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Smartphones for Audiophiles

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chebby's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

idc wrote:
I think you are wrong (for a change Smile ) as an audiophile will look to have the best music set up for the circumstances. So a smartphone with a portable amp and decent cans is about the best you can get for walking or going on the bus.

I am often wrong.

However, on the the question of whether an 'audiophile' would ever consider a smartphone a credible hi-fi source...

...I have started a thread to get opinions rather than divert this one further.

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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

I need to add one qualifier/caveat to what I said about listening and testing with the iphone4 or ipod touch. It is possible to construct tests that would not be feasible on i-devices, or where i-devices would completely fail to resolve differences that can be evaluated with real hi-fi gear. I don't have much concern there since I know what a good DAC and amp can do and hopefully no audiophiles would be looking for those advanced features with an i-device.  More to that point, I tried an i-device DAC (iStreamer) with my i-devices and gave up on it for a host of reasons.

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idc
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

I think that the answer to this is down to set up. I cannot see a smartphone as the audiophile choice here, unless it can be used as the digital source only, but even then, it would look daft

 

 

I can see it in a smaller set up in a bedroom or desk top, as an alternative to an ipod

 

 

and as I said before certainly in a portable system with a little external amp added.

 

 

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OneBoxSystem's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

Sammy Galaxy 2 with 320 kbit/s mp3 and AKG 450s sounds absolutely fine to me.  :-)

Jason36's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

excellent! excellent! Interesting article Quadpatch,

 

I must say I have always found the audio playback quite good straight out of the headphone jack of my iPhone4s playing ALAC files and Spotify. However the sound quality does improve substantially when connected and externally amped by my TTVJ Slim portable amp.

My belief and understanding is that Apple (although knocked by a lot of people) do actually use quite good DAC and amplification parts in the iPhone. 

 

I have used my iPhone amped and unamped with Beyerdyanmic T70p / Grado SR80i / Sennheiser IE6 and Heir Audio A.4i and all sound very good. 

 

My main issue of using Phones as music sources is the fact that I have to keep disconnecting my headphones to answer calls and use the phone as a phone  excellent! therefore I tend to use my DIY iModded iPod as portable source, unless I want Spotify and then I will revert to my iPhone.

 

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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

I hear very little difference between a good conversion of a WAV file to 320 CBR MP3, on a good DAC, but I hear a big difference between the MP3 played to any headphone from the iphone4 and the same MP3 played by Foobar2000 on a computer through a DAC such as Dragonfly to the same headphone.

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quadpatch's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

Jason36 wrote:
However the sound quality does improve substantially when connected and externally amped by my TTVJ Slim portable amp.
I'm curious about the TTVJ stuff, I hear a lot of good things about them.

 

Jason36 wrote:
My main issue of using Phones as music sources is the fact that I have to keep disconnecting my headphones to answer calls and use the phone as a phone
This never bothers me because people generally don't call me Tongue. I guess the new neadphones that tend to have mics and buttons on them help a lot here. I just wish the different phones were compatible with each other.

dalethorn wrote:

I hear very little difference between a good conversion of a WAV file to 320 CBR MP3, on a good DAC, but I hear a big difference between the MP3 played to any headphone from the iphone4 and the same MP3 played by Foobar2000 on a computer through a DAC such as Dragonfly to the same headphone.

Same here. I guess I never made that clear because I presumed it was obviously like this. I'm certainly not saying that an IPhone 4 is a good alternative to a good amp and/or DAC.

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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

quadpatch wrote:

Jason36 wrote:
However the sound quality does improve substantially when connected and externally amped by my TTVJ Slim portable amp.
I'm curious about the TTVJ stuff, I hear a lot of good things about them.

 

Jason36 wrote:
My main issue of using Phones as music sources is the fact that I have to keep disconnecting my headphones to answer calls and use the phone as a phone
This never bothers me because people generally don't call me Tongue. I guess the new neadphones that tend to have mics and buttons on them help a lot here. I just wish the different phones were compatible with each other

 

Hi Quadpatch,

Ive not had the TTVJ Slim for that long yet, so will hold off on a full review for a while longer, and till I have also had a chance to test it with all my headphones and IEM's, especially my new Heir Audio A.4i when they arrive from the States.

 

However initial impressions are that the Slim has a widened soundstage, everything seems more airy, and instrumental separation is taken up a notch.  bass seems to be tightened up, sped up a click, and brought forward. It also seems to have super sweet mids. Its also very slim, so sits nicely with either my iPhone 4S or Slim iPod Video (which now has a 120Gb SSD fitted).

I have also just bought a pair of V-Moda M-80 Crossfade Headphones (in white) for £50.00 off a very well know auction site. These were an unwanted present, still boxed and sealed. The buyer wouldnt post so had to be local collection and I think I got them for a steal. If I dont like them I certainly wont lose anything on them Tongue out

 

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quadpatch's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

Thanks for the great info on the TTVJ Slim Jason Smile. Oh wow, congrats on getting the white V-Moda M-80! Great price!! Let us know what you think of it. I love mine, but I am getting the M-100 soon which will suit me more (even if the sound isn't any better) because I still find the M-80's too uncomfortable after a while of use (like any on-ear).

I got the SoundMAGIC HP100 and Fostex T50rp this morning, listening to the Fostex right now and a friend is playing with the SoundMAGIC, had a quick play with both though. Both seem interesting but the SoundMAGIC I can tell is going to be a favourite, super comfy and isolation is amazing so that will probably be my new office choice. I think the V-Moda M-100 will be less isolatiing and more powerful on the low end, but we will see, might be getting them this week. Coming from America so can't be sure... I love headphones!.. can you tell? Tongue

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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

Since Innerfidelity apparently made the Logitech 6000 their favorite closed headphone in Passive mode, I did a direct comparison to the v-moda M80. The M80 absolutely kills the 6000 in Passive mode. The M80 has a soft treble and the 6000 sounds like a blanket is over the speakers. The M80 has a neutral bass with a strong bottom end, and the 6000 is boomy beyond belief.

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quadpatch's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

dalethorn wrote:

Since Innerfidelity apparently made the Logitech 6000 their favorite closed headphone in Passive mode, I did a direct comparison to the v-moda M80. The M80 absolutely kills the 6000 in Passive mode. The M80 has a soft treble and the 6000 sounds like a blanket is over the speakers. The M80 has a neutral bass with a strong bottom end, and the 6000 is boomy beyond belief.

I'm really curious about this. You both seem to like it, one is passive and one in active. It's a real shame that they changed the signature so much in the different modes. Perhaps trying to appeal to a bigger audience. From what you say I'm surprised that Tyll liked them in passive mode, you both mention defective units so I have to wonder if the QA / reliability of the signature / quality is actually just all over the place.

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dalethorn's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

I wonder that myself. But since my two samples, the first defective in passive mode only, and the second one working 100 percent - the Active mode signature is completely identical for both sets, so I would guess the passive mode is probably consistent with what Tyll is hearing.

 

And you know, when your hearing gets adjusted to something that is way skewed, you have to get readjusted to proper fidelity before you can make judgements, which is why I always compare to my known references.

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ldimauro's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

Hi there

First of all thanks a lot for the thread, which I am finding very useful. So here it goes: I am looking for a new smartphone (my first one actually) and given that the only thing I would use it for except for calling and receiving calls is as a music player and recorder (either with with a dedicated external mic or with its own), I would find it useful for it to have a very good DAC.

I understand that the Galaxy S and S 3 have the Wolfson. Unfortunately it is difficult to uderstand the DACs used by other phone since it is often not specified. I would tend to prefer a non-Apple product because I do not like iTunes that much.

My only further need is that the phone be small. The S3 is really out of proportions for me.

Any advice?

Thanks

Luca

bigboss's picture
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RE: Smartphones for Audiophiles

ldimauro wrote:

Hi there

First of all thanks a lot for the thread, which I am finding very useful. So here it goes: I am looking for a new smartphone (my first one actually) and given that the only thing I would use it for except for calling and receiving calls is as a music player and recorder (either with with a dedicated external mic or with its own), I would find it useful for it to have a very good DAC.

I understand that the Galaxy S and S 3 have the Wolfson. Unfortunately it is difficult to uderstand the DACs used by other phone since it is often not specified. I would tend to prefer a non-Apple product because I do not like iTunes that much.

My only further need is that the phone be small. The S3 is really out of proportions for me.

Any advice?

Thanks

Luca

Not sure about which DAC is in it, but worth checking out:

http://www.whathifi.com/news/samsung-launches-galaxy-s-iii-mini-with-sma...

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