Samsung Galaxy S5 Audio Testing

Compared to the HTC One M8, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a worse audio system. It only puts out around 20% of the wattage of the HTC One M8, making it less likely to be able to drive every headphone to a reasonable level. The THD+N on the 15 Ohm load is lower with the Samsung, but it is putting out half the power and under a quarter of the watts of the HTC One M8. If you drop the HTC One M8 down a single volume level it will still be far more powerful but likely have lower THD+N.

Dynamic Range is almost identical between the two phones, and close enough that you will not hear a difference. Crosstalk is a major difference as the Samsung is -20 dB worse here than the HTC One M8. You are likely to hear sound from one channel in the other ear. This can reduce the size of the stereo image and present the music as being more unfocused.

The relative level is better on the Samsung but I don’t think anyone will be able to hear the difference between the two.

  15 Ohm 33 Ohm 150 Ohm 330 Ohm
Dynamic Range 91.877 dB 91.921 dB 92.113 dB 91.985 dB
THD+N 0.1457% 0.0505% 0.0102% 0.0103%
Crosstalk (L) -38.347 dB -44.767 dB -57.666 dB -64.503 dB
Crosstalk (R) -38.329 dB -44.804 dB -57.704 dB -64.485 dB
Output Power 22.31 mW 10.63 mW 2.602 mW 1.194 mW
Output Voltage 577.3 mVrms 592.4 mVrms 624.7 mVrms 627.8 mVrms
Relative Level (20Hz - 20kHz) ±0.081 dB ±0.081 dB ±0.082 dB ±0.082 dB


Compared to the HTC, the THD+N on the S5 is much higher. Whereas the HTC only passes 0.2% around 20kHz, the S5 is past 0.25% for the entire time on the stepped frequency sweep. The Right channel shows higher THD+N values than the left channel, while the HTC is identical in both channels. I checked the graph for every impedance load and they all look identical to this so it isn’t an error in measurement.

Unlike the HTC, the frequency response of the Galaxy S 5 is flat out to 20kHz. It has the same meaningless drop at 20Hz as well. Again I don’t think anyone will hear the difference, but the Samsung is better.

This chart shows that the S5 favors odd-order distortion over even-order distortion. The 2nd and 4th harmonics are below -90dB and -100dB respectively, while the 3rd and 5th order harmonics are each over 20dB higher. Most people find odd-order distortion harsher than even-order distortion.


Unlike the HTC One M8, there are no sound modes to play around with in the Galaxy S 5. With these two flagship phones for 2014, the HTC One M8 is packing the superior audio system. Is has a more powerful amplifier at all levels, lower crosstalk, and lower THD+N. The relative frequency response is worse but not by an audible amount.

The HTC One M8 will be more versatile by supporting a wider selection of headphones at more listening levels. There will be headphones that the Samsung is not able to drive to reasonable listening levels that the HTC One M8 will have no issues with.

HTC One M8 Audio Testing
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  • lessthanjoey - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    Wait, what? What about these imperfections is even audible?
  • zShowtimez - Friday, June 6, 2014 - link

    Plug your phone into a decent mid to high end speaker set up. Its so easy to hear the difference. It's part of the reason i went with my htc one over a galaxy s4

    Similar issue with onboard audio vs a discreet card imo
  • Streamlined - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    Well, it's official. According to hard data and not just opinion, the HTC One kicks the Galaxy S5's butt. If there is one group in the tech world that purchases inferior hardware due to marketing hype, it's Samsung fans.
  • hero4hire - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    But just Samsung fans... No other group in the entire world. Nope. Just the Samsung fans. Not a single purchase is bought elsewhere due to hype. Previous comment is not baiting. There is only HTC and Samsung and the best marketing in history is the most beloved and most popular Samsung company. It's official that nobody would try to invoke some other company to compare to the best marketing that is Samsung. No arguments here, Streamlined is 100% wanting to keep us focused on HTC & Samsung.
  • theduckofdeath - Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - link

    Yup, because the camera in the HTC phone is a technical marvel. :)
  • Jimster480 - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    It actually is. Wait until you take a picture in an almost dark room and it comes out perfect. Or if you are in a pitch black area and you take a picture with the flash and it is 100% clear. or you take a picture in a low light resturant and its clean. Or a pic at a concert and its got mid range lighting at best and its clear aswell! I have found the camera to be great in almost all lighting scenarios. Now it doesn't take as beautiful pictures as my EVO 4G LTE did in bright lighting, but its pretty close, and considering how many other scenarios the camera is useful in, the pro's far outweigh the cons.
  • theduckofdeath - Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - link

    It's an extremely limited camera, made for one of the least common usage scenarios. For everything else, it's far below average.
  • The1Metallian - Friday, June 6, 2014 - link

    I have a GS3 and I'm ready for an upgrade. I would buy the HTC M8 in a heartbeat, but the camera broke the deal. I don't expect the camera to be DSLR quality but at least up to par with any other smartphone in the market. I want to know that wherever I am I will be able to take a good picture if needed. The Sony Experia Z2 won't be subsidized by any provider. What am I left with? (don't say iPhone) If the LG G3 doesn't deliver when released, I'm getting the GS5. Samsung competitors need to get a clue
  • Jimster480 - Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - link

    The camera is actually not bad at all. I'm not sure why everyone hates on it, but it takes great pictures in basically every lighting. And the quality is more than enough for any type of social sharing...
  • gevorg - Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - link

    What about jitter?

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