Viewer Question: Why not compare multiple phones in our speaker tests?

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on why I do my speaker tests the way I do, like this query from Youtube viewer Faddli who on my Lumia 830 speaker test asked:

Great video. My suggestion is to compare it with other smartphones (3-4 other smartphones), then the viewer can at least guess whether it has awesome/good/decent/bad/$h!t speaker.

Hey Faddli, thanks for the suggestion. Couple things about how I do these speaker reviews.

First, if the speaker sounds good in the video, then it probably sounds good in real life. It’s why I don’t talk over or give a conclusion at the end of these videos. What makes a piece of audio gear “good” can be highly subjective. I want the speakers to speak for themselves.

To accomplish that, all reviews are done under very similar conditions. Phone is positioned 12 inches from my recorder, and about two feet from the wall behind it. I try to angle the phone around 30 degrees from the wall. The movie and music tests are split using the movie to show off what your ears might hear looking at the screen. Phones have front, side, and rear firing speakers, but your eyes would be focused on the screen watching video. Obviously phones with front speakers are better at this test, as they are in real life. Then the music tests I point the speaker directly at the recorder, so you can hear the actual output under differing dynamics.

Then in editing, all tests are normalized against the HTC One M8. ALL TESTS. Bluetooth speakers, laptop speakers, tablet, and phone speakers. If you want to compare the Samsung Ativ S Neo against the HTC One Mini and the Jawbone Jambox, you absolutely can in your browser in multiple tabs, and decide for yourself which you prefer without me trying to declare a winner.

I don’t do multiple phone videos, because the viewer can cue up exactly the phones, tablets, laptops, and gadgets they would like to compare. It’s tremendously more work to stitch together multiple tests, and I’d still probably get hate mail for not including the “right” phones someone wanted me to compare. I put out over 400 videos this year. That’s more than a video a day, and I’m a completely solo producer, doing all my own writing, directing, producing, presenting, editing, and answering on average around 100 comments a day. Some processes, like speaker tests, required me to streamline.

Again, thanks for the suggestion, and I hope you will compare a few phone speakers. It’s actually kind of fun to pick and choose.