Best Smartphone for audiophile Part II (Updated: Jan 2020)
Feb 18, 2022 at 3:18 PM Post #4,561 of 5,168
You need more than just a good DAC in a phone though. The true bottleneck is the quality of the amplifier. Even if you have the best DAC in your phone while the amp sucks you basically get close to zero quality. Stand-alone DACs, even the cheapest dongles, truly outshine 99% of smartphones because of the amp. Differences are exacerbated if your IEMs are quite demanding, for instance because of their sensitivity, impedance, or impedance behaviour across the whole frequency range. An amp with a lot of headroom can handle these things much better than an amp that barely has enough power to drive any IEM, and then we're not even talking about sound quality because of better quality parts.

drftr
I agree wholeheartedly with this!
 
Feb 19, 2022 at 2:42 AM Post #4,562 of 5,168
You need more than just a good DAC in a phone though. The true bottleneck is the quality of the amplifier. Even if you have the best DAC in your phone while the amp sucks you basically get close to zero quality. Stand-alone DACs, even the cheapest dongles, truly outshine 99% of smartphones because of the amp. Differences are exacerbated if your IEMs are quite demanding, for instance because of their sensitivity, impedance, or impedance behaviour across the whole frequency range. An amp with a lot of headroom can handle these things much better than an amp that barely has enough power to drive any IEM, and then we're not even talking about sound quality because of better quality parts.

drftr
Yip, and this is where dongles like the RU6 and Centrance Dacport HD come into a league of their own :).
 
Feb 19, 2022 at 12:19 PM Post #4,563 of 5,168
Just wondering if there's a reason you don't want the much newer UTWS5?

drftr

Didn't know that existed! Glad I do now. Is it worth the extra $50?

I know the "5" has a dedicated AKM DAC chip, aptX Adaptive support, and a slightly more analytical sound signature.

More info I will read through later (and for those who are interested as well):

You need more than just a good DAC in a phone though. The true bottleneck is the quality of the amplifier. Even if you have the best DAC in your phone while the amp sucks you basically get close to zero quality. Stand-alone DACs, even the cheapest dongles, truly outshine 99% of smartphones because of the amp. Differences are exacerbated if your IEMs are quite demanding, for instance because of their sensitivity, impedance, or impedance behaviour across the whole frequency range. An amp with a lot of headroom can handle these things much better than an amp that barely has enough power to drive any IEM, and then we're not even talking about sound quality because of better quality parts.

drftr

Shouldn't be too bad if the UTWS3 or UTWS5 can handle in-ears up to 20, maybe 25 ohms.

Of course I also have my V50 and Hidizs S9 Pro to wire up to if a certain config of mine isn't "wireless capable"
 
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Feb 22, 2022 at 7:46 PM Post #4,566 of 5,168
Didn't know that existed! Glad I do now. Is it worth the extra $50?

I know the "5" has a dedicated AKM DAC chip, aptX Adaptive support, and a slightly more analytical sound signature.

More info I will read through later (and for those who are interested as well):



Shouldn't be too bad if the UTWS3 or UTWS5 can handle in-ears up to 20, maybe 25 ohms.

Of course I also have my V50 and Hidizs S9 Pro to wire up to if a certain config of mine isn't "wireless capable"
I don't have anything to a/b, but I love the utws3. They were 70 and the utws5 was 140. I haven't had any problems with mine. They sound great with everything but my timeless which need an eff ton of power and which I only use wired with my btr5. I have to test more, but oddly enough the olina's sound better to me on the utws3's than wired btr5. My only iems out of over a dozen that this is true with.

I briefly tried the leas with the az09 pro's, and even on high gain and high performance mode they sounded bad to me. I'll have to try the olinas on them eventually. I'm a huge fan of the utws3.
 
Feb 25, 2022 at 2:00 AM Post #4,569 of 5,168
In my opinion the smartphone has to have a dedicated headphone socket (Bluetooth is a definite no) plus a quad DAC capable of playing high resolution files. Since the demise of LG smartphones the only current alternative I have encountered is the Redmi note pro series..
Is there a consensus as of now (Feb 22) which is the best smartphone for audiophile listening? Thanks,
 
Feb 25, 2022 at 2:22 AM Post #4,570 of 5,168
Is there a consensus as of now (Feb 22) which is the best smartphone for audiophile listening? Thanks,

In my opinion the smartphone has to have a dedicated headphone socket (Bluetooth is a definite no) plus a quad DAC capable of playing high resolution files. Since the demise of LG smartphones the only current alternative I have encountered is the Redmi note pro series..

I dunno about "best" since each phone has it's own unique configuration of supported codecs, DAC-Amp hardware, speaker/DAC/amp tuning, power output, price point, etc.

To me at least the ROG Phone 5 is probably the definitive "audio enthusiast flagship phone" right now for it's latest hardware, huuuge battery, and 8-channel Sabre DAC chip.

But any phone with a 3.5mm jack and sizable battery (Galaxy M51 for example) will work too if paired with a good wired or wireless dongle like the BTR5, UTWS3/5, Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt, Cayin RU6, or Hidizs S9 Pro and anything else with a decent upper-midrange to flagship DAC chip + AMP circuitry.

For more info here are some lists posted earlier that I plan on updating quarterly:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/bes...part-ii-updated-jan-2020.853115/post-16823865
 
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Feb 25, 2022 at 9:46 AM Post #4,572 of 5,168
I am stealing the greased penguins comments, nailed it!!! I own LG V10 and G7, and HTC 10. I am so eager to hear an AKM dac-based device for the analog, velvet sound. Are the Axon 7 (mini) the only options? Of all phones, I prefer V10. As for headphones... I have Focal Listen Pro and HD 599 SE, and CCA C12.
 
Feb 27, 2022 at 7:03 PM Post #4,575 of 5,168
Am I correct that Vivo no longer includes a dedicated DAC in their phones? I cannot see any mention of one for the X70 range etc.
i think only the X70 Pro+ with CS43131 like the X60 Pro+. This screenshot is from their x70 launch event. But it has very very limited availability outside of China, and doesn't have a built in 3.5mm jack, so you need a passive usb-c to 3.5mm adapter.

Screenshot 2022-02-28 at 07.59.28.png
 

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