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Beats audio, no real difference
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Old 01/17/2012, 07:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So I heard a lot of hub ub about beats audio on devices: really bringing out great audio quality and what not but I've been using my touchpad every morning to listen my music on my commute and I can't say I'm impressed. To be honest I don't hear a difference at all. I've toggles the beats audio on and off to see if I can hear a difference and I can't. And I am not using cheap head phones by any means.

So you think it's something wrong with my device or is beats audio not what it's cracked up to be?

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Old 01/17/2012, 08:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Beats Audio = scam.
It's just an expensive digital equalizer.
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Old 01/17/2012, 10:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am not convinced turning it off does.

Last edited by Awats; 01/17/2012 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 01/17/2012, 02:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by inertia1 View Post
Beats Audio was touted, around here, during the wait for the TP but was hardly mentioned after the launch. That should tell you something.
Most of us don't feel like paying over $200 for a set of Beats headphones just to get the experience. The sound on the TouchPad coming through the speakers is excellent. The speakers and bluetooth audio from the device don't use Beats (to my understanding) so toggling it on or off doesn't make a different if you get your sound from anything other then the headphone jack.

Is it a scam? The jury is still out on that one. To me it is because of the price of the headphones, but then I'm the same person who won't pay twice as much for a computer just to get a fruit logo on it. I also don't go gaga anymore for a set of monster speaker cables, Bose speakers, white headphones, or stand in line for a cell phone.
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Old 01/17/2012, 02:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've had to turn beats audio off on all my Touchpads so that we can understand each other when using Skype. Honestly, can anyone really tell the difference when it is on or off?
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Old 01/17/2012, 02:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by k4ever View Post
Most of us don't feel like paying over $200 for a set of Beats headphones just to get the experience. The sound on the TouchPad coming through the speakers is excellent. The speakers and bluetooth audio from the device don't use Beats (to my understanding) so toggling it on or off doesn't make a different if you get your sound from anything other then the headphone jack.

Is it a scam? The jury is still out on that one. To me it is because of the price of the headphones, but then I'm the same person who won't pay twice as much for a computer just to get a fruit logo on it. I also don't go gaga anymore for a set of monster speaker cables, Bose speakers, white headphones, or stand in line for a cell phone.
Needing "special headphones" is a scam right there. Any quality pair of headphones should be able to pick up any "improvements" made by Beats Audio.
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Old 01/17/2012, 02:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Needing "special headphones" is a scam right there. Any quality pair of headphones should be able to pick up any "improvements" made by Beats Audio.
That's my thoughts exactly. I will admit that the sound on the TouchPad is excellent when compared to other mobile devices. I get a lot of complements for how good the sound is on the device, especially from laptop owners. My wife uses her's at work to play music for her crew. So I'm not knocking the sound on the TouchPad. However, the sound is excellent with Beats turned off so I don't see the reason to pay $200 just to get a set of Beats headphones, unless you want to look fashionable.
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Old 01/17/2012, 04:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If beats is just a digital equalizer the change may not be noticeable during certain songs. As in, it's not a bass boost but a subtle mids drops or treble increase etc.

If it's a separate processing path then you'd only hear the difference if you're playing a certain type of file with a certain type of quality. Even then you'd probably need certain kinds of headphones and really accurate hearing to notice it.

It was my understanding going in the Beats branding had more to do with the digital to analog path to the headphones/speakers than it did with software.

In any case, it does not matter since the Beats branding didn't help sales, or cause the price of the TP to be higher than any other tablet without the beats branding.

If someone wants to experiment:
Turn off all radios and processes.
Repeat 1 song until the battery dies. Do this with Beats on and off. Record file type and recording quality. Repeat with the same song and a variety of file types and recording qualities. If beats uses a separate code or digitizer path there may be a difference in battery life. After running this experiment any unexpected power fluctuations should be noticeable.

Instead of waiting for the battery to die I think Govnah's power monitor would work.
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Old 01/17/2012, 04:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by laoh View Post
Beats Audio = scam.
It's just an expensive digital equalizer.
It's not a digital equalizer. It is supposed to be a rewiring of the sound system. Still not worth it if you have to pay $200 additional to realize its potential.

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Old 01/17/2012, 05:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A little off topic.

I'm curious, just throwing this out there.

Could the audio problem that continues on the TP,

might have something to do with Beats Audio?

Maybe test with not using beats, and see if the problem is still present.

Just a thought…

Last edited by shoutcastR; 01/17/2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 01/17/2012, 05:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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@shoutcaster: that is a good point. I will see if the the audio problem goes away now that I turned off beats audio.

In regards to beats as a whole, I can honestly say that I don't hear a blessed difference. None. I am listening through a pair of over the ear sennheisers and I classify myself as an audiophile and I don't hear anything. And for people to tout that the audio on the touchpad is better then most devices is a little hard for me to digest. I have a Windows phone 7. It lacks and EQ and it hated it the sound. After using my touchpad, then listening to the audio out of my phone again, the phone sounds more full. I will agree, the beats audio is a scam. Didn't like the headphones and def don't like it anywhere else.

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Old 01/17/2012, 06:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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All I know is the audio quality from the onboard speakers is impressive. Better than I would have expected from a tablet.
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Old 01/17/2012, 07:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Honis View Post
If it's a separate processing path then you'd only hear the difference if you're playing a certain type of file with a certain type of quality. Even then you'd probably need certain kinds of headphones and really accurate hearing to notice it.
Thank you!

Beats is a separation of the audio path from the TP circuitry. Any such design in any device would - in theory - result in a cleaner sound due to better separation of noise and signal. Any familiarity w/ recording and/or recording studio equipment would attest to that (pls do not reply that you didnt buy your TP for studio work... I didnt either). That one is unable to discern such differences is due to any number of factors: headphones, monitors, wiring, source material, source quality, age, hearing, etc. The ordinary, non-beats audio path, if it is in fact switchable, may also be of good quality, not allowing for noticeable differences in sound (in which case HP/Palm should have left out beats altogether). Expensive cans is no indicator; there are lots of overpriced speakers that arent worth you know what (hello, Bose!).

Furthermore, an inability to differentiate is beside the point and our disappointment is strictly our problem. It does not necessarily mean that the logic or science behind it is unsound or that you've been had. What it may mean is:
  • that our application is wrong - using dirty or compressed audio to begin w/. Try lossless.
  • that our understanding of the technology is a bit off
  • that we're not being honest - can we even distinguish between 192 and 360kbps compression rates on the same path?
  • we're not audiophiles
  • we got into this w/ wild expectations - possibly w/ some bragging rights in mind - and reality is biting us hard

Now Im not being apologetic. I absolutely abhor Monster and everything they stand for. Im quite familiar w/ their products and marketing hype (as a DJ many moons ago) and I know of their tricks used on display/demo units in stores everywhere. Dre... nothing personal; just not a fan. HP... well, who doesn't hate HP right now? And not just for what they did to Palm. I have a long bittersweet not-so-bitter relationship w/ them over the their policies, designs, hardware quality, among other things. They were pretty much on my boycott list.

My point is simple: we write things off for the simplest of reasons. Phone falls 3', glass shatters: that gorilla glass is bogus! They should call it chimp glass instead. Weak 4G in the area: this phone is cr4p; Im buying an 'iPhone 4G'
Now we're pining over what is undoubtedly one of the most complex sciences: sound. There are any number of physical factors that can affect sound, and in the end, even if everything else was equal, it would still some down to the listener.

As a final point (and future case in point) I'll put $$ down that HTC owners will be saying the same things in months to come. There will be those who, w/o insulated listening rooms (i.e. the commute to work), proper equipment (Koss headphones w/ tungsten leads) or decent source (96kbps MP3s), will profess that the tech is a scam. Asus recently announced an x79 Rampage IV motherboard w/ similar isolated audio path. I'd hate to think that they're now on the scamming game because Im in the market for a new board.

moral of the story: some reading and then pseudo-scientific research must be in order before we complain.

Last edited by p41m3r; 01/17/2012 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 01/17/2012, 08:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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@p41m3r

Well done with your post. I knew it was more than a digital equalizer. I was a big audiophile and wasted thousands of dollars in my youth on sound equipment for my barracks room (apartment) and car (being single without children or responsibilities had some perks). I've owned Bose 301s and 901s, Kenwood and Yahama decks, Monster cabled everything, and even installed those inline cross over filters to get the right frequency out of my tweeters, mids, and sub-woofers.

All that expensive stuff in a quest to get the best sound possible. How the artist intended it to be (like the Beats phrase). A waste of money. The equivalent of spending $3000 to get a 10% power increase out of your import car's engine. Too much money for so little gain.

I will say this for HP and Beats:

The technology was added to the TouchPad without an extra charge and no one is forcing anyone at gun point to buy the headphones.

So I guess after realizing that there is really nothing else left to complain about.
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Old 01/17/2012, 09:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm using my HP Touchpad right now with a pair of earbuds that happened to be lying on my desk. I played and listened to Valve's Portal 2 Robots FTW, and while it played I toggled the option to turn Beats Audio On/Off in the audio settings menu. I payed close attention to the strong beats in the soundtrack and found that when Beats Audio is turned on, the music is slightly louder, and the strong beats in the music becomes fuller and actually does increase and become deeper in terms of the bass of the music and the earbuds. When Beats Audio is turned off, the bass is significantly less, and the music is slightly softer. So, Beats Audio does make a difference, however only in terms of music with beats or use lots of bass.
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Old 01/17/2012, 09:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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with considerable experience using high end audio systems, I find the sound from the HPTP & Veer the best I have heard in a mobile system ...the Veer's onboard speaker is more for voice than music
the onboard speakers in the HPTP has even brought praise from ardent Apple-istas & with top drawer ear buds the HPTP delivers wonderful sound, though really works best with a small boost from a dedicated amp
Beats Audio made a clear improvement to my ears, even for classical music, but I am a bit of a philistine when it comes to sound
I haven't yet tried any of the Beats phones though
quite content with my Audio Technicas & the unique RF3 ENVi Natural Wood buds which can be found in the WebOs Store
this design minimizes electromagnetic energy exposure to your vital bits, which may be important, particularly if you use them a great deal & especially if you are young
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Old 01/17/2012, 10:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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For those that care about what EXACTLY Beats Audio is, engadget did a really solid scientific analysis of the HTC Sensation with Beats. It is an EQ with a low/high end boost and flat in the mid (like a cartoon camel with two humps) that is actually specifically designed to work with the Beats headphones for optimum sound.
HTC Sensation XE with Beats Audio review -- Engadget

As it turns out, it seems like it does work as promised with the specific headphones that you can easily purchase for $300, but, they also tag it as a gimmick that could be replicated by audiophiles with an EQ app...
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Old 01/18/2012, 11:06 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I removed the increase volume patch and the quality of sound really improved, don't know about the Beats, worth a try....

seems the bad speaker sound may have several triggers, so far, I am happy it is back to normal and sounding real good...

laterzzzz.........
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Old 01/18/2012, 12:19 PM   #19 (permalink)
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@P41m3r,

Well written. As a former pro musician, I am in agreement with 99% of what you said. The only disagreement is where Bose speakers are concerned. I have a T20 Home Theater System. It has some of the best sound that I have heard. Not necessarily from a technical stand point, but from pure listening enjoyment.

Now that I have that off of my chest, I'll get back on subject. I have a Sony MDR-32 headset. I listened to several songs with Beats on and off. The only difference was as stated earlier, the music was a bit louder and the bass was a bit fuller. So, there is a slight difference.
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Old 01/18/2012, 03:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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So I went to Beats Audio page and clicked on the laptop image which took me to the HP site. It says:

You'll never listen to digital music the same way again now that HP and Beats by Dre™ have partnered to create these studio-inspired, heart-pumping, computer speakers. Finally, you can hear your favorite artists the way they want to be heard.

Features:
-Redesigned headphone jack to reduce
ground noise
-Discrete amplifier for more power
-Dedicated audio island to minimize fan
noise interference.-Function + B to engage Beats Audio™

You decide how much difference this means in a phone, tablet, or a laptop with its tinny speakers and factory stamped internal circuitry.

If you want a decent pair of headphones, try Sony MDR-V6.
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