Since the removal of the traditional audio jack connector from smartphones, audio enthusiasts have been longing for a solution that delivers the same sound quality. While wireless headphones have been a popular alternative, they often fail to deliver the necessary bandwidth for high-quality sound. Additionally, obtaining high definition music on mobile devices often requires additional expenses and the use of external accessories.
Fortunately, Google has addressed this issue with their latest Pixel 8 smartphone. Thanks to the efforts of David Burke, the vice president of Android engineering and an audiophile himself, the Pixel 8 now supports high definition sound via USB. This new feature allows users to achieve the best possible sound quality on their devices.
Google had been working on this option for some time, and it was added to the Android 14 beta in May. The feature is now included in the final version and is exclusively available on Pixel phones. However, it’s not just a software upgrade; the hardware of the Pixel 8 is also designed to support this new mode.
The high definition sound mode allows for “bit perfect audio,” as described by Burke. When using this mode, the sound file bypasses the usual steps and processes that audio outputs typically go through on a mobile device. It doesn’t pass through the internal sound mixer or undergo any modifications or effects. Instead, the audio is sent directly to an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) connected via USB, and from there, it can be connected to headphones or speakers for optimal sound quality.
Developers can now access the new lossless audio mode, and apps like Tidal are expected to update their platforms to support it. Furthermore, there are rumors that Spotify will soon introduce a high-definition sound feature as well.
Currently, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are the best options for those who prioritize sound quality. However, Burke has confirmed that other manufacturers will also support this mode, so it’s likely that more smartphone brands will adopt this feature in the future. While this may not be a widely recognized advantage, it will certainly be appreciated by a niche group of audio enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the addition of high definition sound via USB in the Pixel 8 is a significant advancement for audio quality on mobile devices. It addresses the concerns of audio enthusiasts who have been longing for the same sound experience they used to have with traditional audio jacks. With other manufacturers expected to follow suit, this feature is poised to become a standard in the smartphone industry, delighting users who value excellent sound quality.