Just announced: HTC one A9 - audiophile smartphone?
Oct 20, 2015 at 11:07 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

wolfjeanne

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HTC just announced their new A9, and claim that it will be an audiophile-level audio player.
- they will resample 16bit to 24 bit (which I think is rather useless; not sure if native 24 bit 192KHz  is also supported) and include dolby surround support which is cool for films mainly I guess. source = htc site
- "very aspect, from the circuit board design to the placement of each electrical component is considered to reduce sound interference and minimize distortion". source = htc a9 audio page
- Their amp should be better than the competition. Android authority cites HTC claiming it should have double the power of competing smartphones.
- max 2 TB expandable miroSD memory according to the same android authority page, so I can finaly fit all my music onto a phone.
 
Looks cool, though the other specs are not always up to par with the same-budget competition
 
Any thoughts?
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 1:38 AM Post #2 of 36

Rpg2

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It looks to be a solid phone in general for those who want a simple midrange phone with no real deal breakers and a very reasonable asking price. It doesn't seem to lack in any particular area besides maybe the processor and GPU. I'm not familiar enough with its chipset to know for sure. Just realized it has a 1080p display instead of the typical 1440p QHD ones. The chipset should be more than sufficient for daily use and gaming, or so I hope. Meanwhile, the M7 and M8 did have a big leg up on the competition at the time in terms of audio quality. I do not doubt HTC when they say they've made the efforts to improve their music listening experience. They have more actual experience with products prioritizing phone audio than the upcoming LG V10, but that isn't to say LG will stumble their first time around.

It looks like with the release of the LG V10, there may be a paradigm shift in audio quality from all the phone manufacturers, especially if Samsung plans to add Sabre DACs to their phone lines. Audio has been one of the least marketed features in phones with minimal attention given to it. Almost every manufacturer has been prioritizing screen size, screen resolution, processors, RAM, camera, software features, and personalization instead. Chinese OEMs have been doing this for years, but now it's finally catching on in the western market.
 
Oct 22, 2015 at 7:23 AM Post #4 of 36

Mark66

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Points to consider especially when thinking about what this phone brings to the table vs something like the new LG v10
 
http://www.techradar.com/us/how-to/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/android-6-0-marshmallow-tips-and-tricks-1305407
 
Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system allows memory management - Flex storage
 
"While you can expand storage space in many Android devices with microSD cards (something we'd love Apple to consider), there was still a gap between what you could do with internal and external storage. 

With Flex Storage you can insert an SD card and Flex Storage will allow the memory card to act like internal memory, letting you install apps, games and more on the SD card without any extra fiddly settings. It will also encrypt your data so it can only be opened on your device."

 
And potential audio capabilities that are usable while streaming apparently -
 
from http://www.techradar.com/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/htc-one-a9-1307203/review
 

"All about the tunes

HTC's always been brilliant at making its phones sound brilliant, whether it's from using Boomsound front facing speakers, Dolby support to make movies and music sound amazing, or just sticking a dedicated amplifier in the mix to improve the level of sound output.

The brand has added all this into the mix again, but added in a decent DAC to help upscale all sound to 24-bit, 192Khz quality to make it sound as good as it can through the headphones. It'll support Hi-Res audio files (FLAC etc) and just tune any other music (even through Spotify) to make sure you get the best quality.

However, it's hard to say whether this is going to be enough of a game-changer, as LG, Samsung and Sony (the latter in particular) have been banging the Hi-Res audio drum for a long time now, and it's not really setting the world alight in terms of the 'must-have' feature of a new smartphone.

That said, the sound output is really rather good - I found myself reaching for the HTC One A9 when wanting to watch a new trailer or indulge in a spot of Spotify music thanks to the richness and level of detial pumping into my ears.

Is it needed? No, but it's a nice luxury."





 
Oct 29, 2015 at 4:23 AM Post #5 of 36

visanj

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  Audio has been one of the least marketed features in phones with minimal attention given to it. Almost every manufacturer has been prioritizing screen size, screen resolution, processors, RAM, camera, software features, and personalization instead

 
 
+1 Even I use to think, every manufacturer is worrying about camera and nobody is carrying about people like us who is more interested in sound. May be the number of audiophiles is not as much as camera enthusiasts
 
Any idea whats the DAC in HTC One A9? It will be nice if its Sabre or Wolfson
 
Oct 29, 2015 at 9:29 AM Post #6 of 36

visanj

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gsmarena audio test
 
TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
HTC One A9+0.01, -0.05-94.893.90.00090.076-94.0
HTC One A9 (headphones attached)+0.12, -0.06-94.092.80.00620.148-65.4
 
Oct 29, 2015 at 10:56 AM Post #7 of 36

Yubacore

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+1 Even I use to think, every manufacturer is worrying about camera and nobody is carrying about people like us who is more interested in sound. May be the number of audiophiles is not as much as camera enthusiasts
 

 
Good audio costs more to implement in terms of real estate inside the phone, and above all battery drain. Why bother when 95% of customers are fine with compressed music and the earbuds they got with their phone? Meanwhile, the quality of cameras on phones (and in general) have improved dramatically, both in resolution and low-light capacities especially. Everybody (not only camera enthusiasts!) can see the obvious difference, and want their selfies to have that extra pop.
 
Oct 29, 2015 at 11:52 PM Post #9 of 36

wolfjeanne

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Is this good? :)


Well, it's not bad and the graph in their audio test looks completely flat basically throughout the audible range (click!). I don't think one can hear most of these distortion levels. The stereo cross-talk, which GSM arena points out as being mediocre is not audible for example (not when it is linear anyway - see another thread and this paper), but most DAC's can easily do better.. Maybe the DAC then is of a lower quality than HTC claims...? I don't know; does not worry me too much.

I think these numbers do not say a whole lot. The iPhone 6s for example has better scores across the board, and so does HTC's own One M9, and almost all new phones have almost linear frequency graphs. I think it is the more powerful amp that makes this phone special in audio territory if anything, and that is not really measured apart from the comment that audio output is 'very loud'. Until someone hooks up a high resistance headphone and measures/listens we won't know a whole lot, because ultimately that is what a more powerful amp is made for.
 
Oct 30, 2015 at 2:32 AM Post #12 of 36

El guapo915

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I am really beginning to like this phone.I am going to order it before November 7th to take advantage of the promotional price. I will probably mate the phone with some Dunu DN-2000j earphones that I also have not yet purchased. I will post my impressions soon :laughing:
 
Oct 30, 2015 at 10:34 AM Post #13 of 36

HipHopScribe

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I went ahead and order this phone. It's not gonna be my main portable device (I have a ZX1 for that), but I think it'll be a decent backup when I wanna go really light and leave the ZX1 behind. 
 
Nov 8, 2015 at 10:12 AM Post #14 of 36

SeeSax

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Did any of you guys receive your phone yet? Looks like perhaps tomorrow? Curious to see how it sounds. I, too, would like to use it with my DN-2000Js
 
-Collin-
 
Nov 10, 2015 at 6:09 AM Post #15 of 36

heatofamatch

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Auditioned the A9 briefly in-store last week. The first impression is that it sounds clean, in fact I'd describe it as Samsung-clean -- the signature is different from my M8 which is a lot thicker.
 
I'm sure it's not bad by any means, but all the little things that add up to create HTC's identity (sound signature, stock music player) are gone from this thing.
 

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