HTC One M8 vs One M9 BoomSound: In-depth speaker comparison

When HTC announced the One M9 back in March, it became apparent that the company chose to only add incremental upgrades to its smartphone (excluding the 180 degree turn it took with its camera philosophy, placing a 20 MP sensor and removing the duo-camera module). The changes that can be found, naturally, include a hardware bump up to the 64-bit flagship SoC from Qualcomm – the Snapdragon 810, an upgrade in RAM and battery capacity, and the implementation of the UltraPixel technology for the frontal cam of the phone. Aesthetically, it got its bezels reduced and now comes in three different finishes, adding a fresh look to its hull. And while the One M9 sports BoomSound speakers, just like the M8 before it, HTC didn't say much about them – do they sound the same, or has there been a change?

Now, back at the MWC showfloor, we managed to make a quick improvised comparison test between the two handsets and, while it showed that they do sound just slightly different, the conditions were not perfect for us to be able to draw final conclusions on the matter.

Well, now that we have both phones in hand and in our office – we were able to tinker with them to our heart's content, and have come up with a test environment to record both handsets' audio performance and post it up for you.

We chose a song with plenty of acoustic instruments (drums, acoustic guitars, fretless bass, piano, et cetera) for this test and loaded it up on both phones. For each recording, we placed our microphone about 2” from the center of the currently used smartphone, both facing each other, of course. In the slideshow below, you can hear a recording, which constantly switches back and forth from M8 to M9 (slide 1), as well as listen to the separate recording for each phone (slides 2 and 3).

Interesting results here – sure, the two phones do sound similar, however, there is a distinct muddiness to the sound on the One M8, which is especially noticed when it is compared to its successor. The One M9 sounds more “polished”, and alludes to a more “boomy” sound, without muddying it up. Let's take a look at a spectrum analyzer and see what's going on here.

There you have it, folks. Numbers, graphics, and analytics aside - we'd say that the new One M9 sounds slightly more pleasing to our ears in a live scenario. The loudspeakers are probably not the driving reason that one should upgrade for, but is certainly a plus that one should consider.

So, after you gave both recordings a listen, which phone did you like better?

Story timeline

Related phones

One (M8)
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(20h 3G talk time)
One M9
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 4 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2840 mAh(21.7h 3G talk time)



1. hellbread

Posts: 309; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

Finaly some article that is not about Lg G4.

5. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Well it is a new release so it makes sense for them to talk about it. After all this is a tech website....

6. hellbread

Posts: 309; Member since: Nov 21, 2014

I know, it was a joke. :-)

2. limporgyuk

Posts: 371; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Anyone that criticises boom sound hasn't heard it. It's in a class all on its own, HTC won't compromise on boomsound and nor should they.

8. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Honestly, I would get M9 in a heart beat if wasn't for me having Z2 already. I'll wait one more year to get an HTC. The BoomSound is pure awesome. My gf has M8 and that thing is loud and clear.

3. newbey123

Posts: 702; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

Best sound it the industry!

4. waddup121 unregistered

Best sound, but was expecting a little more improvements. oh wells

7. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Even if it sounds amazing, BoomSound isn't worth those enormous bezels...

10. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

Actually, I think it is. Just like the fact that the physics of a traditional camera point to the fact that thin smartphones will never be DSLR like. In the physics department, you win some and you lose some.

16. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

but at least they can remove that HTC logo to make more space for screen or make that phone smaller

12. vergil9

Posts: 517; Member since: Apr 06, 2015

Top and bottom bezels are kinda fine as long as they are not empty spaces. Have you actually heard them perform in real life?

9. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

It is fine to have nice speaker audio, but unfortunately htc has developed something more, then just the good intention of good speakers for phones. Namely a ton of people blaring out music movies and whatnot everywhere with their phones, being annoying to heck and back. Adding a ton more noise to the public space, that can be more then a little annoying.

14. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

I use BoomSound a lot, but I only use it in my house and not in public space (unless, of course, it's a party where my friends ask me to blast music from the phone). I think HTC does not create the problem. I think it's society itself that creates self-centered people who don't know the appropriate time and place to use phone speakers. People blast music from their phones to get attention, not because some OEM produce phones with good speakers. Your variable correlation is questionable.

15. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well what you say is true. However I would say it is also true that if the speakers weren't small portalbe and delivered decent sound, they wouldn't use it. But yes, the fundamental problem is self-centered people, which I must admit I have absolutely no idea how to solve, since current society seems to promote being self centered or so it seems at times.

11. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

i can't wait to get myself an m9. after selling my m8, i don't regret being phoneless for a few months since i can't afford the m9 at full price at launch. it's worth every penny

13. Commandant

Posts: 30; Member since: Jan 31, 2015

You are absolutely right. I have bought 2 M9s, one for myself and one for my wife. Every tiny detail of the M9 is mind blowing. Save more and buy it soon, it worth every dime

17. mostafawael.1998

Posts: 241; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

I am an ex-S6 user who bought the M9 recently and i can assure you that it is totally worth it! Every single detail in the build metal is quite awesome! Those BoomSound speakers are a game changer. And in headphones, u will be literally blown away!!

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