I recently bought Sony MDR-AS200 headphones. They sound quite good, amazing clarity, but the bass ain't good. Since my phone (Lumia 525) doesn't support an audio equalizer, I kept using them as they were.

But the problem is, the very same headphones sound just AMAZING when plugged into an iPhone or Android. The sound is completely different than what I get on my Lumia 525. I tried plugging them in my PC (Win 10) and the sound was much better.

So why is this happening?

  • The Lumia 525 is a pretty low-end device, made with cheaper components than higher-end phones. Not sure which Android devices you tested, but iPhones are likely to have higher-grade components than something like the Lumia 525. – Indrek Sep 27 '16 at 17:27
  • @Indrek I tested on an iPhone 5s and a Lenovo Vibe. So being made of cheaper components can degrade sound quality in headphones? – YaddyVirus Sep 27 '16 at 17:29
  • 2
    Possibly, yes. Electronic components are responsible for taking the digital audio stream, decoding it into an analogue signal, amplifying it and sending it to the headphones. Any cost-cutting in those components can potentially affect audio quality. Another possibility of course is that the audio stack in Windows Phone is simply tuned slightly differently than in iOS and Android, and not having an equaliser prevents you from doing anything about it. This is largely speculation on my part, though, I don't have any of the phones you mentioned. – Indrek Sep 27 '16 at 19:24
  • @Indrek yeah those phones were of my friends. So basically upgrading to a phone which supports an equalizer can solve the problem right? – YaddyVirus Sep 28 '16 at 5:14

Electrical impedance

The issue here is the impedance difference between your Lumia 525, and the headphones (MDR-AS200).

Lumia 525 jack: 8 Ω speculation, see comments

MDR-AS200: 16 Ω

Your issue is a typical situation where the device that transmit the audio signal over the jack has a lower impedance than the speaker.

This usually results in what you notice, a quality reduction at higher and lower frequencies, in your situation you do not hear some bass tones.

  • Note that the OP is using a Lumia 525, not 535. Also, where did you get the Lumia's output impedance from? I didn't see it in the official specs. – Indrek Oct 4 '16 at 6:05
  • Speculation (edited), I had this same issue a few years ago with a Huawei; I decided to upgrade my cheap pair of earbuds with a CX 300II (another earbuds) and I noticed that some of the bass sound were gone, the quality overall was good but some bass tones were missing. In the other hand with the older earbuds, the sound was normal, lower intensity, but those bass tones were audible. At that point I concluded that the issue was the impedance difference, those cheap earbuds are made to work at 8 Ω mostly. I'm think that the reason about the lower impedance here is energy efficiency. – J. Canseco Oct 4 '16 at 12:43
  • @J.Canseco well that's certainly a good reason... Better look for output impedance on my next phone! – YaddyVirus Oct 5 '16 at 14:05

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