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Android sound quality differs between local and downloaded music

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Android sound quality differs between local and downloaded music

I switched to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 a few months ago and have since been generally pleased with my sound quality through my headphones. However, and I noticed this on my last phone too, the overall volume seems to be quieter and some of the levels are really weird such that vocals are muffled/quiet compared to backing instrumentals. This only seems to be a problem on my phone, and is less of an issue on the Note 3 compared to my old phone.

 

Additionally, the volume of my tracks tends to be much quieter on my phone compared to using the same headphones on my laptop. When riding the bus/train I have to turn the volume up quiet a bit and even then it sounds very empty/flat compared to my laptop/desktop spotify app.

 

Finally, I experimented for the first time syncing some local files onto my phone and the quality/volume/mix on those tracks is appreciablly better compared to the downloaded tracks. I have download quality set to "Extreme" and I've turned the equalizer "off" but I just can't get the same quality/volume out of my downloaded tracks. These same tracks on the desktop app have no volume/quality difference that I can percieve.

 

TLDNR: "Local" tracks synced to my phone are (1) louder, (2) more dynamic, and (3) better quality overal compared to "Extreme Quality" downloaded tracks. By comparison, downloaded tracks sound (1) quiet, (2) flat, and (3) lack bass tones. Using the same headphones on the desktop app there is no perceivable difference between local and downloaded content. Spotify EQ is off and no other EQ is running (that I know of).

 

Device Details:

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Android Version 4.3 Jelly Bean

Spotify Version 0.7.6.357

Headphones - Bose AE2

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There isn't which is why I think you might be experiencing the volume changes. Unfortunately there is no volume normalization in the mobile or tablets apps (it's one of my pet hates about Spotify!).

Peter
Spotify Community Mentor and Troubleshooter

Spotify Last.FM Twitter LinkedIn Meet Peter Rock Star Jam 2014


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On the desktop app do you have "Set same volume level for all tracks" enabled in Edit/Spotify > Preferences?

Peter
Spotify Community Mentor and Troubleshooter

Spotify Last.FM Twitter LinkedIn Meet Peter Rock Star Jam 2014


If this post was helpful, please add kudos below!

On my desktop I do have "Set the same volume level for all tracks" enabled. Is there a similar option for the android app? I can't seem to find one...

Marked as solution

There isn't which is why I think you might be experiencing the volume changes. Unfortunately there is no volume normalization in the mobile or tablets apps (it's one of my pet hates about Spotify!).

Peter
Spotify Community Mentor and Troubleshooter

Spotify Last.FM Twitter LinkedIn Meet Peter Rock Star Jam 2014


If this post was helpful, please add kudos below!

huh, that really is annoying.

 

Anything I could do to improve the quality of the sound for the downloaded tracks? They seriously lack punch in the lows and are really flat. I appreciated the difference before, but now listening to a local file back-to-back with a downloaded file the difference is night and day. Also, this quality difference is really apparent when played over a car stereo using the Aux input. My wife has a much better ear than I do and she often complains that songs "don't sound right" when played through my spotify mobile app.

 

On one occasion we listened to an "extreme quality" downloaded track over the car stereo and then played the same track off a CD and the difference was impressive. The songs are flat, or the mix is just wrong causing vocals to be drowned out by normally quiet backing tracks.

Do you have any EQs or audio effects active on the android device?

Peter
Spotify Community Mentor and Troubleshooter

Spotify Last.FM Twitter LinkedIn Meet Peter Rock Star Jam 2014


If this post was helpful, please add kudos below!

I turned the Spotify EQ off and that seemed to help a little. Messing with the EQ settings while using my headphones I still felt like the overall volume was quiet. I'd read that the EQ doesn't work very well, so I opted to turn it off.

 

I also saw some posts about volume changes while listening to songs and I haven't had any issue where the volume suddenly got dangerously loud, but I have had a few random occasions where mid-track the quality seems to improve on a downloaded song. It's as if it was muffled and someone took the cotton out of my ears. Again, not just a super loud spike in volume, but boosts to bass and dynamics that I perceived as generally louder.

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