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Best Smartphone for audiophile Part II (Updated: Jan 2020)

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by artpiggo, Jun 19, 2017.
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  1. artpiggo
    Previous Thread: https://www.head-fi.org/f/threads/best-smartphone-for-audiophile.662095/

    Please help rectify my Table if spec is wrong. Any recommendation is welcomed.

    Google Doc for Smartphone Table

    Note: "Recommended" is based on my preference only.
    - From 2013-2015, I use UE900 as reference.
    - 2016-2017 I use 1964 U12 + Brimar Cable as reference.
    - 2018 onward, I use Fitear 335DWSR + custom cable (VK)
    Always take this list with a grain of salt.
    Remember, you have no need to believe my opinion will be same as yours. :) You always have your own preference and ears to believe in yourself.

    Note2: Price Range is just approximate number and might vary in different countries. For some devices, it is based on second hand price because I can't find the whole new one ever.

    Inconvenient Truth

    The best way to enjoy real and pure music is from Stock music player because it is the only way that software engineer can bypass android’s 48kHz sampling rate limitation and let you enjoy native sampling rate when 44.1KHz is using 22MHz clock and 48kHz or 96kHz are using 24MHz clock with no sampling rate converter. So it is the true sound that company proudly gives to you.

    Good News: Neutron is supporting bit-perfect playback for most Hi-Res android device.
    For those who own ESS, AKM chip based smartphone and love Neutron music player's simple UI with great Network Playing Functionality.
    Please try setting in Audio Hardware Setting in the app by following http://neutronmp.com/forum_nmp/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4014

    It is working really well with my vivo xplay6. It is bit-perfect playback and I really enjoyed it.

    Confirmed Devices:
    Neutron Hi-Res setting support for vivo xplay6, Letv x900, meizu Pro5, All LG V series, huawei p10 etc.
    Neutron Hi-Res setting not support for Lenovo vibe x3


    Neutron setting for exclusive vivo xplay6 users

    Smartphone News / Leak
    - LG V30 Audio Spec

    - Vivo might launch fingerprint sensor on screen in new model in MWC 2017 at Shanghai

    Good Posts / Discussions on Last "Best Smartphone for audiophile" Thread

    - LG V20 vs Meizu Pro 5 mini review by yfei

    - Adapter to activating high gain in vivo xplay6 and aux mode in LG V20 and G6

    IMG_20170507_194704.jpg IMG_20170507_194738.jpg
    Left: 3.5 to 2.5 adapter if your cable is terminated for balanced DAP
    Right: use cable extender if you use normal 3.5 single end IEM

    How Quad DAC in LG V20 and G6 works

    Find new Smartphone Review on sound quality? Try search in

    Vivo will get Oreo update on x9, x20 series and xplay 6 launch in Apr 18

    Ainur SAURON MK I.IV.II mod from XDA
    Credit to @lantian

    How to use 2 sim + 1 mirco SD card for hybrid slot smartphone.
    Credit to @oyabass

    If you want to ask for Smartphone recommendation, please follow this format
    Price range:
    IEM/ Headphone used:
    Screen size:
    What kind of sound you wanna get: more warm? more detail? bigger soundstage?
    What kind of music you mainly listen: Pop? Rock? EDM? Orchestra?
    Special request: Need dual camera / higher than snapdragon 820 / No Chinese smartphone etc.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  2. stenog
    Excellent artpiggo, thanks for the hard work :).
    andrewski likes this.
  3. lisztian420
    Good job. The list seems accurate!
  4. robervaul
    Nice thread.
    I'd like to know about OP5 DAC/AMP infos.
    Sebilion likes this.
  5. lantian
    Great seeing this, good job. The axon 7 specs are correct, though it also has ak4961 for general system and phone calls. Axon 7 mini has the ak4962ECB, which to me seems to be flat.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  6. minhdelsol
    Wasn't the Pro 5 from late of 2015 ? Talking about Meizu I think you left out the Pro 6, it got DAC as well tho not as good.
    BTW, great effort for summing things up and especially thank you for having recommended me to go for the Pro5. Loving that phone ever since
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  7. tienbasse
    Thanks for the table.
    A welcome addition would a column indicating the presence/absence of microsd slot.

    Because 50% of these phones fail miserably at ONE thing: storage!!!
    No microsd is just no-go unless the phone has at least 128Gb of internal ram.
    rantrile likes this.
  8. bataskhayal7
    Yes new home! Thanks artpiggo! Still rockin my V10 and still have no urgency to change. For now at least.
  9. artpiggo
    Update as requested. Please help cross check if you are free.

    I am updating Google Doc Link. Please help try if you can only read and not overwritten any things.
  10. s4tch
    nice work, thanks! just a little correction: lg g6 quad is called h870ds, it's easier to find it this way.
  11. DeeCee
    you might be in luck http://www.androidauthority.com/meet-lg-g6-plus-specs-price-release-date-780522/ hopefully quad dac is global so i dont have to buy imported phone

  12. Terran Earthson
    Hey, i see Huawei P9 Lite which according to many reviews, has a pretty decent audio quality, even some special audiochip, and cost about 160$ on aliexpress, which is affordable.
    Any downsides from the sellers, why phone is so cheap, it cost about 260$ when released, why sudden drop in price?
  13. Celso Almeida
    Great list, as I compared G6 quad dac with xplay 6 I have some observations: G6 with adapter has incredible sound, incredible same, crisp, crystalline and flat, sounded more powerful than xplay 6. On the other hand Xplay 6 with DSD mode is Very, very good, sounded more detailed but in my perception not so much crystalline as the G6. I think they are very close, each with its particularity, I think G6 is already in the limit of improvements, Xplay 6 still think they can improve with updates.
    Use adapter in both, the sound changes completely, even at low volumes, creates body, life and extension.
  14. Gusse
    Yes the xplay6 with adapter sounds crazy good, even with my Lz a4, which isn't a high end iem.

    Will you say the LG g6 is better than xplay6 without adapter?
    afico likes this.
  15. teesui
    Wow! Thanks for the list! Perfect reference for me as I'm in the market for a new smartphone.

    It's probably because P10 LIte is out....so sellers are trying to clear stock of the obsolete model.
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