Report: Android Oreo Update Worsened Android Audio Latency Issues
Android has had an audio latency issue that has negatively affected the operating system’s reputation among audio and music creators. Many professional musicians have preferred to work on iOS devices when they needed to as opposed to Android for years, but this was something Google was aware of. Not only were they aware of it, but they were making progress to reduce the audio latency issue with their recent versions of Android. However, a new report from Superpowered shows that the audio latency issue has actually gotten worse with the Android 8.0 Oreo update.
The folks over at Superpowered recently tested the latency of audio from a Nexus 6P that was updated to Android 8.0 Oreo. They used Google’s own “Rick’O’Rang app” (source and APK) and their in-house Latency Test (source and APK) applications. Their measurement methods are in fact different, but history has shown that the results have always been virtually identical. However, when testing the Android 8.0 Oreo update they noticed their own testing application was behaving strangely.
Normally they would do their tests and the logs would report “in, out, in out, in out” as they tested round-trip audio latency. However, with the Oreo update it was more like “in, in, in, in, out, out, out, out, in, in, in, etc.” This raised some concerns as both the Google and the Superpowered latency applications were using only one buffer. But one buffer is not enough to cover five, therefore all measurements, on both apps become erratic and inaccurate.
Recommended Reading: Android’s Audio Latency Problems
Their app showed a latency value fluctuation while Google’s own application displayed good, plausible, and moreover, low latency values. Although, Google’s glitch measurement feature suggested that something was wrong, many users simply overlooked this since it didn’t raise enough concern. The folks over at Superpowered implemented a fix for this in their testing application and if Google decides to implement it, then theirs will be updated in the near future.
As you can see, on both the Nexus 6P as well as the Pixel XL, we’re seeing much higher audio latency on Android 8.0 as compared to Android 7.0. This could be hardware related or vary across devices, as Reddit member u/sylocheed tested Superpowered‘s application on their Pixel 2 XL with their results showing that it was a little faster than the Nexus 6P and Pixel XL results, but it was still slower than Android Nougat’s OpenSL ES.