Nokia reveal more about Dolby sound enhancements going into the Lumia 920 and 820

Nokia are still telling the compelling story of all they have packed into their upcoming Lumia 820 and 920 devices. We have compiled charts and graphs that include these speeds and feeds but so far, we haven’t touched on their sound capabilities.

Our smartphones increasingly act as our only music source so it’s good to see that Nokia haven’t left sound out in the cold for their new devices.

HTC recently revealed their HTC 8X and 8S devices both come with Beats audio enhancement technology. Nokia on the other hand has chosen long-time leader in sound technology, Dolby. A company steeped in history, famous for noise reduction systems and more importantly surround sound technology in cinemas everywhere.

Dolby, like Beats is essentially a sound processing technology. When it works well it should process the sound in a way that makes it more complimentary on a given device type. Here is what Shawn Richards had to say about Dolby Headphone.

"Dolby has consistently delivered state of the art tech. We know how to make a good sound even better. That’s where Dolby Headphone comes in."

Interestingly, Dolby Headphone will be exclusive to Nokia when it comes to smartphones but it can be found in other products such as AV receivers and decent headphones. The upshot of this is that the listener is said to be able to listen in comfort for longer and achieve much greater definition in sound quality. The system will be presumably native to the OS (or as an added app for updating) and will be similar to how HTC has their current Sound Enhancer system--basically you can turn it on, off or presumably adjust settings:

"But what exactly is Dolby Headphone and how does it provide a better experience? At the moment, you’ll probably think that the sound you’re listening to with your favourite headphones is fine. And it probably is – just fine. However, with Dolby Headphone technology even the best headphones will become better, enveloping you with a comfortable and natural sound – almost as if you were not using the headphones at all."

Windows Phone so far has lacked much in the way of high-end sound enhancement so it will be very interesting to hear how well Beats and Dolby stack up when we get them for review. Sound is a very subjective topic so we just hope that Nokia provide a toggle to switch it on and off.

Is your mobile phone your main music player now? Will these sound enhancements sway you towards Nokia or HTC? Do you believe it’s any good? Let us know wont you!

Source: Nokia

Robert Brand
  • It would be nice if we could get a price on the 920 this way I know if I need to start saving.
  • And release date and carriers...
  • Well I have at&t so it's a givin' but yeah, if you have Verizon or stupid Sprint, it would be nice to know.
  • If you have Verizon, you will not be getting the 920, you'll get the 820 and probably the HTC 8S according to my representative. And of course if you're on sprint, you won't get anything
  • Do you have a source for your info ?  A post stated that verizon is going to relase the 920...
    or are you just going by that one leaked picture ? It showed the 822 but, nothing else but, you didn't get to see the full list on that image.
  • Fail. HTC themselves announced that Verizon would be getting both the 8X & 8S. Still all speculation at this point anyway, since Verizon has been silent on WP8.
  • Interesting. I'm basically going to whore myself out to whoever gets the 920 first. I guess it'll be AT&T. Be gentle, its my first time (with AT&T).
  • *laugh*  I've been with AT&T by default since I was Cingular and AT&T gobbled them up.  They are not as bad as some make them out to be.  And the price is comparable especially when you consider you can talk and web browse at the same time on AT&T.  (not on Verizon)
  • +1
  • Actually is that true with LTE?  I know on CDMA data you couldn't, but not so sure on LTE.
  • Yup...I surf and talk all the time on my Lumia 900 on AT&T.
  • Technically you can, but it is in the hardware.  There are Androids on Verizon that do both...but Apple is doing their best to keep people in the past, on the new iPhone 5 you CAN NOT use that new technology as they didn't put in the two radios needed to accomplish the feat.
  • If I remember correctly, it was Cingular that bought AT&T. But that's irrelevant now. AT&T is pricy but worth it. They always get the best phones, and their customer service has always impressed me. Plus they have Rollover minutes.
  • Based on rumor, VZW to carry 920, 820, 8X, possibly 8S and Samsung.  Based on rumor, the 820 is supposed to be called/branded the 822 if and when it gets to VZW.  Based on the information Verizon has provided, we are getting s%&t on a stick.  Of course, the manufacturers are no help with their lack of pricing either.
  • Your name says it all, OMG you fail.
  • AFAIK, it'll cost about to $899 unlocked.
  • Manufactures dont just take the European price and convert it to US dollars idiot. If they did that then the Iphone would be like $900 for the 16gb. First of all Europe has a VAT tax on electronics of 20% second, even though the Euro is stronger than the dollar, they still price the phones at lower rates in the US.
  • Wow. In my opinion, I like this better than beats.
  • I don't think there's any way to tell from a spec sheet, it's all about how it sounds to your ear.  If I was a huge audiophile I'd prob want to hear both systems before I decided.  It's completely subjective.
  • Agreed.. Beats is claimed to boost low end more, kind of like an extended bass. I personally would be interested in cleaner highs and accurate bass. Dolby I think might be the better option.
    But, can't say much till I hear it but, I would lean more towards dolby processing over beats myself..
  • I would definitely go with Dolby as well especially since the new Nokia Headphones are made by the same company that makes the Beats headphones, Monster. 
  • Agreed. Nothing beats has put out so far has impressed me much. 
  • add a custom EQ with 10 bands and I'm in.
  • +1
  • I'm already 'in' this is the sweet icing :D
  • When I was at the NYC Lumia event, trying out some of the headphones with a 920 (the rep held the phone, not me), I saw him swipe over to a screen in the music app that was some sort of equalizer.  It had 7-10 sliders and bouncing bars on it.  It looked amazing.
    Check around 2:40 for the equalizer.  Not sure if this is only in the Nokia Music app or phone wide, but I would think it is for all audio on the device.
  • well now that it does have custom eq did you get it ? :)
  • I want to know what the audio hardware is behind all this. Ti codec? Qualcomm codec? Wolfson, Cirrus Logic? Yamaha?
    And I hope they ground everything correctly so I don't hear any buzz/hum.
  • Well, in such a small formfactor, I doubt you will not hear some buzz or low level hum.  Plus, this is digital to analog.  Only Burr-Brown DSP's have the tech to reduce artifical noise IMO, and you can't put one of those in a smartphone, although I'd LOVE for them to try.
  • My focus makes a buzz that's very noticeable at low volume or quite parts of songs. Drives me nuts. I thought I'd read that some HTCa or Nokias didn't suffer from that problem already...
  • Nokia has had a great history when it comes to sound in their devices, but having owned Nokia's and HTC'S in the past I'll say that they're both very good when it comes to audio. The Dolby and Beats enhancements will only make them even better. I think HTC might have a slight edge over Nokia this time, since it seems like they're really marketing the 8X as THE audio device, and seem to have put a lot into making sure it will be.
  • Have I got the wrong end of the stick but isn't Dolby supposed to be much better than Beats/Monster? I know HTC are marketing it as the audio device, but surely we can't trust marketing?
  • Both Dolby and Beats make excellent products.  In fact, I love my Beats Studio's.  I HATE Monster Cable, but that's another story.  Both products will benefit greatly from the respective audio enhancements.  I just hope that there are individual volume controls and gapless playback in WP8.  That would make WP8 THE KILLER PMP.
  • There marketing it as a music/ audio device because it doesnt have anything else. Nokia has pureview camera, exclusive apps, 3 mics for recording, an amazing screen with 60htz refresh rate and wireless charging. Nokias the smartphone to conquer them all, HTC just has audiophiles.
  • I have Powerbeats by Dr. Dre so it doesn't really matter to me.
  • There is a custom eq, but it is not 10 bands. I will get back to you on how many. I think it's 7. Plus many presets available. Very nice touch interface.
  • Probably referring to this?

    Shows it at around 2:40 or so.
  • The article seems to indicate its tied to Nokia Music, which wouldnt be so bad if it had the ability to show album art on the lock screen. Personally though, I turn all artificial enhancements off so not really a selling point for me.
  • Good to hear Nokia isn't letting HTC dominate the sound department. Makes my choice a little easier. Now I just need prices and date available.
  • +1
  • "Nokia reveal more about Dolby sound enhancements going into the Lumia 920 and 820"
    that's the title of the article, but when you read through it, you find that there is no information in it about Dolby in the phones.
    nothing more than a wasteful article trying to make lumia sound better than the 8x's beats audio.
  • Agreed, I especially liked the line where they said " this is better than the 8x's beats audio".../s
  • Not sure where you got that from the article.
  • Miss the /s tag didya?
  • I see what you did there, very creative. Ha ha. If you don't mind, I'm going to use that argument when presented with similar situations in future, hope you don't hold a patent for it.
  • Having owned some beats headphones I can say without doubt there well marketed junk. There price range can get you into some actual headphones from Beyer or audiotechnica. So im not putting in stock on HTC audio.
  • Since I'm with tmobile, I'll be sporting the HTC 8X.....this being said, yes my phone is my main source for this is definitely a plus for me. I just wish that the 8X came with expandable memory. Then again 16 gigs will suffice...even within other content I can put at least 8 gigs of music on my phone. My biggest question is does the Lumia 920 sport the amp that HTC has integrated into the headphone jack????
  • I don't think so...nothing I've read as of yet says anything about the Lumias having an amp..
  • Seems like we need a good tech write-up to compare Beats to Dolby. Curious what Beats really does vs Dolby.
  • Surround over Bluetooth coming soon? 5.1 mhl out with video?
  • +1
  • I'm not the biggest audiophile; as long as I'm not getting a lot of feedback or buzzing, I'm good. But I'm willing to let Nokia change my mind.
  • The signal processing from both HTC (Beats) and Nokia (Dolby) should really improve the quality of audio on both devices. HTCs current Sound Enhancer is top notch already. Its the one thing I missed the most when I started using my L900 as my daily phone instead of my HTC Titan.
    However, with the added signal amplifier in the HTC devices, they will have an advantage, especially when the devices are used at low volume levels. Im surprised Nokia didn't consider a separate sound amp along with the rich recording software in stereo.
  • What happen to MONSTER?? I thought they have a partnership??
  • thier deal with dolby is from the days of the nokia N8(2010) and they partnered with monster during the launch of lumia 800(2011) now in 2012 they have a deal with JBL ... so all in all nokia have several partners in the audio department ..... choice is good no? plus every one asking about dolby vs beats ... some should compare dolby on Nokia N9 or the 808 PureView vs Beats on htc One X.... i think that wud give us an idea of what to expect from the lumias n the HTCs
  • Monster owns beats.
  • And Monster is making the New Nokia Headphones.. 
  • The sound enhancement is nice, though I am probably going to go with the 920, the amp in the 8X is appealing, but I think the 920 with wireless charging and the "better" camera (remains to be seen) plus the exclusive apps (Nokia Music for example) are what sways me. But the 8X has made me think and I will have to look at both before deciding fully I think.
  • What the hell happen to the monster sound purity HD?? So why Dolby now is the one being mentioned?
  • Monster and Dolby are already partners. Dolby does the sound tuning, Monster is the hardware.
  • Yes my Phone is my Primary Audio source.
    Currently I have a Samsung Focus Unlocked on T-mobile.
    I work 8 hours and I'm all the time constantly listening to Either music or Podcasts (Joe Rogan Experience, Duncan Trussel, DeathSquad). So At work I use Sennhiser MX365 Earbuds, which sounds great for the price. Off Work my main weapon(headphones) of choice are my Sennheiser HD25-1 ii.
    With that said, I'm still gunning for the 8X, if it's the only phone coming to T-Mobile. If both phones become available It looks like I'll have to take my headphones and compare the sound quality of the Nokia with 8X to see which one sounds best. Both phones are Amazing, and IMO equally matched(like a ying/yang), but Dolby vs. Beats sound quality is going to decide my purchase. I'm gonna be keeping an out of on all information until released on this category.  
  • I've got a set of headphones based on the "Dolby Headphones" technology that are advertised to be 7.1 audio. the sounds fair, you can tell direction a little bit, but I own multi-speaker surround headphones as well and it pales in comparison to those
  • So does bring surround sound to 920? Does it support lossless audio? If it does, there goes your 32GB, in case you have a collection of lossless audio like me.
  • I wanted more than 32gb for music and a good audio experience, hopefully Beats and Dolby deliver even better. The only reason I wanted more space is to fit all my music. I have to convert to a lower bit rate which is barely bearable to get most of what I regularly listen to on my 900.
  • Gapless playback to me would be more important than these sound enhancements.
  • I am a bit skeptical here. IMHO the only system that is really worth it in terms of sound enhancements and not distorting the sound is SRS WOW present in older HTC phones (Incredible S to name). Neither Dolby nor Beats were close to the quality of that. That's the only thing that makes me to still keep my old HTC and using it as walkman.
  • My biggest gripe with Windows Phone is it's lack of any EQ settings or custom sound enhancments, since I use my Samsung Focus as  my primary music device. Having such an awesome service like Zune Pass, and not having any way to make the music you love sound the way you want, besides headphones, is very annoying and I've gone back and forth to Android because of it.   
  • Did anybody notice the CYAN L920 in the pic?
  • I'm using my windows phone as my full time music, podcast, radio, and audio book player. The problem I have now is that the onboard amp on my Toshiba WP is quiet on higher end headphones, and the speaker isn't that great. Sometimes volume level one is not quiet at all. I want the Lumia for the camera, color, and Nokia only features, but the HTC 8X has me wanting its Beats audio and amp and hot yellow-green color.
  • Well dolbi audio is the same as beats so take that one from HTC.
  • I won't be standing in any lines or whatever, but the Lumia 920 will be mine. I'll be upgrading from the HTC Titan, no real complaints about it, it still works fine. I've enjoyed being unimpressed with the iPhone 5 as it didn't even outperform my Titan. Now when I get the Lumia 920 I can demonstrate smartphone OS dominance.
  • If it sounds anything like the Dolby enhancement already on my HD7 then the 8X will surely win in the sound department
  • Better then beats Nokia is the best money can by and that's a fact
  • The sound processing on my old Zune was always superior to my apple products, like the ipod and iphone, but my Samsung Focus S is a tad disappointing from a sound quality standpoint. I want decent audio quality, even if it costs a tad more, but I'm not talking about bundling different headphones. I want a better audio processor. 
  • Lets just hope they inlcude better headphoens than what came with the Lumia 800. Those headphones were rubbish, even the Lumia 610 had a better pair...Sony always bundled the best headphoens with their phones
  • Who uses them anyway?
  • I agree, worse headphones on lumia 800
  • who uses their phone as their main music player? (not intended to offend anyone)
  • Hmm. MANY MANY people.
  • Thats terrible. Why not buy a dedicated music player. With a phone that runs apps, gets data, location maps and email pushes, why overload the device? No wonder battery life be so crappy now a days.
  • My phone replaced my Zune, and is actually what caused me to even look at a windows phone in the first place. Its my sole music and podcasting device, so more storage space would be nice.
  • Anyone knows why Nokia music sounds so terrible?
  • Is this Dolby integration a software solution or is it done by implementing a hardware solution? If the letter should be the case why can Nokia what HTC can't (because of driver implenting issues)? If the former why should the Dolby way be noticably better the HTC way with Beats?
  • After seeing an article on here regarding the Nokia custom audio equalizer settings, this make my Lumia 900 even more sad (as well as my Purity HD headphones)
    If my Lumia 900 had an equalizer setting like similar to Beats Audio or this Dolby thing then i'd be a happy man content with my phone for now...  Always the way isnt it?
  • Honestly, this seems very very appeasing to me, almost making me want to go with the Lumia 920 when I have the money, but I still am leaning towards the HTC 8X. Why in the right mind would I do that you say? Well... Because for an everyday smartphone user like me, I don't give a crap about all those other features really. Screen, cool, but I don't care. 3 different mics... Also cool, but really... I don't care. However, what I do care about the most is both the camera and audio; HOWEVER, this is a big however, music is my top priority. I am an audio-whore to put it in a kind way. So, audio will make this a huge deal for me, although the lumia's camera is obviously better, the HTC's is quite acceptably nice. The HTC 8X seems more affordable also. Now, why I'm saying I'm not sure about Lumia's audio is because HTC actually put two different amplifiers for the 8X. That is amazing, and personally, I don't care about apps and quality customer service because I had an LG Optimus 7... Shitty low screen specs to many of you, shitty camera, shitty everything... But I loved it. Simple, strong, and satisfied my music craving, and I didn't care about the customer service because I never really used it. So in the end, HTC 8X because it is affordable, and can satisfy my music craving and has an awesome speaker on the back of the phone where as the Lumia pretty much drains my wallet... I live in Canada, so getting a contract with a shitty carrier like Bell or Telus is not an option for me lool Fido all the way.
  • That's all well and good. Except that my HD7's power output fairly buries my new 920's, Dolby or no Dolby. As in my HD7 at level 19 would drown out the 920 at level 30. And would play cleanly of course.
    This may sound insignificant, but try hearing your music over a louder engine on a freeway when you can barely hear it while idling in a garage. Big part of my phone choice is ability to listen on the move. And two days into my 920 ownership, I'm back carrying my HD7 along with my 920 everywhere I go. Not cool.