.


Reader comments

Nokia Lumia 930 to feature world’s first Dolby Digital Plus audio recording in a phone


Who cares? SD is outdated and will completely fade out soon enough. That's why they aren't putting them in every phone nowadays.

Is that why they came out with the 128GB card? So it can be obsolete? And that is why. 8.1 is making it possible to store apps on it? MicroSD will some day replace the HD....

You must be joking. Every single 2014 flagship device has it. Even the ones that last year didn't, like the HTC M7, now have it.
You know nothing, Jon Snow.

You know, the sad thing is that I've seen people seriously writing what you wrote before.

Fair point, but Apple has always been different. 4 inch devices were unnecessary until they released one and the same thing is happening with the current screen size trend, 4 inch is perfect until they'll release a larger screen. So iphones won't have SDs until the market will push them to the point where they feel they'll need to implement one. That however doesn't change the fact that SD is very much alive and being used, just cause Apple doesn't use it doesn't mean it's not necessary or not popular. Apple doesn't use USB, does that mean USB is no longer popular and will fade out?

You can't have a flagship device when you have no vast offering. If anything, the iPhone 5S would be the flagship and the 5(c) and 4S the others (except they're just rehashed versions of the one another).

Apple is a different company and acts differently. And their users more and more hate her for it. However, they at least have the decency of offering the phones in several storage capacities: 16, 32 and 64GB. Point me towards the 930 (or any other really) with 64GB please. There was ONE Lumia with 64GB, a version of the 1020, made exclusively for Telefónica.


You're comparing apples and oranges.

Truly understand what you are saying, lots of people want sd card capabilities. Some don't though and not all high end phones offer this.

I use a card for my Surface but not needed on my 920. Reason being tv, films etc go onto my Surface which I take anytime I want to watch something. Then pictures and video from the phone in the cloud.

So some need sd cards in phones, some don't.

Also, you obviously don't know me well enough on here to know that if I believe in something, I stand by what I post. In this case, I posted a complete bullshit statement. Gotta keep this site frisky!

When you live in Canada, the cloud is stupid when the cheapest data plan is $50 for 200MB.

A 2½ minute video I made is 435MB. That's almost ½ a gig... When I filmed that video (in 1080p 30fps) I had to take multiple takes of a scene, and I had almost 3 GB of video (and that was only about 5- 6 minutes of video)

Well, I should use a Dslr for video, right? I actually find that my Lumia 920 is better at video than the Nikon D7000 I have access too- the sounds is better, the colours are better, the exposure and focus is a lot faster.

I also like to keep a lot music with me, and it's high quality at 320kbs, and I have 7 GB of music which is not enough, I stream when I can, but I can't for commutes, and I have a massive range of tastes, from Bach, Kanye, Stan Getz, Iron Maiden, and so on. They have great albums and I want to be able to listen to them front to back.

I am willing to pay extra for a 930 with an SD card

It's okay guys, he's just a fanboy doing some damage control, nothing logical to see here.

Having more storage is outdated? LOL
That is absolutely ridiculous. I sure no one would have dared to suggest that when everyone was having the "other" storage issues.
Bottom line is I need it, and so does anyone with a large media collection who finds it both expensive and cumbersome to stream that media from the cloud.
I was hoping the 930 would have an SD slot, as I would switch carriers to get it... another unfortunate revelation that it wasn't coming to AT&T any time soon.

False. The day it becomes outdated is the day you have mobile reception (or WiFi for all) for all carriers, in every corner of the earth, in tunnels, on planes, out in the oceans. Until then extra storage will remain the fastest and most efficient way of accessing your data.

How would an SD card affect the quality of audio recording? That's what the post is about, isn't it?

You can do more of it with a bigger battery too. Complaining about batteries in a post about microphones and audio tech would just as ridiculous.

Or maybe not. Without a microSD card, there's very little reason to upgrade from a 920 apart from the camera and the faster processor. And if you're going for the camera alone, then just get a 1020.

"Apart from the camera and faster processor"

Wrong, maybe you should read some of the articles published on WP Central and gain a more balanced answer?

I'm very aware of the differences between the 920 and 930. It doesn't change the fact that as it is, it's not a worthy successor to the 920. Adding a full HD screen but bumped to 5" isn't a selling point for many (actually it may even be a deal breaker as not everyone liked big phones).

Are you ever wrong?

Do you ever realise your statements are your opinion?

Do you always shift the goal posts?

I can live without the Micro SD, everything else is just awesome, but there is ONE thing i want to know ... Does someone know if the 930 supports Glance?? :)

or we can just stick with our 920s, since this phone doesn't have enough compelling improvments 

I don't know about all but I don't personally give a flip about my phone having an SD card slot. If it comes with one, fine. I'll roll with it but if not, 32 gig and the cloud wil be more than enough. Its just a damn phone. I use it in short bursts for data and I even make phone calls.

Then you might as well just get the 630. People who want this phone are more likely to be the kind who'll suffer without an sd card slot.

Definitely, it'll be as bad as waterboarding, Nokia could very well be charged with terrorism over this exclusion.

They suffer? Can't be suffering that much if they are on a platform that produce few phones that offer sd card. Maybe one day that'll change.

Using a phone for phone calls?! Are you living in the stone a... Hang on, my sister is calling...

Have they confirmed when this phone comes to the US/AT&T?   Lack of a "flagship" 8.1 phone on AT&T kinda bites.

This phone will NOT go to the US. This phone is already there, on Verizon, it's called 929/Icon. AT&T got the 1020 and 1520 already.

Very much a flagship. Nothing the 930 is offering that 1520 doesn't have. Niche is opinionated as there is a vast market for 5.5 and up screen. Just not for WP since there's only one and a fairly new market for WP but not in general. If Nokia / ATT want to focus on this phone then I would have to disagree that its not a flagship.

It's not about what it's offering, its about the screen size. In Q32013 phones with larger than 5 inch screens accounted for 22% of smartphone sales (across all platforms), 31% of those 22% were phones with with screen sizes between 5 and 6 inches. Only 3% out of those 22% were phones with screen size of 6 inches or larger. 1520 has a 6 inch screen. Do the math...that looks like a niche device with great specs. Nokia's plan is to offer all types of phones, so they would naturally release a phablet. That doesn't make it a flagship, once again not based on specs, but based on how acceptable the size is to a majority.



Ok. So let me this straight 22% of the market was for 5 in or larger than you go on to say that 31% of that was between 5 and 6 than go on to talk about 6 inch and up? Maybe you need to school me on the 22% 5 inch and up and 31% of that between 5 & 6. So what the remaining 69% get? Maybe I'm missing your math. If you're saying that 22% of the market want larger than 5 and I just said there's a market for 5.5 and up, again how is phablets still a niche market? At the end of the of the day the 1520 is very much the flaship phone with the 930 (minus its SD card slot I should add)

Phablets are all phones with larger than 5 inch screens, which accounted for 22% of smartphone sales in Q32013.

If you take that 22% and look into it further, it is split into different segments, phones with 5 inch screens (66% of the 22%), phones with screens between 5 and 6 inches (31% of the 22%) and phones with screens of 6 inches and larger (3% of 22%). So as an example 3% of the original 22% is less than 1%. So less than 1% of all smart phone sales in Q32013 were of screen sizes of 6 inches and larger. NL1520 is a 6 inch phablet.

Once again flagship isn't only determined by the amount of features and specs (NL1020 had amazing features and the best camera, but it's still a niche device, because if you're not crazy about photography you probably won't go for that phone). At this point phablets especially those that trend to the larger end of the screen size spectrum are a small part of total sales, which makes them niche devices even though they offer all the features.

In the future if demand shifts it may change, but for now it is what it is...significantly less people are willing to carry around a phone with a 6inch+ screen.

Like I said calling this a niche phone is opinion. I posted an article that explains everything of the forecast for phablets. This regardless is a flagship. And if its not than what is.

it's not an opinion, it's what it is by definition. A phone that represents a small subset of the market, which is what 6 inch phones are.
I think you should look up the definition of flagships aka core products and niche products

We just have to disagree. I don't see anything niche about ohablets in 2014. If Elop said their main focus for the US that would very well make the 1520 one of Nokia flagship

I guess we'll have to. No one knows what the sales numbers are going to be in 2014 so we'll see, but for 2013 6 inch devices (which is what NL1520 is) were niche devices, meaning they represent a very small subset of the market. Also you were comparing 930 to 1520, which technically both fall under phablets since both have screens of 5 inches or higher. And a flagship is a core product that is typically released first. AT&T carries 920, 925, 1020, 1520. Two flagships, two niche devices. If 1520 was a flagship, Nokia would have released it first.

I agree. The 1520 is no flagship and I don't believe AT&T won't get a 2014 flagship like the 930. We could be surprised and they land something more bad ass but to think that because it offers the 1020 (nitch) and 1520 (phablet) that this is it for AT&T. Its not how they roll there anyway.

So is AT&T no longer a premier partner for Windows Phone and Nokia? How is the 930 not coming to AT&T? I have hung on to my 920 waiting for the replacement that has not yet come and now I read that this phone is a world phone and will not be available in the states. No I don't want a phablet so the 1520 is not an option. Where is the 920 sucessor AT&T? Is there something in the works? What gives?

There is always something in the works. I wouldn't be surprised to see the premier partner thing dissolve, though. Clearly there is interest from Verizon (high end) and Tmo (low end).

Elop already said ATT wasn't biting on it because they have the 1520 (which is barely 6 months old). OEM can't force a carrier to stock a phone, and besides they're still carrying four models of Windows Phone already - 920, 925, 1020 and 1520. That's way more than any other US carrier, so I'd say they're still a premier partner.

:'( this sucks... I mean I really don't understand all this (one carries, one region) thing when it comes to phones. Why not just release the dam thing across the board. Like the Icon is exclusive to Verizon, surely this hurts both Nokia and Microsoft in the long run. Why not let us (the consumer) decide what carrier we go with. These exclusive partnerships only hurt the person these products are designed for, us.

Thanks, I don't know why Nokia can't make this available worldwide without some carrier sh*t! That's just killing sales. Someone like me would have gotten at least 2 more phones if not for the stupid carrier exclusivity and available only in the US syndrome!

So true. American carriers are incapable of competing using their quality of service alone. That's why they resort to exclusivity thing. I don't really care at this point cause I'm using a GSM carrier and buy unlocked phones. Same kind of thing is happening with Netflix and Amazon instant lately, only getting exclusive content. That kind of thing isn't making me switch service providers, that is making me pirate instead.

Don't really see how how would be terribly useful unless you're an audio engineer or pro musician or something similar, but whatever. Guess it's getting harder for these mobile phone companies to find things to distinguish themselves so they have to invent gimmicks nobody really needs now.

DD+ is just a codec and its recognized by most in Home Theater. Would be nice for sharing/watching videos on home theater setups. For one, many stereos will limit alot of the processing they can do if its not a Dolby, DTS or PCM signal. So being this is Dolby, it could have lots of post processing, Audyssey, 7.1, etc... Obviously not a make or break feature, but I nice addition. Uniformity is good to, so...

this is so useful im so happy, great sounding audio is a really big factor. maybe not a noticable one but im reayy glad, and this does stand out in the crowd of other phones no one else has done this.

I already want the 1520. If this feature comes to it with the Cyan Update, I will buy it now without any regard to my savings.

The Nokia HAAC feature is one of the things that makes iPhone and Android users want to switch to Lumia. I demonstrated it with a club recording the other day to a co-worker and he was amazed by the recording quality. Those deep basses and treble sounds are crispy clear even in high volumes. It's simply a feature of Lumia's I absolutely love!

And the OIS impresses people too. I took video of a jackrabbit while walking and many people asked, "what did you record this on?".

Yeah, been seeing lots of videos on YouTube of concerts taken with the 1020: Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Limp Bizkit, Beyonce

Thank you. I've been shooting local band footage in clubs with my 1020 and everyone is amazed by the sound and clarity. Any advancements made on the recording or video side ae deeply welcomed and under appreciated. Would love to see some video "lenses".

I hope they're also spending time to get glance to work on Icon and L930, and not on niche audio features that nobdy really cares about.

There is a company called ZOOM. That makes audio recorders that are really cool. I wonder if this is using that same technology or something like it? 

Att probably won't sell this phone. My question is is the int'l version LTE compatible with att in the us??

People are never satisfied. If you want all the fancy hardware android might be the better platform for you. Can't believe devices like the 1520 & the 930 are available on WP and people are still whining.

People need to look at phone designs as trade studies. There is a constant flow between aesthetics, functionality, manufacturing, price, etc. Nobody at Nokia woke up and said, "screw SD cards, those things suck!".

Getting rid of SD card is a copying apple thing. Day what u want that Samsung never got rid of removable battery and memory is a great thing and that's I think probably one of the main reasons ppl buy Samsung devices. The value of expandable battery and memory is precious.

Haha lol you mean the same people who wouldn't be able to boot up their phone if it died without battery?

Can I install app on memory card in Windows Phone 8.1....??? I think in excitement we forget this requested feature.....

Daniel, does this feature mean it will actually utilise the four microphones to record surround sound, or is it merely a 5.1 mix of what's in front of the camera?

Im using my 1020 for 6 months now, never had i felt any pinch about missing the expandable memory. 32GB is more than enough for me and the 10GB offline musics loaded on my phone.

Sorry for a stupid question and off topic but what kind camera does the 930 come with, is its the same 20mp as 1520, sure hope so. Thanks

Thank you. I agree the DD Audio Recording is another improved feature. But with the flood of great portable DACs, headamps, IEMs, and headphones, I can't believe WP doesn't support digital audio output through the microUSB, for listening to our wonderfully recorded tracks. I was hoping this would be implemented with USB OTG, in WP 8.1

Needs speakers better like htc, but not software dolby or other. The fact all nokia phones had and still have worst speakers

To get back on topic...I know that Dolby DTS is an actual hardware component. Everything else is a software based solution. I'm surprised that DSP and\or SRS hadn't found their way to phones yet. I'm curious how the 5.1 will be encoded and what bit rate it will use.

I wish Ekop would have said specifically that this was the first during the keynote. Someone else will probably claim in in another conference.

I hope that it will be just a filter.

Ditch AAC over AC3 or some derivative its ridiculus!

The AC3 doesn't even get close to the quality of mp3.

Don't expect anything fancy with recording surround sound. The best sound is created from different elements, like in movies.

The only problem is everytime I record video on my 1520 to my SD card it skips like a kid on the playground

Considering the 930 is nothing more than a Verizon-logo-stripped Icon, you can be certain it will come via firmware update. I still think it's weak sauce that all they had to show the world at the Build Conference was the aforementioned device. That's just lazy.

The audio recording quality on the 1020 is probably an often overlooked feature. It's incredibly good. I'm amazed that Nokia is improving it even further. I recorded some video clips of an indoor concert and listened to the videos with headphones afterwards. The bass was beautifully intact, yet I was able to hear the vocals even better than I could when I was there in person. That is some incredible technology.