Menu Close

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max Audio test


We put the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max through our rigorous DXOMARK Audio test suite to measure its performance both at recording sound using its built-in microphones, and at playing audio back through its speakers.

In this review, we will break down how it fared in a variety of tests and several common use cases.

Overview


Key audio specifications include:

  • Two speakers, (One top front firing, one side bottom firing)
  • No Jack audio output
  • Dolby Atmos technology
  • Spatial Audio playback

Scoring

Sub-scores and attributes included in the calculations of the global score.

Apple iPhone 14 pro max
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

142

audio

141

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (158)

139

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (149)

147

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (162)

143

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (162)

91

Asus ROG Phone 5

Best: Asus ROG Phone 5 (157)

130

Honor Magic3 Pro+

Best: Honor Magic3 Pro+ (147)

124

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (146)

108

Asus ROG Phone 5

Best: Asus ROG Phone 5 (157)

123

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (170)

138

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (145)

152

Black Shark 5 Pro

Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (166)

Playback

Pros

  • Good and consistent performance across all attributes
  • Great timbre performance, including deep low-end extension
  • Great dynamics performance overall
  • Very good spatial performance

Cons

  • Distortion and compression at maximum volume and when watching movies
  • Inverted stereo in the music app, as for all iPhones

Recording

Pros

  • Good timbre performance overall
  • Good at recording loud content, for example, concerts
  • Good dynamics performance
  • Good handling of artifacts; wind noise reduction works well but could use some fine-tuning

Cons

  • Midrange restitution dependent on use case; can sound either nasal or resonant, depending on app
  • Impaired signal-to-noise ratio, as main vocal content is slightly masked by ambient noise
  • Underwhelming audio zoom performance

With a DXOMARK Audio score of 142, the Apple iPhone 14 Pro delivers an excellent performance that is similar to the audio experience of its predecessor, the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The 14 Pro Max sounds overall great through the built-in speakers and is best for listening to music and gaming but also offers great sound quality when watching movies. Test results were consistently good across all Playback test attributes. The nice timbre benefits from a deep low-end extension. Dynamics are great and an excellent spatial performance means you’ll feel totally immersed in the stereo sound scene. There is not too much to criticize, but the latest iPhone is still far from perfect in terms of Playback performance. For example, our testers observed some distortion and compression at maximum volume when watching movies. Stereo is also still inverted in the music app, as on all previous iPhones.

As a recording device, the 14 Pro Max does best for selfie and main camera video and is especially good for recording in loud environments, such as concerts or similar events, thanks to good results across pretty much all Recording sub-attributes, including timbre and dynamics. Artifacts are managed very well; only the wind noise reduction could do with some fine-tuning. Our testers also found the midrange to change with the usage scenario, producing either more nasal or more resonant results. Voices can be slightly drowned out by ambient noise and the audio zoom function leaves some room for improvement.

Test summary

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions.
(For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

The following section gathers key elements of our exhaustive tests and analyses performed in DXOMARK laboratories. Detailed performance evaluations under the form of reports are available upon request. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Playback

145

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

How Audio Playback score is composed

DXOMARK engineers test playback through the smartphone speakers, whose performance is evaluated in our labs and in real-life conditions, using default apps and settings.

The latest Apple flagship phone does very well across most all Playback test attributes. Timbre is warm and clear, with natural treble and a rich midrange that is virtually identical to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Bass rendition is pretty much flawless, powerful with deep low-end extension. In terms of dynamics, the iPhone delivers good bass precision and powerful punch. Attack is sharp and precise at soft and nominal volume, but at maximum volume, it is affected by distortion and compression.

The 14 Pro Max also does very well in the spatial category. The stereo sound scene is perfectly centered, with excellent localizability of sound sources and distance rendition. Depth is very well rendered, and the wide sound scene makes sound consumption a very immersive experience but, as with all iPhones, stereo is inverted when listening to music with the phone rotated in landscape orientation. No such issues when watching movies or gaming, though.

Maximum volume is identical to the predecessor, and minimum volume is neither too quiet nor too loud. Volume steps are distributed evenly. The 14 Pro Max controls artifacts well and is less prone to them than the predecessor 13 Pro Max. The phone’s design means that you can still accidentally cover the speaker with your fingers, especially when gaming, but the effect is fairly minor. 

Listen to the tested smartphone’s playback performance in this comparison with some of its competitors:

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

Recordings of the smartphones playing some of our music tracks at 60 LAeq in an anechoic environment by 2 microphones in A-B configuration, at 30 cm

Here is how the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max performs in playback use cases compared to its competitors:

Playback use-cases scores

Timbre

141

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Timbre score represents how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency. It is the most important attribute for playback.

Music playback frequency response

A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency emitted by the smartphone when playing a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.

Dynamics

139

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Dynamics score measures the accuracy of changes in the energy level of sound sources, for example how precisely a bass note is reproduced or the impact sound from drums.

Spatial

147

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The sub-attributes for spatial tests include pinpointing a specific sound’s location, its positional balance, distance, and wideness.

Volume

143

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Volume score represents the overall loudness of a smartphone and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

Here are a few sound pressure levels (SPL) measured when playing our sample recordings of hip-hop and classical music at maximum volume:

Hip-Hop Classical
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max 74 dBA 71.1 dBA
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 72.4 dBA 69.5 dBA
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) 74.1 dBA 70.2 dBA

The following graph shows the gradual changes in volume going from minimum to maximum. We expect these changes to be consistent across the range, so that all volume steps correspond to users’ expectations:

Music volume consistency

This line graph shows the relative loudness of playback relative to the user selected volume step, measured at different volume steps with a correlated pink noise in an anechoic box recorded in axis at 0.20 meter.

Artifacts

91

Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5

The Artifacts score measures the extent to which the sound is affected by various types of distortion. The higher the score, the less the disturbances in the sound are noticeable. Distortion can occur because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

Playback Total Harmonic Distortion (Maximum Volume)

This graph shows the Total Harmonic Distortion and Noise over the hearable frequency range.
It represents the distortion and noise of the device playing our test signal (0 dB Fs, Sweep Sine in an anechoic box at 40 cm) at the device’s maximum volume.

Recording

135

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

How Audio Recording score is composed

DXOMARK engineers test recording by evaluating the recorded files on reference audio equipment. Those recordings are done in our labs and in real-life conditions, using default apps and settings.

The latest flagship iPhone is also a great device for capturing sound of any kind. Recordings come with a natural and warm tonal balance. Overall, timbre performance is very good, but there is some inconsistency between use cases. Sonority is generally a little muffled but more so when recording with the selfie camera. Midrange is quite use-case dependent as well, with nasal sonority in the main camera app, quite resonant midrange in the memo app and more natural midrange in selfie video. In the electronic concert use case, low midrange is more lackluster. but this is also where the 14 Pro Max shows that it can produce a powerful low-end without sounding boomy.

Dynamics are generally good, with a wide dynamic range and good reactiveness, but it is slightly held back by some loss of accuracy in envelope rendition, with the main vocal content often being slightly masked by ambient noise. Recordings made with the memo app are by default in mono, which is a shame as the iPhone possesses good spatial capabilities, with good wideness, correct distance rendition and quite good localizability.

The 14 Pro Max does very well in the volume category, thanks to good loudness of voices, excellent maximum loudness, and great resilience to high sound pressure levels. Even in such demanding conditions it also controls artifacts very well, making it a good choice for recording electronic music concerts and similar events. In addition, microphone occlusion is not an issue on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Voices remain perfectly intelligible, regardless of hand position on the device. To round out an excellent Recording performance, the background sounds natural in all use cases, with a nice tonal balance and no artifacts.

Wind noise reduction works well. It is heavy-handed for selfie and main camera video but less so in the memo app. This means that with strong wind, voices can be a little harder to understand. The audio zoom feature on the other hand is underwhelming and a step back from previous Pro Max models. Tonal balance remains consistent across zoom levels and there are no artifacts, but background rejection does not increase when going from tele zoom to super tele.

Here is how the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max performs in recording use cases compared to its competitors:

Recording use-cases scores

Timbre

130

Honor Magic3 Pro+

Honor Magic3 Pro+

The Timbre score represents how well a phone captures sounds across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, and tonal balance. It is the most important attribute for recording.

Life video frequency response

A 1/12 octave frequency response graph, which measures the volume of each frequency captured by the smartphone when recording a pure-sine wave in an anechoic environment.

Dynamics

124

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Dynamics score measures the accuracy of changes in the energy level of sound sources, for example how precisely a voice’s plosives (the p’s, t’s and k’s, for example) are reproduced. The score also considers the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), for example how loud the main voice is compared to the background noise.

Spatial

108

Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5

The sub-attributes for spatial tests include pinpointing a specific sound’s location, its positional balance, distance, and wideness on the recorded audio files.

Recording directivity

Directivity graph of the smartphone when recording test signals using the camera app, with the main camera. It represents the acoustic energy (in dB) over the angle of incidence of the sound source. (Normalized to the angle 0°, in front of the device.)

Volume

123

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Volume score represents how loud audio is normalized on the recorded files and the how the device handles loud environments, such as electronic concerts, when recording.

Here are the sound levels recorded in the audio and video files, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale); as a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:

Meeting Life Video Selfie Video Memo
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max -26 LUFS -22.9 LUFS -19.2 LUFS -19.6 LUFS
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max -25.5 LUFS -22.7 LUFS -20.1 LUFS -18.2 LUFS
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) -28.8 LUFS -21.7 LUFS -21.2 LUFS -23.9 LUFS

Artifacts

138

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

The Artifacts score measures the extent to which the recorded sounds are affected by various types of distortions. The higher the score, the less the disturbances in the sound are noticeable. Distortions can occur because of sound processing in the device and the quality of the microphones, as well as user handling, such as how the phone is held.

In this audio comparison, you can listen to the way this smartphone handles wind noise relative to its competitors:

Recordings of a voice sample with light background noise, facing a turbulent wind of 5 m/s

Background

152

Black Shark 5 Pro

Black Shark 5 Pro

Background evaluates how natural the various sounds around a voice blend into the video recording file. For example, when recording a speech at an event, the background should not interfere with the main voice, yet it should provide some context of the surroundings.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.