LG-V10 Hi-Fi audio quality review on serious audio performance
Oct 21, 2015 at 3:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1,179

Whitigir

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Sound Signature: Very Flat, and of good resolution and clarity. I love it ! The best of smartphones that I have came across so far. Read on to find out more details:D

Today my LG V10 has arrived. I had been looking out for an audiophile grade smartphone for a while now. Unfortunately, it had been years that only the Chinese company took audio quality on smartphone seriously with various quality DAC and Amp combinations. But as native China phone for its own market, they are not US networks friendly. My version I bought was unlocked, but it is not an "international version" which means it has some Korea carriers Bloatwares and logo on it.

I, myself had gone through various phones, and was mainly focused onto it audio performance, just until last year that I gave up, and then I went out to buy Walkman ZX2. :D

So, now, LG came out with a phone that really care about us, audiophiles folk, and with serious hardware into it. Sabre ESSAY DAC and amp. Even though I have Note 4 and ZX2, hell, I welcome V10 full open arms, and non of the less very excited about it. So exciting that I had to buy one as soon as I could.

Please, everybody, welcome the Lg V10. The first smartphone from a reputable company with high quality audio DAC and OP-amp.

Please follow this link to read more about the technology that the V10 packed on into it
http://www.esstech.com/files/2314/4372/5609/Clean_LG_Press_Release_0-01-2015.pdf

Better yet: we have removable micro SD which can support up to 2tb in capacity just like many other tech sites mentioned. I don't know if it is true or not, but Yupe! Then we have 3000 mah battery which is removable. Then quick charge ability to get 60% in 30-40 minutes.




The phone pricing is very reasonable for what it is (685$ in Korea) probably around 650$ for the U.S. . The design is sleek and beautiful. Compare to the note 5, I would say the V10 look more sleek, and more luxurious. The large screen is with very slim bezels which were made by stainless steel. My version is white, and the bezels are copper gold in color. It is very smooth to the touch.






On the back of the phone there will be a stack-able slot, which is the slot for a SIM card underneath, and Micro SD on top of it.

Every buttons are on the back, and underneath the main camera. Power, finger sensor, volume controls, snap picture, and no other buttons on the sides like Note 4. The note 4 side buttons are actually annoying. Because I can not use it in 1 hand as my grip will always catch these buttons.

There is a second screen on the top right corner, and the signature can be customized, the music player controls can be utilized here, even with the main screen off, which is like any dedicated DAP



There is normal DAC which is regular Snapdragon I believe, but there is a toggle to turn on the "hi-fi" DAC. It will not "turn-on" without any headphones attached. A very smart move, design by LG. This is to avoid people turning it on and drain the battery without using it.



There is a 75 steps volume adjustments per Hi-fi sound quality with 5 increasement each press



The display screen over-all is gorgeous, unlike the Note 4, there is no over-contrast or over saturated. The resolution of the screen is excellent, sharp. Color gamut is realistic that red look like red, and orange red or pink red will look exactly as it is. These can be tell apart with ease.

Off-angle look is excellent. Here are some shots. Yes! Extreme off angle definition and resolution





Stock music player has no multi bands EQ, but only presets. It will also display music bit and sample rate with a little hi-fi icon.

Though when play these files, the audio EQ preset is not available for the best nature quality I guess.




When playing CD quality and below from 16/44.1, the preset EQ can be utilized with the options to even adjust Pitch and speed.






**The best feature** Hi-Fi DAC and AMP will be turned off when a headphones is removed. It will automatically be en-a led once the headphones is connected again. However it may be bugged out, just to make sure, manually disable it and re-enable it yourself :D. The default DAC is very little in volume. You will notice it right away if the Hi-fi auto function bugged out.

In-depth sound quality first impressions: be advised that I only am in it for about 15 minutes or so with my very familiar album and tracks that I always listened to on my ZX2. It is subjected to change ? Due to burn-in ? I don't know

Sound signature overall is very Flat, no emphasis on any frequency a little drier compare to ZX2. Very detailed, highly resolving, good clarity, good seperation, good soundstage. It is so freaking Flat that even some nuances and micro dynamic details can be easily observed. Best of all ? It kicks the ZX2 in the ass in then Lower-end trebles frequency, trebles body, tonal balanced and details. Why ? Because it is Flat where as ZX2 is more of a warmer and lushier enjoyable musical kind of signature.

How loud can it get ? Jesus Christ.....on my MDR SA5000....I can not break 60 out of 75 max volume....it blows my brain, ears out....probably deftness if I do....let's not go there. I need my good hearing to review for you folks.

Background is black....pitch black! There is no noises or interferences from between apps opening

Soundstage: very wide, good channels left and right balanced. Spacious amd this rendered space is accurate. 3rd dimensional is well presenting. Instruments placements are accurate and of good rendering. I can literally feel the drums hits approaching me from far away in the front as the sound was rendered. 8.5/10 vs ZX2

Sound-Scape: or field of sound. It is surrounding and immersive. It gets 8.5/10 vs ZX2.

Bass: tight ! Super tight! Good texture, vivid tonal body ! Very quick, detailed, good pace. Airy...and flat out accurate but not as warm and fluid as ZX2, the percussion of the Housing body is some what thin compares to ZX2 it is drier, but non the less of good bass quality. It can dives deep when it is called upon, the decay is shorter than ZX2, and can not dive as deep as ZX2....but hey, it is controlled, and on complex deep bass dive it doesn't distort at all. I rate it a tie vs ZX2 for a less refined, but detail, tight, good quality controlled and will not distort VS more refined, better tonal body, fluid and flowing, deeper dive...but randomly distort on complex plays

Mids: good resolutions and resolving in the whole mid spectrums, but less refined within a tonal body. It can not get that accuracy where the ZX2 excels. Each strings tonal body is thinner drier and not as thick or distinctively carry that unique tonal body from different strings. But due to this it is more airy, more detailed and leave out more room toward the trebles regions to be easily observed and more satisfying. 7/10 compares to ZX2. This will rely heavily on personal preferences. Some may love this, some may not. I am neutral with it, I guess because ZX2 satisfy me in this realistic and accuracy in this sections, so I am not too crazy about it. I am trying to say a guitar, violin, Guzheng doesn't sound realistically authentic, but resolutions, and definitions is there, lacking good body though. I am listening through MDR SA5000 which is brighter....it could pair better with my Z7 and more organic ? I don't know....but the tonal body of string instruments doesn't give me that satisfying eargasm feeling.

Highs: brilliant, very detailed, energetic, and airy. Well defined, good tonal body within a beat. It is not harsh or sibilants. This region is a region that it does better than ZX2. More details on the trebles region is playing out very nicely with good resolution and very resolving as well. It gets 10/9.5 vs ZX2. I love this trebles here :D. Very satisfying, all those chittering, ziggering, zaggering, hit-hat and cymbals hits are just great ! Nuances trebles details can be observed easier and better than the ZX2 probably due to it less fluid and flow mid spectrums. However the tonal body of within each beats, the ZX2 excel at as well, and this body density in the ZX2 makes these trebles to be smooth, and musical.

Another better point that it beats the ZX2 outright is the output power. Jesus....zx2 can never blow and hurt my ears like this one.

Conclusion: can this LG V10 be a replacement for any DAP ? Heck yes ! I won't be surprised with that rating against the ZX2 and the V10 can easily compare to Fiio X5 and surpass X3 or others. I would alternatively switching from between ZX2 and this phone without problems. Also, I am of a more natural, details and flat kind of folk, I love it. Be that I never heard from X3/5, but with the high scores against the Titan ZX2 :D. It will satisfy you, who love mid-fi DAPS, and ultimately the combination of a smartphone and audio performance with portability.

It overall scores vs ZX2 would be 8/10. It has it better scores, but also has it worse scores against the Titan. Ultimately for someone who is chasing "realistic tonality" like me, I would rate V10 a score of 8 and ZX2 the references point of 10.

ZX2 is warmer, more realistic tonal body and organic, fluid, and musical, much better tonal body and immersive soundscape with TRRS out.
V10 is flatter, more details in trebles region, less tonal realistic, less fluid, and less musical but more analytical :wink:

Both has good senses of space and immersive experiences. If you don't come off from ZX2, you would be super impressed with this soundstage and rendered field

Best be paired with anything that has warmer and thicker sound signatures. For example MDR Z7 does wonderful with it, IM-04 :D

***i forgot to mention the tonal body comparision against the ZX2 and V10.*** The tonal body accuracy, or how realistic a beat tone is between these 2 from my personal experiences is 6.5/10 as in V10/Zx2.
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 5:22 PM Post #2 of 1,179

musicday

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Thank you very much for your review. Seems like a brilliant phone. Can the phone do DSD natively 5.6 Mhz? I assume the phone is made in Korea right? Did it come with DMB or does it have FM radio?
Would like to know about battery life, web browsing, playing music. How is the screen? You mentioned you have Note4.
Do the black on V10 gets close to Note's 4 black colour? Can you please add a photo of both phones next to each other?
Sorry for all the questions, but I am thinking to upgrade from LG Flex which has a phenomenal battery especially for a 6 inch phone.
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 5:29 PM Post #3 of 1,179

Whitigir

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Thank you very much for your review. Seems like a brilliant phone. Can the phone do DSD natively 5.6 Mhz? I assume the phone is made in Korea right? Did it come with DMB or does it have FM radio?
Would like to know about battery life, web browsing, playing music. How is the screen? You mentioned you have Note4.
Do the black on V10 gets close to Note's 4 black colour? Can you please add a photo of both phones next to each other?
Sorry for all the questions, but I am thinking to upgrade from LG Flex which has a phenomenal battery especially for a 6 inch phone.


I will take those pictures when I can for ya. Black on the v10 is satisfying, but not at the level of Note4, though I wouldn't miss it due to the note 4 over saturation and color balances
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 5:56 PM Post #4 of 1,179

Whitigir

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It came stock with Quadbeat 3 and tuned by AKG as shown




Unfortunately, it only has 1 extra pair of tips, and it is of a smaller size :wink:. The sound signature of Quadbeat 3 is surprisingly clean a little on the bass and mid emphasis side of the balance, good bass impact but not bass head impactful ofcourse. Mid bass is energetic, sub bass is a bit less energetic, bass decay is good.

Vocal and Mids are good clear, detailed.

Trebles is a little rolled off and some what congested...hey don't blame me...I just finished auditing the V10 on the SA5000 lol....If someone casually listen to music, it is actually quiet good

Soundstage is good and wide. 3D rendering with a little hint of this depth and field, not too excited...more like flat out 2 dimensional from left to right.

It is actually good quality for being stock in the phone, it reminds me of the ATH IM-70 but it has a little better definition in the lower mid range. It strong points is the detailed and airy low and mid spectrum. Once pair with V10 as a flatter sound signatures they actually compliment each other well.

Once taking out the MDR SA5000, hi-fi icon is off, then plugged in the Quadbeat and it is on again. Brilliant !

The fitting is actually comfortable, the housing is on a bigger size and made by plastic but mimicking the brushed metal look so it is actually light, and angles nozzles will help it stay in the canal nicely. The wire main body is wrapped with clothes to reduce tangling, and the wires to the earphones is plastic to reduce that microphonic....great!
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 6:01 PM Post #5 of 1,179

jasonb

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So there is still only 15 steps in the volume control? That is a little disappointing.
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 6:15 PM Post #7 of 1,179

jasonb

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Don't be so fast, even though it only has 15 steps, but the output volume is super powerful. It will automatically adjust itself to the gears that plugged into it.


I gotcha there in regards to output power, but with only 15 steps each step is going to be a big difference just like it is now. Even with my M9 the difference of one step can be either too quiet or too loud. It would be nice to see even just an extra 10 steps. I'm not asking for 100 steps but 25 would be so much nicer than just 15.
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 6:17 PM Post #8 of 1,179

Whitigir

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I gotcha there in regards to output power, but with only 15 steps each step is going to be a big difference just like it is now. Even with my M9 the difference of one step can be either too quiet or too loud. It would be nice to see even just an extra 10 steps. I'm not asking for 100 steps but 25 would be so much nicer than just 15.


Agreed :). Though with this clarity, airy, and resolving quality, it wouldn't be too loud. It will fall right into the place where it is loud enough and detailed enough to enjoy....however, it could get too little. So I totally agreed that with more steps increasement it would have been better.
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 6:32 PM Post #10 of 1,179

jasonb

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I just know that most real DAPs have a lot more fine adjustment in the volume and I'd really like to see that. Not a deal breaker, but kinda sucks.
 
Oct 21, 2015 at 7:19 PM Post #15 of 1,179

jamor

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Thank you for you service sir. Your information is invaluable.

So it looks like you can change tracks on the 2nd display when the screen is off. This is a huge relief because I was under the impression you couldnt.
 

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