Android musicians: Lollipop update for the Galaxy S5 finally reduces audio latency. Vanilla Android 5.0 - not so much

Android musicians: Lollipop update for the Galaxy S5 finally reduces audio latency. Vanilla Android 5.0 - not so much
A few months ago, Samsung did something impressive with the software in its newest Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge devices – it reduced the latency in real-time audio processing to a usable pace, which has most definitely peaked the interest of musicians around the globe. Audio processing and the ability to hook up your mobile device to become a music-creating rig has been an iOS-exclusive territory for some 5 years now, as Android has been notorious to delivering huge delays between input and actual audio output – something that greatly cripples any attempt to play music through a device.

What Samsung did was – it developed a special audio driver, which minimizes audio latency and allows the mobile device to be connected to a 3rd party audio interface (a piece of external hardware, needed to connect to a specific audio rig). The effort was backed up by IK Multimedia – the company that has been spearheading the creation of musician-oriented software and hardware for iOS since 2010 – which released its Amplitube guitar processing app and an iRig interface to work with Sammy's devices.

Back then, the official info on the new audio features promised that the “Professional audio system” driver will be coming to other top-end Galaxy devices – meaning the Note 3 and Galaxy S5 – and it seems it'll be arriving to handsets with the Lollipop update. Indeed, Galaxy S5 owners, who have installed the latest firmware from Samsung can now enjoy minimum audio latency on their handset and go ahead and jam anywhere and anytime. Sadly, the Note series are yet to get their upgrade to the newest software.

And what of the rest of Android devices? Well, Google has been promising to work on audio latency issues for quite a while now – Lollipop was supposed to take care of this issue, or at least address it in some way. But, apparently, it has yet to deliver, as can be seen in the second video below.


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9 Comments

1. maddy996

Posts: 120; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

Now Sammy is working even harder than before... luv the competition

2. Cicero

Posts: 1100; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Sometimes it is not only about plastic. It is about how useful it is your handset.

4. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Sammy blows away any android competition.

3. iushnt

Posts: 3020; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

The sliding profits are forcing them to innovate..

5. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Idk why it's so hard for Google to fix this issue & many others. Apple is boring but at least it's reliable.

6. buccob

Posts: 2942; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yeap... I just installed Caustic on my Z3C and there is latency alright... I am not a Musician but I will recommend the Galaxy S5 or Note 4 to my musician friends.

7. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Ok, it's nice, but not really usable as Android has no good music apps, iOS is clear winner in that department and I doubt that big names will start making apps like Cubasis, Auria or KORG Gadget for Android where only few Samsung devices can run it how they should.

8. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Can someone explain the actual, practical advantages of lower latency? I'm not trolling, just curious why audio latency is such a big problem...

9. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Playing on real piano when you hit a key you heard a sound instantly. Latency mean you heard it 1 or X second later. Latency affect the musician ability to play the score correctly. Good to know the Samsung is working with third party vendor to optimize the audio path. Samsung recent Exyno device are really fantastic for people that expect more than just basic audio.

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