So, I just received the Note 3, version 9005, Europen 4g version, Nordic version, White, call it whatever you want, but I think you have a good grasp of which model I am referring to. So thought I'd write some thoughts regarding this phablets audio performance.
My opinion of the audio output through the speakers is that it is rather tinny but loud enough though. This view is shared by most others, so there seem to be a consensus regarding the speakers.
Now, regarding the audio output through the 3.5 mm jack. I used my Phonak Audeo pfe 232 to test some music just after charging it. I would like to state before writing my impressions that I am in no way any audophile though I do enjoy quality gear and quality sound, as you might have already suspected due to my high-end in ear headphones. So I don't really know all the audiophilic terms. Anyways, so what are my thoughts of the audio? (SKIP TO SUMMARY IF LAZY)
The sound quality WASN'T anyway near the expectations formed from the few reviews on the forum which praised the audio quality. First of all, my Phonak Audeo pfe 232 together with the Iphone 5 and Iphone 4/4s really has a top notch high-end performance. On the Note 3, this is much less pronounced and is nowhere near as good. It simply isn't there. Also the bass on the Note 3 is very slow rather than quick and punchy. For me, this tires the ears much quicker than an accurate bass. However, these "problems" weren't actually any big problems until my sister left me and I could listen to the device alone. Then the REAL problem revealed itself.
Let me explan. The sound is best described as relaxed and laid-back. It is quite enjoyable to listen to, though, instrument seperation and accentuation isn't the best. Now, the BIG PROBLEM is the background noise it makes when listening to ANY track. I first noticed it when listening to Rachmaninoff tracks, FLAC coded. The noise can be described as for instance my computer fan which is apparent besides me right now or anything like that. Such noises are usually heared in old recordings. So I thought it was like that too in this case. But I was wrong. This background noise is actually sounding in every track I've tested so far. It is almost inaudible when in the low volumes like 1-3, then it grows i a constant return to higher volumes to use economics terms . Higher volumes mean more of this "fan noise". But in tracks which aren't quite loud and can outpower the fan noise, this isn't "as much" of a problem as you don't really hear the noise, HOWEVER, once you hear this noise, you won't be able to stop thinking about it, at least this is the case fore me. For me, this is a dealbreaker, and I am lucky to be able to return this phone within a two week trial period.
SUMMARY: An audible background noise apparent in every track which grows louder with the increase in volume.
So this was my thoughts on the sound quality of the Note 3, 9005. I don't think I would have written this review if the device performed better as I really would have no incentives of doing so. But I do feel like it is my responsibility to you, audiophiles and music lovers alike, to tell you "the truth" or what my ears have told me. Also it is important because my view is quite contradictory to the other reviewers. But as I said, the background noise is not that apparent with fast- and loudgoing music as opposed to slow or low volume tracks.
Also, I'd like to hear that I tested both the Adaptive sound, and without the feature. The "difference" was, to my ears, better and more exciting sound, but most of that was due to the adaptive sound basically increasing the volume. So it didn't really change anything but it did make the background noise stronger in relation to its increase in sound volume.
My test music consisted of:
1) Rachmaninoff - A Window in Time, FLAC
2) Iron Maiden, 320kbps
3) Epicon - Europe FLAC
5) Cantonese Pop Music, soft, calm and melodic tunes
It would be nice to hear from more people with the same experience as me or if you have had better experiences than I am having. Contact me for any questions or thoughts. Also, I wonder how the LG G2 pair against Iphone 5. Before when I hade the 5 and 4s I quite enjoyed the sound, though the equalizers sucked big time.
Edited by chinesep1mp - 11/7/13 at 3:27pm