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Ozo recording

Hopefully the title will attract some attention from Nokia.

We all know the audio recordings made during video capture are very good, but the same can't be said about audio recordings using apps. It appears as if there is a bug in the drivers that pass audio onto the apps and some errant signal processing algorithm is distorting what is recorded.

I downloaded a very good app called HI-Q MP3 Voice Recorder (Pro) and have been in touch with the author and sent some recording examples. He says there is a bug that needs fixing.

The app lets you choose from front mic/rear mic/raw audio (no preprocessing) and Unprocessed (raw).

If I record from rear mic I get a mono recording (but the app feels it is a stereo stream). It uses the microphone at the bottom of the phone. There is no distortion and the recording is excellent.

If I use Unprocessed (raw) I get stereo, from the rear mic (main camera side) and the bottom mic, again, with no distortion, but the signal is quiet. I don't know what the signal to noise ratio of this signal is.

Any other selections result in a sudden change to the character of the recording after a couple of seconds, the noise suddenly stops and there is a strange distortion that comes in. It is as if some signal processing algorithm is doing something odd.

Now, when using Ozo, when video recording using the inbuilt app, the bottom microphone itself doesn't really seem to contribute to the recording and it is the microphones near the two cameras that seem to be sampling the sound (you can demonstrate this by rubbing the bottom microphone when recording. I suspect Ozo uses most of the data from these two mics but uses the bottom microphone to add additional information to the signal processing algorithm which helps spatially amplify the sounds.

What I suspect is happening with normal recording (via apps) is that the driver is either using the wrong algorithm or routing the wrong audio signal to the app, eg it's getting 3 inputs, mixing them in a special way, but sending the wrong output to the app, so we are hearing some interim signal rather than the true audio.

Can anyone from Nokia add any comment?

 I would be very much interestedc in Nokia's response to your letter please, if you DO get an answer here or via email, please share it here... I'm afraid they might not want to reveal how the OZO alogorithm actually works but what we ultimately need is an audio recording app from Nokia which will come bundled with the OZO Nokia phone's models (8 and 9) and which can properly record audio on the phone without video.

If you look at how Nokia market Ozo (in terms of letting others use their signal processing algorithm) I can't see why an app on a Nokia 8 can't be sent the output of this algorithm given that the phone already has the logic on board. All the app would need to do is ask for left and right inputs. I've never programmed mobile phones but given the app above that I mentioned allows you to select mono/stereo and front or rear microphones (which must be standard requests in Android) I can see no reason why a suitably written app couldn't request, say, normal stereo, or say, Ozo stereo concentrating on front, rear or all around (as the in built camera app allows).

Is there a function call that is publicly available for this? If there was, I'm sure the author of HI-Q would be only too happy to code it in should the app be installed on a Nokia 8...

Hey Mark,

I guess something fishy is going around here, I already heard numerous people talking about similiar thing but one thing is the same you people are talking about, the "distortion". Can you check my thread and let me know what you think: https://community.phones.nokia.com/support/discussions/topics/7000011912/page/2?url_locale=

Hi Freeloader, I'm not sure whether what you are picking up is connected or not...

I've made some test recordings using all the options on the HI-Q app. The only non-distorted ones are the raw unprocessed audio version (along with a second copy that I've normalised using Audacity), and the rear mic version (which is mono, although the app felt it was being sent a stereo signal). The Ozo.mp3 is an extraction of the audio from a MP4 file. Audacity shows a few bits clipping.

There's something seriously wrong with Nokia's audio drivers!


Does anyone from Nokia/HMD read these posts? Any response?

With 8.1 beta the problems persist. Nokia must have a driver issue where the wrong preprocessing is being done when using standard android functions calls to record in stereo. Nokia, any acknowledgement? The camera app is obviously using different routes to get the audio or is perhaps changing some other setting prior to capture that other pre-existing apps are unaware of.

I am sure they read it, there is a moderator on the forum so she/he reads it but dont know if the information goes to the right department.

So far the only thing I am dissapointed with is support, they are not discussing issues with customers, so it looks like they are ignoring us. Wouldnt be surprised if they just abandon this model and shut our mouth with new Nokia 8,9 at MWC this February.

I contacted support with this problem and was told that there was something wrong with my phone and that I should send it back and get a new one (or get it repaired). It is in for service now. I sent them recordings and we discussed the issues at lenght. I don't see why they should tell me to get a replacement phone if this was anything but a hardware issue (alltough it seems very software-issue-like to me). Have any of you contacted support, or is this the only channel you use?

Has anyone from nokia ever commented on an issue presented in this forum? In all the threads I've read i've only ever seen one comment from a moderator (not a Nokia employee as far as I could tell), that simply said that the relevant people would be notified of the issue.

Overmann You mentioned you sent them something and that you actually discussed the problem with engineers, thats atleast something. What did they say? I cant seem to contact anyone but "support" who always gives you generic answer. I evwn contacted Nokia on Facebook, when they didnt know what to answer they stopped responding and ignored me. Worst customer service Ive ever experienced. Worst part is I cant even send the phone for repair because I won it in contest and noone for Nokia can give me an answer if my phone is eligible for warranty.

Hi freeloader,

I too just contacted support via the chat and had an hour long exchange with someone. Not an engineer, but he/she said that they verified on a Nokia 8 at their end that the audio recorded from a recorder-app did not sound wierd and distorted like mine did. 

Perhaps I was just lucky with who I got in touch with. I did also write an e-mail to them about an issue I had with the 3.5 jack (noise), and after the initial respons I heard nothing for almost a week. The respons I got then was:

I see you'va also contacted a collegue of mine on chat and you concluded that there is an issue with your phone. I concur!

Pretty much. Hopefully the people where I bought it also agree. There are some seemingly common technical issues that are disconcerning. This recording issue is baffling. Nokia is pushing the OZO-system and every review I have seen has praised the audio quality, but so many people are having these issues without anyone from Nokia commenting.

Are you anywhere near a walk-in service center? Or perhaps you can call someone? Is there really no phone support any more?

I remember back when Lumia 800 launched, I had problems with the audio quality (no low end at all), and Nokia acctually invited me to come down to their offices in Oslo (as I live there). I spent about two hours there. Got a cup of coffee and talked to several people about the issues and ended up walking away with a new phone in hand that had no issues. Insanely good service. But that was a different company i guess.

I don't think it is a hardware problem given my experiments above with the Hi-Q app. If you turn off all processing it seems fine (though quiet), however, the two mics it uses for left and right are near the dual camera and bottom of phone. When using Ozo when videoing (with surround option) it seems to use the front and rear mics and the bottom one (where you talk) doesn't seem to add much sound if you scratch it during recording. I did wonder if the main recording derives from those and the bottom mic directs the sound one way (if it is loud in that mic) or the other way (if it is quiet).

I really think there is some signal processing algorithm that is incorrectly interfacing with android function calls that supply sound to apps. Perhaps it is being left with noise cancellation turned on or something and the hardware is doing its best to muffle distant sounds that have similar phase hitting both mics.

If Nokia release another phone in the next month and that one doesn't have the problem I'll just take mine back as faulty. It's a reproducible problem.

Nope, no service nearby. I am actually worried Nokia is not even aware of this problem. Mark looks like a guy who knows this stuff, he should try to contact them and push it to right department.

Everyone should obviously contact support with all and any problems. These support forums are usually for the users to help each other. I highly doubt anyone at HMD is paying attention to this, but I find it very hard to believe that they are not aware of these issues. Either way, they should be contacted. :)

It might be possible to contact some of the other offices:



To see if it's possible to talk to someone. And It might not be a bad idea to contact some of the reviewers that reviewed the phone, or some other tech publications. Perhaps also making some quick youtube videos showing the problems.

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