Yes, the sansa clip+/clipzip. Inexpensive & excellent sounding. And I've heard that the HTC One X & One X+ sound excellent as well,... I've tried the HTC One,...so good it makes the Nokia Lumia 920 sound boring. It's a great phone,...just no HTC.
I think the Nokia 920s primary deficiency is audio volume. It could be that it is a great but you can't really appreciate details if they are barely audible and you might say that it isn't as good. I've seen previous posts and this seems to be a common complaint.
Second, I think Nokia has optimized this phone for audio streaming, downloading and offline playback of downloaded tracks, Streaming audio quality would not be as good as most Audio formats so it would be in their best interest to keep volume levels down and probably explains why the Dolby muddies up tracks when you switch it on. Check it out yourself, the fact is that they have 0 simple audio player apps and tons of streaming ones.
Nokia please take note; your phone has been out for a relatively good period of time, please ask your developers to make an app -- a simple, dedicated one that plays Audio stored on the device with no streaming option. Something that can play FLAC and Lossless. Something that can sort, search, equalize with no problems and a fixed Dolby noise reduction. I do not need to stare at Album art. I already know who the artist is. I don't care about the oscillation display or more songs from this artist and genre that you can buy. If I wanted to see all that I could just use your default Nokia player. Since you are actually taking features away from your existing programs, this should not be too much to ask right? I would gladly pay for that app, I have been searching since the day I got my phone and you still don't have it. I even have working old Nokia N series phones that can outperform your 920.
For what it's worth, GSMArena tests show:
- %.0036 THD and %.019 IMD through an amplifier
- %.0057 THD and %.699 IMD with headphones plugged in directly
Easily the lowest distortion readings they have for a Windows Phone, with "average" volume levels. It's got the very same SoC/DAC as the Lumia 920, so I kind of wonder about these results (maybe something in the implementation is different). I'm really considering getting one, and if I do, I'll get back to you on that.
I have my 920 for about 4 months now and I've decided to buy me some over-ear headphones. I tried the Sony MDR-1RB and came to conclusion that the Lumia 920 just doesn't go loud enough. The sound was ok I guess but when you can hear the in-store music while having on-ear headphones on with volume at 30/max ... well, that is dissapointing..
Bought a 920 myself a couple of months ago, so far I'm pretty impressed. Paired it with VSonic VSD1 and lately a FiiO E11. Details are unveiled equally. More of like a clean sound sig. Although i did a bit of a tweak in eq to match my preferences at first, after buying the amp, the Dolby was the only option I use now (for movies only).
925 I think has the same hardware as 920. Sounds the same, robust but nothing to write home about. It's balanced but N9 sounded WAY better. There's this weird weird issue with both and that is when the audio level in a track is very low or when a track is fading into silence at its end there's this strange dithering noise. You don't hear it in the middle of a regular song when the level is normal, but when it fades... there's something strange going on. I'm too lazy to sample it right now. People with Lumias, you ever noticed that? I've heard it on both 920 and 925 on very different tracks even converted to WMA lossless (was checking if those were compression artifacts).