Unknown to some (myself included), the Nokia Lumia 620 (yes, six, two, zero) had a single HAAC microphone that enabled mono Nokia Rich Recording (PDF) just like the two (stereo)HAAC microphones that debuted in the Nokia 808 PureView. Here is what Nokia had to say about their HAAC mics in the 808 PureView:
What you’ll notice is that the recordings from the Nokia 808 PureView are considerably better than the other devices.
What makes Nokia Rich Recording different to any other current high-end smartphone is the ability to record sound without distortion at around 140-145db. Most current smartphones record up to 110db. The Nokia 808 PureView records at volumes four times louder than conventional microphones.
The lower bass sounds are also captured without distortion and by combining the upper and lower range together you’re left with the full range of sounds. The result is almost CD-like quality.
Here is a video from Nokia showing the Lumia 620’s HAAC microphone in action against competing smartphones:
Without having any prior knowledge of the Lumia 620 having a HAAC Rich Recording microphone and with extremely low expectations of the microphone in the Lumia 635 , I tested the audio capture on the Nokia Lumia 635. My audio capture test setup was as follows:
- Purposefully turned the volume up on my car stereo to try to distort the sound to create “crackling sounds”.
- Car windows rolled up to keep the audio within the car and maximize audio capture levels.
- I also kept the car running to add background noise.
I really thought the audio capture would be a distorted mess as with other smartphones but upon hearing the playback in my car, it immediately reminded my of my Nokia 808 PureView’s Rich Recording ability. I was amazed! There wasn’t any distortion in the audio! Have a listen for yourself:
* Please select the highest quality video setting for the best audio quality. Listen to the audio with headphones or external speakers for the best results.
I have yet to see any reference to a HAAC microphone in the Nokia Lumia 635 specifications, no marketing of Nokia Rich Recording, no Lumia 635 teardown showing the type of microphone, nothing. It is kind of odd, that if it is indeed a HAAC mic, why isn’t this marketed as an incentive to buy the Lumia 635? It should be easy to throw together a comparison commercial to show the superior audio recording capabilities of the Lumia 635. Even if Microsoft doesn’t have the rights to use the trademark for Nokia Rich Recording, the Lumia 635 video test results prove that the phone captures exceptional audio and that there is even more value in owning the budget Lumia 635.
All signs point to the Lumia 635 having a single HAAC microphone and Nokia Rich Recording as even the camera settings have the same Audio bass filter as high-end Lumias that also contain HAAC microphones and Nokia Rich Recording.
The audio is definitely distortion free and I don’t know of any non-HAAC mics or non Rich Recording devices that can capture audio with such dynamic range without distortion. What’s your opinion? Does the Lumia 625 contain an undocumented HAAC microphone and Nokia Rich Recording? How important is audio capture in your smartphone buying decision? Is this a marketing oversight? With so much value for your money, the Lumia 635 is really turning out to be The Amazing Everyday.
I hope Microsoft Mobile puts some marketing effort behind the amazing audio capture that will surely grace the Nokia Lumia 730 and 830!