Android has a huge variety of settings and audio options, which can cause some confusion for those unfamiliar. Let’s agree that, at the very least, the audio settings are a little embarrassing. Therefore, we decided to gather the main commands, tips and information for those who want to become familiar with the Android sound system.
Audio basics on Android
When Android was launched, only one audio API existed, which means that there was only a single audio and volume control, which was not at all intuitive. Today, however, we can adjust numerous volumes individually, such as notifications, ring tones and system and application sounds. In fact, it is possible to do all this through the system’s quick shortcuts bar.
Manufacturers can add support for other codecs and audio formats, although this practice is less common today. Thus, new phones tend to offer the same support that is offered by more basic models.
Acronyms and terms of audios
There is nothing worse than getting lost in the middle of specific acronyms or terms that are necessary to understand a particular subject, such as audio. It is not necessary to understand exactly the meaning of each file or acronym (Lossless, FLAC, etc.), but it is good to have an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each one. And that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about next.
Lossless / lossless compression
The term Lossless refers to the type of file that does not fully compress the original audio, thus allowing the sound to retain its essence and quality. The «cost» of this increase is larger files compared to other audio formats. Smaller files generate greater compression of the data, with lower quality.
Some examples of files in this scheme are .wav and .flac, while .aac and .mp3 are formats that lose some quality. FLACt has gained special popularity, as this format allows audio to have a quality similar to the standard of a CD, but with a slightly smaller size compared to Lossless.
Bit rate (Bitrate)
The bit rate (or Bitrate) refers to the amount of information that is exchanged (or that contains each file) every second for an audio file. Therefore, larger numbers are better, as this means that the file has more quality and information to transmit to the device.
You will notice an audio quality as if you had removed the songs from a CD, but within a standard similar to the extreme quality of Spotify, if the file in question is not a Lossless.
In fact, many users use Spotify, which works with the Vorbis standard (.ogg extension), delivering the following frequencies: 96 kbps for normal quality, 160 kbps for high quality and 320 kbps for high quality in the premium plan (paid) . If you are an audiophile, you will certainly prefer lossless formats and the highest bit rates, even if some argue for you that this alone will not make much difference.
A codec is software that allows the phone or computer to play a specific audio file. The term is the combination of the words «compression» and «decompression». In short, codecs allow compressed files to be unzipped and played.
Types of audio files, codecs and how they are used
|AAC LC||Support for mono / stereo / 5.0 / 5.1 channels. There are basic and Lossless versions.||.3gpMPEG-4 (.mp4, .m4a), .m4b, .aac|
|HE-AACv1 (AAC +)|
|HE-AACv2 (enhanced AAC +)|
|AAC ELD (enhanced low delay AAC)|
|AMR-NB||conventional standard for audio recordings (AAC)||3GPP (.3gp)||Android 2.3+|
|FLAC||High quality / Lossless audio||.Flac||Android 3.1+|
|MIDI||Ringtones and notifications||.mid, .xmf, .mxmf, .rtttl, .rtx, .ota, .imy||Android 6.0+|
|MP3||Music and other standard audio at variable bitrates.||.MP3||Android 1.6+|
|Opus||Most efficient format for audio recordings. Opus is an evolution of Vorbis.||.opus||Android 5.0+|
PCM / WAVE
|High quality uncompressed audio||.WAV||Android 2.2+|
Open source format with low audio loss. Used by many companies due to lack of licensing costs.
|.ogg / .oga||Android 2.3+|
Of course, the apps are there to help us play formats and everything else we need to do. If you are looking for a good audio player, check out our referral list below with the best paid and free options available on the Google Play Store.
What are your favorite audio apps?