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November 11, 2013

A new direction in audio recording with Lumia 1520

As an industry first, the Nokia Lumia 1520 includes four high-performance digital mics for directional stereo recording and for a stunning audio experience in videos.

Hear the directional mic capabilities of the Nokia Lumia 1520 in action (if you have headphones, plug them in now). This live performance by Niila of his song “Bottle of Wine” was captured using six Nokia Lumia 1520 prototypes (and, the video was edited in Adobe Premiere with no adjustments to the audio quality):


It started this past summer with the release of the Nokia Lumia 1020, showing us all so much more than our eyes could see. Now, with the release of the Nokia Lumia 1520, you will be in a position to both see more, and hear more than ever before.

“Nokia has been pioneering in mobile phone audio for decades,” says Heikki Sassi, head of the audio technology management team for Lumia. “To take the imaging experience to the next level in videos, audio has become a very important part of the story.”

The Nokia Lumia 1520 includes the Nokia Rich Recording capability found in the Lumia 1020, and it goes a step further with the use of four high-performance digital microphones for directional stereo recordings.

Directional recording enhances the clarity of your recordings by rejecting the sounds outside the direction of capture. In other words, the sounds in front of the camera are recorded in best possible way.

“Previously, if you wanted audio recording capabilities like this you would need to buy a professional video camera or external mics to do the job. Nokia is the first company to introduce four microphone directional stereo recording in a camera phone,” Heikki says.

Niila -Bottle of Wine- - LIVE recording with Nokia Lumia 1520_700

Nokia Rich Recording

The Nokia Rich Recording functionality found in the Lumia 1520 is based on High Amplitude Audio Capture microphones, combined with Nokia’s state-of-the-art audio capture algorithms and acoustics design to get the very best recordings possible.

You can capture the full hearing range from the lowest bass to the highest treble (ca. 20Hz to 20 KHz in frequency spectrum).

“None of the other smartphone microphone solutions out there cover this bandwidth in all conditions. The sound is either distorted or bandwidth limited,” Heikki notes.

Unlike competitor devices, when using the Lumia 1520 you can record more than 6X louder sound levels than conventional mics. “You can go to the loudest rock concerts, and you will not get any distortion in your recordings,” he says. “The quality is amazing.”

Combine this audio recording capability with the imaging features of the Lumia 1520, and you will be able to create videos (dare we even say “movies”) like never before.

“It has been said that music is 50% of the movie-watching experience. On a six-inch screen, maybe it is more like 75%,” Heikki suggests.

Behind the scenes of Niila -Bottle of Wine- (Nokia LIVE recording)_700

Directional stereo recording

In the Lumia 1020, you have Nokia Rich Recording combined with two mics for omni-directional recording to take in the sound all around you (whether in front of you or behind you). With the four microphone directional stereo recording included in the Lumia 1520, you are recording the sounds in the front of the camera, while attenuating unwanted sounds from other directions.

“You will get more of the action with less distraction,” says Heikki.

There is also a great sense of direction in your recordings, such as someone walking around you. “You can easily tell which direction sounds are coming from – either with headphones or speakers – it adds a sense of immersion, and being there.”

At the same time, those four mics are used for other purposes in the device, including advanced noise-reduction in wideband and standard voice calls.


Making the most of all four mics

You might think that having four mics built in to Lumia 1520 poses a problem for how to properly hold the device. You don’t want to accidentally cover up one of the microphones. Heikki assures us that the mics have been positioned so that they are ergonomically in the best place possible, and that you won’t inadvertently block them with your fingers.

Finally, the capabilities of Nokia Rich Recording open up great possibilities for the app developer community, too. “We have thought about this and we are looking into possibilities for unlocking the capabilities for app developers too”, Heikki tells us.

Learn more about high quality audio recording in Nokia Lumia smartphones in this whitepaper.