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  #1  
Old 12-12-2010, 08:19 PM
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kache kache is offline
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Default Smartphone DAC quality vs PMP DAC quality

I was wondering: is the difference between the audio quality of a high level (500€+) Android smartphone and a cowon PMP so high?
The reason I am asking this is because I wanted to buy a J3, but then I saw all the crap Cowon put in it and It came to me that maybe, instead of buying a PMP, the best choice would be an Android phone, which can play music, videos, texts and so on, and also call. Everything in one device.
What is bugging me is the audio quality. I read here that the difference between high level PMP is close to nil, so I'm wondering if this applies also to android phones.

P.S: I apologize if I wasn't clear. Sadly english isn't my native language.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:27 PM
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Well a lot of it will vary from phone to phone. I have the T Mobile G2 (HTC Desire Z), and comparing that with my Sansa Clip+ they both come out pretty favorable. Most decent portable players and phones will sound similar with a flat frequency and EQ off. What really makes Cowon a leader in SQ though is the BBE enhancements. Those have not been implemented into a phone yet (nor another player besides Cowon I believe). I am a former owner of a Cowon O2, and it was an absolutely beautiful sounding player. My G2 could not match it with the enhancements.

But, phones have come a long way with the SQ. In the past, there was a lot of bass rolloff and the high end of the frequency would be distorted as well. My Nexus One was inadequate on the lowend while being a tad bright in the upper frequency. But, the sound was pretty detailed and nowhere near as muddy as my original G1.

Currently I use my G2 with Panasonic HJE900's (courtesy of dfkt review), and the combination provides me with a very pleasant listening experience. I also have the PowerAmp app, which gives real control of many features you could normally only find in high end mp3 players. So while not Cowon sounding, there is nothing to scoff at with SOME of the better phones out there. But again, it can change from phone to phone.
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:33 AM
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Ok, I don't care at all about equalizers and enchancers.
I will listen mostly FLAC anyway, so a totally flat output would be preferrable.
Thanks for the answer. I'm gonna wait next year for the dual core + tegra smartphones to be available and will try some of them in the shopping center to hear their audio quality.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:20 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_aria-review-506p7.php

Many of their more recent reviews also include RMAA test (be sure to only look at the "headphone attached" results).
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:31 PM
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Are they using 32 Ohm or higher phones? Couldn't find an explanation of their methodology. Most of the results look a bit too good to be true (meaning, the usual 16 Ohm).
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
Are they using 32 Ohm or higher phones? Couldn't find an explanation of their methodology. Most of the results look a bit too good to be true (meaning, the usual 16 Ohm).
From here: "We use a pair of AKG headphones with impedance of 32 ohms for each of those special second runs."

Its nice to see that they at least try to include useful objective measurements in their reviews.

Based on that, it seems to me that the sound quality of most smartphones is "close but not there yet". The thing that bothers me most is intermodulation distortion which seems to be typically around 0.3% (which is only -50dB). I think distortion of that magnitude is likely quite audible... The only exception I have seen is the iPhone which seems to perform impressively well. Too bad it is made by Apple which means that I'm not going to buy one even though I'd really like to replace my PMP with a single "convergence device".
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:35 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el maco View Post
Based on that, it seems to me that the sound quality of most smartphones is "close but not there yet". The thing that bothers me most is intermodulation distortion which seems to be typically around 0.3% (which is only -50dB). I think distortion of that magnitude is likely quite audible...
For THD usually anything under 1% is considered good. I highly doubt you'll notice 0.3% IMD. Noticing a tone at -60dB is difficult enough in silence (requires a fairly quite room or IEMs), but IMD can only occur in the presence of loud signal, under which it will not be noticeable. The actual dynamic range of human hearing is quite poor. We can hear very quiet and very loud sounds, but not at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by el maco View Post
The only exception I have seen is the iPhone which seems to perform impressively well.
Apple seems to be one of the few companies that started with an audio product and then made a phone, rather then starting with a phone and then also letting it play music.
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
I highly doubt you'll notice 0.3% IMD.
Sure, I can't be sure if I'd really notice that in real life or not. Though, knowing that my IEMs will only add to that and also that IMD is the more harmful kind of distortion I'd rather be safe than sorry I failed to google a reliable figure on the hearing threshold in regard of distortion, but it seems that at least someone can hear as low as 0.003% (speak about golden ears...)

Last edited by el maco; 12-14-2010 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:55 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el maco View Post
Though, knowing that my IEMs will only add to that
If your IEMs add to it, then its one less reason to care about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by el maco View Post
I failed to google a reliable figure on the hearing threshold in regard of distortion, but it seems that at least someone can hear as low as 0.003% (speak about golden ears...)
Thats not the same kind of distortion RMAA measures. Regardless, googling gives a couple percent as the cutoff in various listening tests, pretty similar to THD so unless you're an order of magnitude better, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:54 AM
chengdude chengdude is offline
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Quote:
Apple seems to be one of the few companies that started with an audio product and then made a phone, rather then starting with a phone and then also letting it play music.
Meizu (China) is another company that has made that transition. They are invariably mocked for ripping off everyone else, but there's no mocking the company's enormous fan base that rivals Apple's in fanaticism.

The new Meizu M9 should be appearing shortly. They have made the switch from Wolfson in their previous phone (and their older DAPs) to Texas Instruments for the M9. Meizu's raison d'etre is multimedia, so it should be interesting to see how that big change works out.
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2010, 02:09 PM
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The DarkSide The DarkSide is offline
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Meizu pirates crap, like 99% of all "original" mp5/6 players & phones coming out China. Even if they do "create" something new, it's so low quality I'd rather buy nothing at all. After all, it'll be broken almost right after you get it anyways.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:44 AM
chengdude chengdude is offline
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For anyone besides The DarkSide interested, have a look at the very first video of the production M9 in operation. This is probably from one of the tech websites in China and, rushing to be the first to upload, was shot in an express delivery office:

Edit...rather than sucking up space with one embedded video, here's a thread on MeizuMe listing lots of them:
http://www.meizume.com/general-meizu...-m9-it168.html


Samsung Hummingbird processor + PowerVR 540 graphics, 3.5" Sharp ASV screen (960x640), Android 2.2 with custom GUI, audio by Texas Instruments, same 3G chip as iPhone 4, Bluetooth + WiFi B/G/N, $375 with an 8GB TF card...real "crap" in other words.

Last edited by chengdude; 12-18-2010 at 05:46 AM.
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2010, 04:47 PM
eroarex eroarex is offline
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well i have a sgs and it sounds great but nothing beats an iphone with an amp
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  #14  
Old 12-23-2010, 09:30 PM
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The M9 is the first original (somewhat) phone from meizu. They suck, as they steal outright,...meizu is garbage!!!
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