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[Share] Design Story-ZenFone 3 Ultra offers an unparalleled audio experience

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Last edited by Wayne_ASUS on 2016/10/24 16:19

ZenFone 3 Ultra offers an unparalleled audio experience
The ZenFone 3 series is capable of louder audio and greater bass extension thanks to its next-generation five-magnet speaker, and it can maximize the speaker's power and performance through its independent smart-amplifier technology. This feature helps the phone save power while increasing the effective lifespan of the speaker. Additionally, the ASUS Golden Ear team took user feedback into account during the design process. In particular, the team created the best possible quality by integrating both Hi-Res Audio (HRA) and DTS Headphone:X™ 7.1 surround sound into ZenFone 3 Ultra

Music styles vary widely, from Louis Armstrong's strong bass notes to Hayley Dee Westernra's soaring melodies. In the past, listening to such music on the go with mobile telephones often resulted in less-than-ideal audio quality, with issues such as distortion or user fatigue. These problems have been addressed head-on with the ZenFone 3 series, which pushes the boundaries of what is possible with smartphone audio.

"We've always wanted to make something user-friendly, based on what users actually want," said Golden Ear team leader CH.L. "As a result, we spent a lot of time listening to our customers, to determine their needs and preferences." Not only would the ZenFone 3 series have to provide clear audio quality for its users, it would also need to accommodate long periods of listening. Consequently, improvements had to be made to the volume, quality, and effects of the phone's audio output, while also maintaining call quality on 4G networks.

Innovation one: Neodymium magnets and next-generation five-magnet speakers

The overarching trend among phone manufacturers is to reduce size and weight while maintaining or improving functionality. Consequently, the Golden Ear team had to find a way to achieve greater audio volumes in smaller phone sizes. Ultimately, after lengthy research and development, it was decided to implement neodymium magnets and voice coils in the ZenFone 3 series, and that volume would be boosted by increasing the number of magnets.

More magnets would improve the performance of the ZenFone 3 series speaker thanks to the stronger magnetic field inside. Consequently, the phone uses the latest five-magnet speaker configuration. ZenFone 3 Ultra, which offers the best audio-visual experience and stereo sound, is equipped with two five-magnet speakers, increasing the maximum volume by 140% and extending bass by 17%, while reducing distortion by 42%. Field tests have shown that ZenFone 3 Ultra's volume far outperforms the iPhone 6s Plus, and is on par with the much larger iPad Pro, which has four speakers.

Innovation two: Better performance and energy savings with the smart amplifier

"Phones are getting slimmer, which means there's less space for the components inside. This makes it much harder to make a phone that offers decent volume. We spent a lot of time and effort on this issue, and had to restart from scratch repeatedly, because speaker volume is one of the first things consumers use to determine a phone's audio quality. At first, we felt the volume wasn't loud enough, so we installed a smart amplifier. But we also wanted to ensure the best possible audio quality too.

So we were testing different solutions all the way up to the mass production phase," CH.L said. He pointed out that even tiny differences in sound can be noticeable to the listener. As a result, the R&D experts in the Golden Ear team, which comprises many audiophiles, kept going back to the drawing board again and again to find the best possible configuration. Their stringent requirements toward sound quality, coupled with their innovative and hard-working natures, led to the breakthroughs that would allow the ZenFone 3 series listeners to enjoy the best possible aural experience.

"When users evaluate the sound quality of a phone, the phone's volume accounts for more than half of their appraisal. This meant that we had to make the necessary improvements despite of limited space in the phone." CH.L said, noting that speaker materials are undergoing constant innovation. Furthermore, the amplitude of the speakers' vibrations determine the volume of the audio output; the greater the vibration, the louder the sound. In addition to the five-magnet speaker, the ZenFone 3 series also uses a smart amplifier, which provides up to 9V of output power. Not only does this offer louder volumes, it also allows the speaker to provide deeper, rounder, and more resonant tones.

However, speakers can be damaged by continued use. As a consequence, smartphone manufacturers are striving to strike a balance between volume performance and speaker durability. The smart amplifier offers an advantage in this regard: by monitoring the speakers' temperature and vibrations, the smart amplifier can adjust the volume of output on the fly, thus ensuring that speakers do not malfunction due to overuse.

"Overheating from extended use will lead to damaged speakers, because it may cause the coil to detach. Temperature control, then, is a very important issue," CH.L explained. The temperature of the speaker is directly correlated to power. Smart amplifier of the ZenFone 3 series controls power output by constantly monitoring voltage and current. If a high temperature is detected, the smart amplifier lowers the volume until temperatures return to normal. This protects the speaker against the ravages of heat, which can ruin even the best speaker hardware.

Innovation three: Precise tuning for the best long-term listening

It's worth noting, however, that listening to your phone for long periods can easily lead to user fatigue. The Golden Ear team tallied user preferences towards audio output, in order to find the greatest commonalities and use them as the basis for tuning.

"Generally speaking, users care most about voice output. In particular, when they listen to a song, they want each word in the lyrics to be easily recognizable. There cannot be any interference, and the singer's voice must be easily distinguished from the background music," CH.L stated. The R&D team conducted extensive tests to find the optimal solution. In the past, listening to rock and roll music on a phone would almost always sound noisy. The ZenFone 3 series, however, lowers the background music slightly and raises the singer's voice, and as a result the lyrics of the song become much clearer. This is analogous to when a singer and an orchestra are both on stage; the singer will stand in front of the other musicians, making it easier to discern the singer and the instruments, thus offering a more immersive experience. "We made many minute adjustments to the output. For example, we even tried to eliminate the breathy sounds between words."

In addition to the clarity of the music, the ZenFone 3 series team also wanted to make the audio output suitable for long-term use. As CH.L recalled, ZenFone 2 was well-received upon release, but some professional reviewers pointed out that the smartphone’s output was not suitable for extended listening. After an hour of music, the user would turn the music off out of fatigue.

"Good sound quality should mean that the user could just keep listening to the music, right?" CH.L and his team were perplexed by this issue. They collected as much user feedback as they could, and ultimately discovered that listening to too many sounds at once can overwhelm the brain's ability to receive information, leading to user fatigue.

As a result, the R&D team studied the speakers available on the market, and discovered that some speakers were deliberately designed to alter the pitch in certain frequency bands. An analysis of the output from these speakers revealed the adjustments that had to be made to make the sounds more palatable. "This was the key to improving the user experience."

Innovation four: Movie-quality sound with hi-res audio and virtual 7.1 channel surround sound

The ZenFone 3 series is one of the few smartphones on the market to support Hi-Res Audio, offering 24-bit, 192kHz audio output — or four times better than that of compact discs (CDs). It is the best audio output currently available in the industry.


In addition to Hi-Res Audio, the flagship ZenFone 3 Ultra is also the first smartphone in the world to offer DTS® Headphone:X® virtual 7.1-channel surround sound. This means that users can experience a movie theater-like aural experience using even simple headphones. Hollywood director Steven Spielberg was one of the creators of the DTS sound system, and he first used the format in his global blockbuster Jurassic Park. ZenFone 3 Ultra provides stunning audio fidelity, regardless of whether the user is watching movies or listening to music.

Innovation five: ZenEar S, the dedicated earphones for ZenFone 3

ZenFone 3 Deluxe and Ultra come with the ZenEar S, the best headphones currently bundled with ASUS smartphones. With Hi-Res Audio certification from the Sound Engineers and Artists Society of Japan, ZenEar S supports high-resolution music while boasting noise reduction and enhanced communication features, thus allowing the user to enjoy better call quality and audio-visual performance. The ZenFone 3 Ultra version of the ZenEar S offers even better effectiveness thanks to its DTS adjustments.

The ZenEar S uses three-layered composite membranes made of aerospace-grade metals, along with double resonance chambers. This creates a fuller sound when listening to music, while also presenting delicate high notes, clear middle notes, and deep low notes without any interference. The processed metal exterior offers an aesthetically pleasing appearance, and with its highly ergonomic design and tuning by expert sound engineer with four Grammy awards, ZenEar S is the epitome of perfection in both presentation and performance.

Innovation six: Noise reduction with VoLTE

Apart from music, call quality is also an important aspect of a smartphone's audio performance. Call quality can be affected by the quality of the signal to the telecoms provider, or by the quality of mobile-broadband signal in the case of internet telephony. It can also be influenced by the quality of the smartphone itself.

With the rising ubiquity of 4G networks and overall increases in network speeds, voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology has come into the spotlight. VoLTE uses the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standard for voice transmission, and offers superior call quality compared to the traditional GSM or CDMA standards. The ZenFone 3 series is equipped with VoLTE capabilities, and has undergone extensive tuning and optimization by the R&D team at ASUS. Field tests from many real-world sites have shown that VoLTE performance of the ZenFone 3 series is superior to the iPhone 6s.
* For best VoLTE results, both the transmitting and receiving phones must be connected to LTE networks.
** Please confirm that the phone models, telecommunications providers, locations, and services are all suitable before using VoLTE.

Many people have experienced situations where noisy environments lead to poor call quality even with strong signals. The ZenFone R&D team also took this into account during the creation of the ZenFone 3 series, by conducting repeated tests to the phone in a variety of environments and making adjustments accordingly.

Many phone manufacturers actually treat sound quality as a lower priority, because audio deficiencies are often too subtle for users to detect, and can be difficult to address on a technical level. Environmental noise often leads to interference, which would affect the quality of the output regardless of whether the user is in an exhibition hall or using the phone out in the field. Furthermore, sound quality can be a very subjective judgment, which makes it challenging to produce a sound quality that meets the approval of most users. ASUS is one of the few smartphone manufacturers willing to devote the time and effort to producing the best sound quality. "We look at what users want, and analyze their behaviors, and then integrate what we learn into our smartphone designs," CH.L indicated, "We have a great user base on our ZenTalk forums, where our users can provide direct feedback. We're confident of producing an even brighter future, to the point where we will outpace other brands by a whole year in terms of our technological prowess."

This philosophy of accepting user feedback and integrating it into products is the key to the superior audio quality offered by the ZenFone series. The ZenFone's people-oriented brand strategy has allowed ASUS to distinguish itself amidst intense competition, which is why the ZenFone team will endeavor to continue to integrate this doctrine in every aspect of their work.

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IDN Dr.Zen | All posts
amazing fitur...nice info wayne
Wayne_ASUS TWN Moderator | All posts
arifdotcom posted on 2016/10/25 21:00
amazing fitur...nice info wayne

Yeah, ZenFone 3 Series are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PHL Level 5 | All posts
cant wait to buy this phone let me enjoy my zenfone 3 for now
IDN Dr.Zen(ID) | All posts
i love its ...
i love design this smartphone and ... spec this smartphone so Amazing
IND Level 3 | All posts
Zenfone3 Rocks..................... Its more than awesome                                       
VNM Level 1 | All posts
i love its ...
i love design this smartphone and ... spec this smartphone so Amazing
Me too
may photocopy toshiba chinh hang
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