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.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.