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iphone 4 sound quality - Page 14

post #196 of 332

As for my 3GS goes i think that as well. No phone comes even close for as for music playback goes. In fact you need to pair an amplifier to any other phone or even dap to get such a powerful hp out. (Talking about mainstream devices here not imods or hifiman stuff).

 

I guess that 10 years making daps gave Apple an important edge over the cellphone competitors.


Edited by elfary - 9/29/10 at 7:40am
post #197 of 332

The mids with vocals in particular does come a very little bit more forward. iPhone 4 also sounds more crisp - I guess that means a bit more emphasis on the upper mids. Generally the whole sound-image is just a wee bit brighter and more airy - which I like a lot ( I am a Grado fan afterall.) Definition and resolution has also become better. We are not talking night and day but still audible. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post


Thanks. I believe that the veill on the 5.5G is all the infamous crap in the signal path - hence the success of the iMod. (Sttill we are also talking different DAC chips here.)

 

How would you compare the mids?
 

post #198 of 332

I spent the better part of an afternoon comparing the iPhone 4 hp out with the uDac hp out. The conclusion I came to was that with IEMs there is barely any difference. One moment I'd prefer one then next I'd prefer the other...no winner. So with IEMs there would be no need for wishing the camera kit to work with iPhone 4 in order to plug in the uDac (IMO etc.).

 

With higher impedance headphones there is a larger and noticeable difference - especially at higher volumes. Bass goes deeper and is actually there. the amp in the iPhone can't keep up with the uDac in this scenario.

 

I'll be ordering the uDac-2 upgrade as soon as it's available (today?) and report back of any noticeable improvements.  

post #199 of 332

Anyone noticed a difference in sound quality after updating from Firmware 4.01 to 4.1 on the iphone 4?

post #200 of 332

Glad I found this thread, lots of great info. Recently upgraded from a 2G Touch to the iPhone 4. I didn't hook it up to anything other than the included earbuds for the first couple of weeks as my first case was too tiny around the headphone jack. 

 

Since I got another case I've put the iPhone to work with my better phones and and in the car, wired into the deck, and it's been a bit of a shock. I listen to a lot of dance music and it feels painfully flat, increased sound fatigue, tones sound wrong, etc. I've fallen back to listening mostly to podcasts in the car because I just don't enjoy listening to any music on the iPhone and I've been using my good headphones less.

 

Nice to find this to know that I'm not going crazy. Would anyone who has had good experiences with using the EQ share what options have worked well for them? I was wondering if something was wrong with the iPhone, now I'm considering picking up another 2G touch (already sold mine, unfortunately) to use for more discriminating listening.

post #201 of 332

I have just bought an ipod touch 4g (8g) because when i upgraded the remote 2 on my iphone 3g, it was really buggy and I also wanted a nice retina display and smaller formfit to use in bed, when listening to my HD650s through an AX.

 

After reading this post on my new ipod touch I decided to do a little bit of a sound comparison between the iphone 3g and new ipodtouch 4g.  

 

The sound source was the armin van buren state of trance podcast 137, using  HD555 & px200 phones.

 

The iphone 3g definitely has more bass than the ipod touch with the HD555, the kick drum pounds through especially on track 3, with a much deeper and impacting bass. The bass is much duller on the ipod touch. For this sort of music and listening with the HD555 phones, there is no way you would prefer the ipod touch 4G.   There is also a digital edge to the ipod touch, a digital  type sound. On the plus side for the new ipod touch is that there does seem to be a clearer mid to high end and slightly better spatial separation.

 

Next I tried the PX200 closed headphone for a more portable use (Which also uses different impedance). Once again there is less bass so I figure it must have a puny headphone amp compared with the iphone 3g.  There is a bright sound to it, plus a harsh digital edge.  Mids are to sharp. It does sound a little clearer but just doesnt have a musical signature to it. Iphone 3g is definitely much better.

 

I decided not to test the apple ear buds as I really only use them with my ipod shuffle when I go running or cycling. To me the Iphone 3G wins hands down compared to the ipod Touch 4G.  I had to put the touch down after a few minutes whereas with the iphone I could listen for a long time.  I havent heard an iphone 4 but I assume it must have a better headphone amp than the ipod Touch. My concern with the ipod touch was the "digital edge" sonic signature, which might be the onboard DAC. 

 

I then listened to the podcast on my HD650 and Firestone Libby Headphone AMP/DAC from an AX and I have to say that the iphone 3g and Sennheiser HD555 is tremendous value, particularly when you can walk about listening to music (even if u look like a tool). If you can pick up a secondhand 3G with good battery life and a pair of 555's you have amazing portable audio at a really good price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #202 of 332

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDYACE View Post

I decided to do a little bit of a sound comparison between the iphone 3g and new ipodtouch 4g. 

That's great, but this is an iPhone4 thread 

post #203 of 332

So, having just purchased my new iPhone 4 that had replaced my 2 month old iPhone 3GS (how's that for a Headfi special!), I thought I should do some research on what to expect sound-wise and do some A-B for you guys with the following equipment:

 

Ety ER-4P IEMs

iPhone 3GS

iPhone 4

Cowon S9

 

I could have thrown in the Cowon A4 as well and even the iRiver H120 which I have here but they'd be hard to find (it's bad enough being tempted by the latest gear without having some old fogie like me raving about the H120 and boosting eBay prices wink.gif and anyway the H120 is definitely one of the greatest DAPs ever produced - quite possibly THE greatest. That aside, I think the above is a pretty solid comparison for the purposes of this thread.

 

I'll say up-front that the test wasn't very scientific - no blind testing and no switching box so it's still pretty subjective. Music used was a mix of electronica, classical and rock.

 

Soundstage

 

Well, the iPhone 4 surprised here - I just wasn't expecting that "blackness" that one of the earlier posts referred to. It's definitely there in spades, especially on the classical tracks.

 

iPhone 3GS lacked the depth of the iPhone 4 and was much more 2 dimensional. Instrument separation that was obvious on the iPhone 4 wasn't so obvious on the 3GS.

 

S9 had a comparable soundstage to the iPhone 4. As I said above, this aspect surprised me the most as I've never reached for a phone as my go-to DAP.

 

The ETYs are world class at producing detailed soundstaging so I put it down to plain old bloody good DACs on the iPhone 4.

 

Rating:

 

1. S9

2. iPhone 4 (close second or even a tie with the S9)

3. iPhone 3GS

 

Stereo Separation/Positioning

 

Here I was looking for the quality of being able to pinpoint instruments within the soundstage. Given the depth of soundstage on the iPhone 4 and S9, this process was fairly simple. Once again, a big surprise from the iPhone 4. Consequently, ratings are the same as above.

 

Volume and Distortion

 

The ETYs take a bit of power to get going so all devices needed to be played at higher volume than I'd prefer. Somewhere in the 70-85% range.

 

I didn't notice any real differences between the three devices in their ability to produce decent volumes. However where we see the real gap is in the distortion produced, in particular during spikes in the recorded sounds (e.g. during orchestral climaxes or going from quiet passages to loud ones quickly). On this score, the S9 moves easily ahead of the other devices, mainly because S9's well-regarded on-board amplification.

 

It would be impossible to pick a winner if you're using a dedicated amp but purely on the headphone outputs, I score as follows:

 

1. S9 (by a healthy margin)

2. iPhone 4

3. iPhone 3GS

 

Fatigue

 

This follows on from my findings on distortion - I found it quite fatiguing to listen to both iPhones after extended listenings. That might be fixed by using more sensitive IEMs or playing them through a dedicated amp but they weren't really suited to long trips. I've used the S9's already on extended trips and this is a great travelling DAP, even before you take into account the fact that the S9 smokes the iPhone for video playback.

 

As between the 3GS and iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 handled peaks and overall distortion noticeably better overall.

 

Ranking:

 

1. S9 - by a fair margin

2. iPhone 4

3. iPhone 3GS

 

Other Considerations:

 

iPhone is limited by codecs - the S9 definitely isn't. I'm still amazed that after the Sony Minidisc debacle of the 90's that Apple still manages to get away with codec limitations and transfer restrictions. Admittedly the corporates have learnt a lesson or two from Sony's gross misreading of the market for digital music but it would be nice for Apple to at least acknowledge the more popular open-source codecs out there such as OGG and FLAC.

 

All reviewed devices suffer (and I use that word advisedly) from *%&%&, $^&#**% annoying proprietary cables. Cowon made the big leap into proprietary docking cables last year with the S9 and the community has been peeved ever since. With the J3, Cowon seems to have stuck to their guns so not many players left who care about the environment and wasted cables. I did a clean out of my house last month and had to discard about 30kg of cables, power adapters and assorted paraphernalia from audio gear and unused DAPs. This would have been massively reduced had manufacturers stuck to the "standards" they developed in the first place. Rant over...

 

UI - S9's UI is a debacle of the first order. That's exacerbated by the underpowered on-board processor and graphics processing so the whole experience stutters and wobbles. 3GS and iPhone 4 have no problems in this area. Both phones are silky smooth both during screen-transitions and during song browsing.

 

Build quality - S9 and iPhone 4 are beautiful pieces of engineering, with Cowon first to use Gorilla Glass as a screen. The Cowon is significantly lighter as well. However the iPhone design and engineering is off the scale in so many ways that I'm still speechless when I put my good eyeball up close to take a look.

 

Conclusion:

 

The iPhone 4 is a surprise package - I never really bought into the whole Apple thing as I found earlier iPods and nanos lacking the audiophile quality that the competition were easily producing, time after time. Now, it seems the technology has really moved everyone closer. Apple's DACs seem to be better, noise levels have dropped and the convergence principles seem to be paying off for the consumer.

 

I'd hate to think what Cowon would produce if they attempted convergence and built phones into their DAPs What they have done however is set the audio standard that a company such as Apple can use to improve the audio quality on their own devices. I think the iPhone 4 is an incredible example of that.

post #204 of 332

Very nice  le_paulo! Thank you very much!  =)

post #205 of 332

 

 

Quote:
That's great, but this is an iPhone4 thread

 

 

Even if it is an iphone 4 thread, if you had read previous posts, you would have read that there were people asking about the sound quality of an ipod touch 4G.  Also the ipod touch 4g uses the same DAC as the iphone 4 and iphone 3gs. There were also posts about the the different audio boards between the iphone 3g (wolfson) and iphone 3gs/4.

 

 

According to website ifixit---http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Touch-4th-Generation-Teardown/3562/3 "On the far left is a 338S0859 chip. It's similar to the Cirrus Logic audio codec of the iPhone 4 (338S0589)"

 

From here we can gather that the only difference between the iphone 4 and ipod touch 4G is the headphone amp. I personally preferred the DAC on the iphone 3g.

 


Edited by ANDYACE - 10/10/10 at 11:24pm
post #206 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 

That's great, but this is an iPhone4 thread 

 


Even if it is an iphone 4 thread, if you had read previous posts, you would have read that there were people asking about the sound quality of an ipod touch 4G.  Also the ipod touch 4g uses the same DAC as the iphone 4 and iphone 3gs. There were also posts about the the different audio boards between the iphone 3g (wolfson) and iphone 3gs/4.

 

 

According to website ifixit---http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Touch-4th-Generation-Teardown/3562/3 "On the far left is a 338S0859 chip. It's similar to the Cirrus Logic audio codec of the iPhone 4 (338S0589)"

 

From here we can gather that the only difference between the iphone 4 and ipod touch 4G is the headphone amp. I personally preferred the DAC on the iphone 3g.

 

post #207 of 332

le_paolo, thanks for this comprehensive review. Very useful.

post #208 of 332

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ANDYACE View Post

Even if it is an iphone 4 thread, if you had read previous posts, you would have read that there were people asking about the sound quality of an ipod touch 4G.  Also the ipod touch 4g uses the same DAC as the iphone 4 and iphone 3gs. There were also posts about the the different audio boards between the iphone 3g (wolfson) and iphone 3gs/4.

 

According to website ifixit---http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-Touch-4th-Generation-Teardown/3562/3 "On the far left is a 338S0859 chip. It's similar to the Cirrus Logic audio codec of the iPhone 4 (338S0589)"

 

From here we can gather that the only difference between the iphone 4 and ipod touch 4G is the headphone amp. I personally preferred the DAC on the iphone 3g.


Still, you may want to post your impressions of the iTouch 4g here as well 


Edited by grokit - 10/11/10 at 12:30am
post #209 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 


Still, you may want to post your impressions of the iTouch 4g here as well 


That's what I was thinking too. Andy's good work should be directed to those who will really benefit.

post #210 of 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post


That's what I was thinking too. Andy's good work should be directed to those who will really benefit.


Thanks for the advice, my post might have been a bit tangential so am going to the other thread.

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