Xperia, tuned for audiophiles with Mark Wilder
To deliver sound as the artist intended, we brought in Mark Wilder, sound mastering engineer at Sony Music's Battery Studios, to tune and review speaker and headphone quality. See how our audio engineer, Kenichi Matsumoto, collaborated with Mark to make this Xperia one of the best smartphones ever for music.
Matsumoto-san, how would you describe your passion for this project?
Most music lovers enjoy music on mobile devices in casual quality. As a music lover myself, I wasn't happy with that. I wanted to preserve the joy of listening to authentic sound, even if I'm away from my Hi-Fi system at home. My passion is to give people great sound quality, anywhere.
So how does the speaker sound, Mark?
What I really noticed about this Xperia is that it has a very clear voice. The detail, the ambience, the space between instruments is much clearer than anything I've heard from any other cell phone. It has more power and impact, it's more exciting. The dynamic movement, from the small changes in dynamics to the more dramatic ones, are like those coming through a larger full-range speaker. That's impressive because this sound relates to a much bigger listening experience.
How about when you listen through headphones?
Listening through wired headphones for the first time, I was really surprised by the sonic impact of this Xperia. The audio quality, the space, the clarity, the volume – everything about it seems much more together than I've ever remembered in a cell phone. I'm someone who travels with a Walkman® and I've been looking forward to the day when I could choose whether to enjoy music on my Walkman or my smartphone when out and about. That day has come I think.
So Matsumoto-san, how has the collaboration been?
Working with Mark has been very helpful to us. We kept his words in mind while we were tuning in Tokyo. But our goals were high and it took me a long time to get this sound right. There were moments when I thought I couldn't do anything more and then Mark's face came to mind and I told myself over and over, he would never be satisfied with this quality. So I kept going.
And Mark, did the partnership work well for you?
Yes, definitely. And it's good to hear I was haunting the engineers! I guess with all collaborations you have a concern that everyone may not be moving in the same direction. That was never the case with us. From the first prototype to the second, it made me very happy to see how similar our ideas were on how the phone should sound. Our discussions led to big audio improvements for this Xperia.
What about the future, Matsumoto-san?
I’m confident this collaboration has produced the best Xperia sound ever. Of course, there are still a few ideas that we could pursue to make the phone do even more awesome things. That may be difficult to achieve at this point, but we will work hard and I would like to continue benefiting from Mark's unique knowledge and expertise.
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