Samsung may equip the Galaxy S7 with a top-shelf ESS audio chip

Samsung may equip the Galaxy S7 with a top-shelf ESS audio chip
The Galaxy S7 is shaping up to be a monster of a handset, if all the recent tips and leaks are to be believed. The reason we are getting so much info that early in the game is that Samsung's next flagship could be announced as soon as January, as the company has reportedly shortened the development cycle through some new project management techniques.

We already heard that the Galaxy S7 may come with a magnesium frame and glass front and back, which would be a design close to the current iteration. Three processor versions - Exynos 8890, 7422, and Snapdragon 820 - are also bandied about, depending on the region, as is a 20 MP ISOCELL camera, and a USB Type-C connector. All pretty believable specs for 2016, too. Where things get somewhat murky are the rumored premium versions and subversions, as both 5.2" and 5.7" screens have been tipped, up to 4K resolutions, and a curved screen is thrown into the mix from the rumor mill for a good measure.

The latest on the Galaxy S7 now, is that the phone will come equipped with a top-shelf digital-to-analog converter (DAC), hinting that Samsung might place a bigger emphasize on audio and music with the handset. The DAC in question is said to be one other than the ESS SABRE 9018AQ2M - one of the most potent audio chips for mobile applications, while the brand is found in some "Hi-fi" phones from makers such as Meizu or Vivo.

Samsung is no stranger to high quality audio chips in its phones, as it's been using Wolfson DACs for a while now, so it's not clear what real difference an ESS-equipped Galaxy S7 would make in the audio capabilities of its phones. Perhaps the rumors that it might partner with Jay-Z's Tidal music service, which prides itself in streaming lossless high-fidelity tunes, may have some merit, after all. For those interested, check out the SABRE 9018AQ2M specs below.


source: ESS & MyDrivers (translated)

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59 Comments

55. jessyi

Posts: 327; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

The LG V10 already has a HI-Fi chip with the best sound quality so far on any smartphone.

52. jdrch

Posts: 107; Member since: Jul 08, 2014

Hope they equip it with microSD & removable battery while they're at it.

49. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Audio in premium phones has been completely neglected in last years. All eyes were on cameras. I hope it's time to include a pair of high end earphones with full physical control buttons.

48. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

Sounds good. I would be interested in a 5.7" version. I wish they'd make a Windows Mobile version as well (just for those few of us who actually prefer that UI).

44. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

What would be cool is if they could put SoundBlaster audio into their phones. Please Samsung, put a better headphone jack into the phone. The headphone jack is terrible, unless you hook amplified speakers to it. Using headphones it is just not loud enough at 50% volume. I wonder if they are planning a dual speaker design? Because that would ruin the phone. But the audio from the S/Note is crystal clear and the mic recording is top notch, unlike some overpriced phones. GS7 is shaping up to be spectacular.

33. TheGunnyPT

Posts: 252; Member since: Feb 12, 2015

All the pieces of the puzzle are now coming together, with the whole Tidal deal with Jay Z and now Hi Fi chip. Sounds like HTC is about to lose the "audio king in mobile " pretty soon... Of course it depends on S7 speakers.

29. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Haha... Look who's overreacting now! Come on, I just said that cause I read "Customisable Output Configuration" on the list. At which I thought one might be able to switch between a 5.1 and a 2.1 depending on the amplifiers or speakers ready for output. I recently bought a 2.1 speaker although I wanted to get a 5.1. I listen to music through my phone most of the time and have thought about the the perks of a 2.1 over 5.1 or 2.1 over 5.1... So, you know... Just a thought in my mind.

32. thebottomclef

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 21, 2015

2 speaker systems tend to be favored for music because of the soundstage that they create.

26. thebottomclef

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 21, 2015

The ess is great. I've got the ibasso dx90 DAP which uses at least a version of it and the sound is amazing. My one worry is if you add this on top of all the other new improvements, what's the battery life going to be like? The ibasso player gets a pretty heavy drain and my S6 edge has pretty terrible battery life as things stand right now.

17. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and stereo front speaker please.. (but maybe that wont go well with Galaxy design :-/ )

15. BobLawblaw unregistered

After having a z3, m9 and now a note 5 i can safely say the note is the best phone Ive ever listened to music on. Its sounds fantastic with my sennheisers..

12. mixedfish

Posts: 1573; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

More important is why won't Google fix their crap USB audio out drivers, even until now only Xperia Z2/Z3 on Kit Kat can output full audio bit-stream without upsampling for no reason to the connected devices maximum compatible rate.

8. Sidewinder

Posts: 515; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Samsung flagships always had better audio quality. My s4 has a wolfson WM51xx dac and it blows the competition in terms of audio output and quality. All it needs is the necessary drivers and v4a audio processor.

9. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Not the M8 my frnd

19. TyrionLannister unregistered

M8 has better speakers, not better audio.

25. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Haha these guys are such trolls.. Absolutely have no idea about what they're talking about.

6. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

if all rumours are true..."My precious" Exynos 8890 or SD820 with 3000+ mAh and 4gb RAM and dat 20MP camera at 28nm and fixed Ram mangement...yup, touching myself..

5. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

So damn, the gs7 will be a beast for sure. Good thing I haven't upgraded my phone yet. Maybe they will inceease the 4K recording to 10min thx to the new cpu? Who knows...

13. rishav20193

Posts: 243; Member since: Jul 18, 2015

can sm1 tell me, why is there a time limit for 4k recording at all in the first place ?

24. ninja_master

Posts: 306; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

To prevent overheating

27. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Its due to storage.

35. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

It's easy to override, if you're interested. Like others said, prevent storage from getting filled up.

54. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Storage mainly. And people freaking out about heat on their phones. My 1520 records much longer that 10mins on 4k recording.

4. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

Is that better than boomsound ?

7. Noonting

Posts: 135; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Everything is better than boomsound

18. TyrionLannister unregistered

It's like saying: Does a fish swims better than a bird flies. A speaker and a DAC have absolutely no correlation. Boomsound is speaker tech, this is internal sound tech.

34. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Quite informative posts dude...I think the built-in speaker needs a change rather than the sound card. The percentage of people who connect it to an external speaker system is very less. The sound from the built in stereo speakers of the first generation Moto G sounds much more better than flagship phone of every other brand than HTC....Even the phones from 5 years ago like Nokia 3250, Sony Ericsson W550i walkman sound better than the current generation flagships. All the brands are just bothered about keeping the noise to a really low amount and maximizing the output dB in their flagship but the built speakers(preferably 2 speakers) should be Stereo of top-notch quality for every flagship.

47. Subie

Posts: 2465; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

High end audio components in a phone are for those that will connect it to an external audio system or use high quality headphones. The tiny built in speakers on any phone aren't capable of truly showing what the tech (that this article is talking about) can do. It'd be like buying a $5,000 home theatre receiver and then connecting tiny $25 speakers to it.

51. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Are you happy with the built in speaker quality of current crop of flagships?

3. Chuck007

Posts: 1420; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Damn... hope all the rumours are true. Really looking forward to the GS7.

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