Best Smartphone for audiophile Part II (Updated: Mar 2018)

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by artpiggo, Jun 19, 2017.
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  1. tienbasse
    Because it's not an upgrade soundwise, and all Meizu Pro/Pro Plus since 6 have lost microsd expansion ability, so they all come limited to 64/128Gb, which is a misery unless you live in a area where network quality is good enough for streaming.
  2. InfyAsiX
    I grabbed an Axon 7 recently as a secondary device, primarily for multimedia consumption. With the likes of its AKM DAC, quality 2K OLED, Dolby Atmos front facing stereo speakers, relatively recent powerful SD820 SOC and Daydream VR support. It find it suits my demands for a multimedia device really well and is unmatched for these features. As it was released around a year and a half ago and discontinued, they can be found cheap. As for actual usage, being a budget flagship I find some root system modding is necessary to ensure some things are quality. Though even something like the V30 still requires a number of these mods to receive similar functionality. One downside of being a Chinese product is to date no device has included L1 Widevine DRM certification for HD paid video streaming. It's a recent restriction taking a step back from the ease of access content delivery that popularised streaming in the first place. I guess one obvious alternative is to having to rely on non DRM methods of getting content, which kind of defeats the intent and purpose the DRM requirement in the first place doesn't it?

    For your first question, I'm haven't got a measurement. However I've read that the EU Global variant is maximum volume limited, On my Global model I've flashed the US firmware with Global modems to avoid this. Though I've read some people think that recently Global firmware doesn't have this audio restriction anymore.

    For your second question I posted a mod link and description in this XDA thread that enables the AKM DAC for all sound output In fact that mod is for Android in general, it allows the system sound effects like equaliser to affect all audio like how it was prior to 5.0 Lollipop. I don't use hi-res files as Viper4Android which is crucial for it's parametric graphic equalizer for all sound outputs at 48kHz, also I prefer the convenience of reasonably sized files and streaming,

    Another simple but important mod for audio is increasing the available volume steps. The biggest non-audio mod I require is custom thermal throttling for gaming performance for example.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
    lxlx and docentore like this.
  3. docentore
    Thanks. So just to sum up:
    1. Unlock bootloader, flash TWRP recovery
    2. Install Universal deep_buffer Remover from the OP you have linked
    3. Install V4A - this is necessary I understand?
    4. Enjoy AKM output system-wide

    Sorry for noob questions, my android modding stopped and Android 3.0 level, just I think I need to do some research on V4A, Magisk etc.
    InfyAsiX likes this.
  4. mx19
    Honestly? I wouldn't even consider any Sony smartphone. None of them has dedicated DAC. I was looking for compact flagship smartphone with DAC for years now I finally decided to buy flat Galaxy S7 with Exynos (and Cirrus Logic DAC - if you have an Exynos unit. The Snapdragon versions don't have dedicated DAC).
    And it sounds really good. The key thing IMO is to install Poweramp alpha 704 (from poweramp website) - it's the first version that recognises 192/24bit DAC and gives you the chance to use directly Hi-Res output. The 2nd key thing is to use the DVC - direct volume control option - it just bypassed all those Android and Samsung s*** software limitations in terms of power delivery.
    Poweramp just plays class above other players level (like samsung music or google music etc.) and unlocks the DAC's potential.

    Of course it won't beat things like the V30 with quad Sabre DAC or Meizu Pro 5 with Sabre DAC and Texas Instruments AMP etc. but I can't think of any Sony's smartphone that could be even close. Well at least if you have an Exynos version. If you have a SD one, then it's a different story...
  5. InfyAsiX
    No worries. That's a long time ago, back when I got my first Android but I've always kept up with modding along the way. Before you start make sure you've fully read the general guides for your target device and setup. The Axon 7 isn't very friendly for modding but it does have a decent community and most of the required information shared. I would only recommend doing it if you're willing to put some time getting through the possibly tricky process and understand the risks.

    1. I think unlocking bootloader downgrades your ROM so you need the new ROM files too. If you're going to switch region ROM, it would be here too.
    2. Yes. I can't seem to get Magisk up to 14.5 that I've tested having it's modules working, only it's root superuser function. Therefore to install to system rather than as a Magisk system-less module, that mod allows flash system installing it without Magisk (or before installing Magisk).
    3. Yes, but it's optional. I just meant it's a must have for it's equaliser, though it prevents hi-res when in use which is something I don't care for. Link here I prefer the old version for its UI and graphic equaliser. Also you will need root and SELinuxModeChanger app for V4A to work on non-systemless.
    4. Yes! Makes for some luxurious video watching :). Root superuser access actually isn't required except with optional V4A as per point 3. Without root you need to flash a to be able to boot, if you're using Axon7Toolkit it will do it automatically as part of the process.

    For more volume steps it's simple if Magisk modules are working, which it is in some cases but not in mine. It can be done with a simple file edit or in my case with another mod Xposed to get it working

    If you're stuck or confused look around on XDA or PM me to keep this thread on topic.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  6. InfyAsiX
  7. riso1983
    Any thoughts on Exynos 8895 in S8, the cirrus logic dac ? I know its no competition to sabre dacs but is the sound quality really that bad? Haven't heard it yet, that's why I'm asking anyone who already got experience. Thank you for any answer :)
  8. cocolinho
    just some words about the Meizu Pro 7 I compared yesterday for 30mn in a noisy environment vs my Sony ZX2/Fitear TG334.
    This is a fantastic device which compares very well with my Sony ZX2 (spotify 320k vs Flac for Pro7), I was impressed since I was expecting a larger difference between both devices... Maybe on a longer term, comparing flac vs flac or Spotify vs Spotify the difference will be greater, but based on my experience they sound close to each others.
    Overall the phone is a bargain for the chinese price. I ordered one and I'll compare it more extensively with my Sony
    hqssui likes this.
  9. riso1983
    Which version of pro7 the p25 or x30 ?
  10. Hariz Nordin
    I don't know whether this question has been asked.. I'm using an android phone with dragonfly black.. How do we charge our phones while using the DFB?
  11. Gosod
    what you say about Meizu u10?
  12. TheUnknow
    Pro 5 are hard to find .
    Used one ( if you find any ) is more expansive than brand new P6+ ...

    Also ... from what i have read :

    Pro 6 Plus (and P5) has dedicated amp chip .
    Pro 7 / Pro 7 Plus don't have dedicated amp , they use the one integrated to the Cirrus Logic, this chip does everything.
    So they are less powerful than P6+ (and P5) , they may not be able to drive high impedance headphone.

    P6+ sound a little warm compared to P5 , less " Sabre " .
  13. Gosod
    I have read that these two phones have similar functionality but how is it in terms of sound?
  14. Maylon
    Hi all,

    I'd like to humbly ask you for your recommendation for a new audiophile smartphone.

    Price range: 250 GBP/EUR
    IEM/ Headphone used: Shure SRH 440
    Screen size: as small as possible, looking for a compact smartphone
    What kind of sound you wanna get: more warm? more detail? bigger soundstage? more detail
    What kind of music you mainly listen: Pop? Rock? EDM? Orchestra? anything really, mostly rock jam - Phish, Grateful Dead, also electronic music
    Special request: long battery life is a must, microSD slot is a must as well, decent back camera would be a nice added value

    Thank you!

    P.S.: so far, I kinda liked what I read about these two babies, can anyone share their experience with them?

    Oukitel K10000 Pro - 160 EUR
    Xiaomi Redmi X4 - 150 EUR
  15. seanc6441
    Can anyone suggest a smartphone alternative to LG V20 for earbuds of 16-32ohm and some higher.

    My issue with the v20 other than failing to unlock it is as follows

    - Tonality too cold in low impendance mode. I’d prefer a slightly warm but detailed and balanced signature.
    - Tight bass, airy treble and a slightly forward or balanced natural midrange would be ideal. I found the v20 a little less natural and more bright and artificial sounding than I’d like.
    - lacks weight behind lower midrange and deeper vocals (a sabre dac issue?)
    - The best possible separation, imaging and soundstage from a mobile device would help my earbuds so i’m willing to spend a bit more on the best phone for audio.

    I don’t care about screen size too much it can be smaller than v20. I’d like android 8.0 if possible.

    Anything that would suit my needs? I will be using this as my only source and my daily phone so a newer phone would be best. Thanks!
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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