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Is it worth buying a dedicated music player for HRA if I already have a Galaxy Note 3?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks!

Title says it all, I currently have a galaxy note 3 which supports the newer 192/42 high resolution audio standards, but was wondering if a dedicated music player like the FiiO's X3, or the walkman F880 would give you better audio quality? I'm looking at getting some new in ear headphones, looking at either the EarSonics S-EM6, shure SE846, Sennheiser IE800, Sony XBA-H3 or AKG K3003i. Knowing phones normally have pretty crappy headphone amplifiers in them so I am a little worried about the note 3 being able to drive the higher end headphones efficiently. Especially since I have the boose sportsrange headphones, sound pretty decent, but even on highest volume there still really low.

Or even if I stick with my note 3 and grab a basic amp maybe the E12?

Also wanted to ask the high resolution headphones Sony has on there website, they seem to be the only ones calling it that, everyone else, shure for instance call their drivers high definition. Is there a difference between the two, or is it just marketing jumbo?


Last thing where's a good place to purchase 192/24bit FLAC music? Spent a while last night searching for high resolution track sites but most, like HD tracks, only offer classic, pop, dance, can't really find anyone who offers the old rock music like ACDC, G&R, Metallica, I was trying to find.

Thanks for your advice!

post #2 of 4

I can't comment on whether a dedicated player would sound better since I haven't heard your phone, but in general I'd say dedicated players sound better than phones.

I also wouldn't bother buying 'high res' music. It's not worth it.

post #3 of 4

I wouldn't bother with high-res files on a phone, unless it can pass them at native resolution through its digital output (USB OTG, for example) and then I can use it as my music server with my main systems and also on the go, and that's assuming one can hear enough difference through high-res. Even so, when you do use the analog output on the phone, the problem there is whether redbook or high res, you're still sending it through an integrated audio chip that doesn't have a proper analogue stage* to hook up to an amp in case you need one. Of course it has its advantages in terms of designing a phone, so just get a fairly efficient IEM to use with it.


However, just to illustrate one problem with near-religion levels of belief in objective measurements** regarding the difference between a simplistic sinewave/sweep test tone and real music with complex dynamics, the Fiio X3 and Samsung Galaxy S3 both measure flat on a test tone, but on my IEM, the S3 sounds relatively "dark" and bass isn't as tight. Like I said above, I would put more faith in the analogue section of the X3 than its DAC taken in isolation if I am to hypothesize why they sound different.



*Or in the case of the newer amp designs, a "powered DAC," or one that eliminates the analogue output stage after the DAC (which while necessary for proper amplification in a regular circuit can also introduce distortions of its own if badly designed) and feeds the signal directly into a poweramp and uses a digital-level volume control


**although I put more faith in these over sensationalist subjective feedback

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info guys! I think I'll stick with my note 3 and get a decent amp to hook it up to. Just pure volume wise would there be any difference between how loud the Sony XBA-H3 headphones can go than the others above like the shures? Really want to get the Sony ones since there pretty much 1/3 the price, but I've had the XBAs before and when I hooked them up to my phone you could barely hear them it didn't have enough power to drive them, so I hooked them up to a portable amp and on higher volume they sounded so bad, like what happens when you put a $1000 dollar amplifier and head unit in your car, but leave the stock speakers. In that regard under amplification would something like the shures, or sennheisers be a better choice than the sonys?


Also where would be a good place to purchase old rock music? Looks like I wont be able to get high res material they have not been re released. But most of my music is really old crappy mp3 files, so I at least want to move up to lose less FLAC files if I can.

Wish I kept all my CDs :(

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