To determine the preferred audio characteristics for media playback over smartphones, a series of controlled double-blind listening experiments were run to evaluate the subjective playback quality of six high-end smartphones. Listeners rated products based on their audio quality preference and left comments categorized by attribute. The devices were tested in different orientations in level-matched and maximum-volume scenarios. Positional variation and biases were accounted for using a motorized turntable and audio playback was controlled remotely with remote-access software. Test results were compared to spatially-averaged measurements made using a multitone stimulus and demonstrate that the smoothness of the frequency response is the most important aspect in smartphone preference. Low frequency extension, decreased levels of nonlinear distortion, and higher maximum playback level did not correlate with higher phone ratings.
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