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When it comes to capturing an experience with video, what you hear in the playback is often just as important as what you can see. 

Trying to faithfully capture your memories of a rock concert or other loud event like a motor race or party, is often frustrating because of the heavy distortion on the audio track. It just doesn’t quite take you back to the moment like it should. 

“Previously, even dedicated consumer recording devices, not just smartphones, have not been able to capture loud sound with clear quality,” says Heikki Sassi, Nokia’s Head of Lumia Audio Technology.

“Nokia is the pioneer in smartphone audio and we have developed ourselves unique research and development capabilities.”

The solution was found with Nokia Rich Recording, a proprietary technology that was first unveiled on the Nokia 808 PureView.

You can hear the difference for yourself by putting on some headphones and listening to the audio samples in the video at the top of the page.

The game-changer

Heikki Sassi

The extraordinary audio quality on the 808 PureView‘s video recordings did not go unnoticed. A website was soon created for people to upload and listen to examples of concert footage recorded by the revolutionary phone.

Heikki says Nokia Rich Recording was a ‘game-changer’ and this technology is now available on the Nokia Lumia 1020 with some new enhanced audio recording features, which means you can capture perfect sound for every moment.

Based on feedback and by popular request, you will now be able to optimise the audio recording settings using the Nokia Pro Camera interface on the Lumia 1020.

There are three settings to choose from:

  • Default: This works especially well in loud environments, such as concerts, but this default option provides balanced and natural sound from almost any recording situation, no matter how big the bass.
  • Strong: This setting can be applied in situations where there is lots of low frequency noise, such as a strong wind or when you video your dog sticking its head out of the car window as you’re moving. While you may not notice it during the recording, these low sounds can be loud and dominant during playback. ‘Strong’ applies an effective filter to reduce the unwanted low-frequency noises.
  • Off:  This setting can be used when there is a need to capture the entire sound spectrum from ca. 20Hz to 20kHz. Some may find this option convenient if they wish to edit the sound on a computer. 

For most people and for most purposes, the default option will be all they need but the Pro Camera interface makes it easy to switch between the settings. The key is that you are able to capture high quality audio in any given situation.

“We have focused on sound quality. A full bandwidth stereo recording of a race car passing by sounds amazing on good headphones or a home stereo system – it almost feels like you’re there in the cockpit.” 

As Heikki points out – the aim behind Nokia Rich Recording wasn’t just about being able to capture loud sounds without distortion but to make it sound as good as when you heard it for the first time through your own ears.

Nokia Rich Recording

Nokia Rich Recording

So, that’s the end user benefit to Nokia Rich Recording, but what lies behind the technical magic?

There are three aspects to Nokia Rich Recording:

  1. True stereo recording to capture the sound stage.
  2. Full bandwidth recording, which means the ability to capture the lowest bass, mid-frequencies and the highest treble without any problems. The entire human auditory range from ca. 20Hz to 20kHz is covered.
  3. Distortion free recording at high sound pressure levels.

It’s the third aspect, the ability to record very high sound pressure levels, which is the key to Nokia Rich Recording.

Nokia, with industry partners, developed special digital HAAC microphones that enable high sound quality to be captured through your smartphone. They capture more than six times the sound pressure level that you can record with conventional smartphone microphones.

With carefully designed acoustics and Nokia’s own digital signal processing the recording sounds almost as real as when you first heard it.

Heikki says, “Like the Pure View imaging technology on the Nokia Lumia 1020, no one else has done this before and no one else is doing it at the moment either. We clearly have something very unique.”

For more details please refer to the Nokia Lumia 1020 whitepaper (PDF).