Audio quality of Samsung Galaxies?

I don't know if this belongs in the Hifi Corner, but at least it's related to audio.

How good are the Samsung Galaxies regarding the 3.5mm headphone output? Anyone using one for music?

I only know the iPhone 5s and like listening to it with a pair of Etymotics. The iPhone is a company phone and I'm considering to buy my own smartphone. The iPhone SE would be the natural choice but I thought I'd ask what the Android world has to offer and Samsung seem to make some popular phones.

KR

Jochen

 

 

Original Post

Always had Samsung smart phones and tablets did try another make of tablet before buying a Samsung but this broke after nine months my TAB S has been bullet proof like the phones.

Regarding sound quality can't really comment as I've never been tempted away from Samsung but it seems OK.

 

I was surprised to find that the playback quality of my Galaxy4 phone was comfortably ahead of the 160GB iPod Classic when played through a dedicated headphone amp with outboard power supply through Etymotic 4S in ear phones. Much more clarity and leading edge. Maybe even as good as my old Gen3 40GB  iPod from 17 years ago. How it compares with an iPhone, I do not know. 

Thanks, so the Galaxy might be in the same league soundwise or perhaps even better than Apple devices. It's reassuring that there are alternatives, especially now since Apple seems to regard analog headphones as obsolete. This may make the iPhones a bit thinner but the pouch with accessories grows considerably.

I am not in a position to rate the audio quality of phones as I never have tested it. However if you care about audio quality I would suggest you to get a mobile high Res audio player. They are miles ahead of normal phones. Of course only ok if you can Cary two devices with you.

Ron, to be fair, the iPod classic didn't sound that nice. I remember when I bought one for my girlfriend and I thought it was faulty compared to my own 5th gen video which sounded so much better on the exact same ALAC files. Another unit sounded as bad or perhaps even worse. A great shame.

Recent experience with a bunch of DAPs has shown that performance has really moved on from even the great sound of the 5th gen iPod. 

Of course, if a phone can equal or exceeded that then I'll be most impressed...

I don't know about the Samsungs, but it surprises me how iPhone sound quality varies from one model to another. My iPhone 4 sounded pretty dreadful, but the 6 that I replaced it with was surprisingly good by comparison, and with increased storage, it's no longer necessary to use compressed formats which I find sound much worse, even on a phone.

But none of this is HiFi. To my mind a proper portable player is well worth the extra bulk in your pocket if you want real sound quality.

Indeed, the original iPad Air sounds fantastic, and played through a headphone amp is astonishingly good when playing lossless. My earlier iPads were a bit meh..

i agree some of the ipods have sounded mediocre, but unlike Richard I found  my 2nd generation  iPod Classic ... that still works with its 10Gbyte hard disk.. is not one of them and sounds rather good. The worst sounding was probably the 4th generation, I gave mine away...

Simon, when I refer to the iPod Classic, I mean the one that Apple named iPod Classic - the final iteration of the scroll wheel iPod, which came in either an 80, 120 or 160gb  capacity. The sound quality took a big dip compared to the earlier iPods. I was really rather shocked. The 5th gen video iPod was perhaps the last good sounding scroll wheel iPod.

Richard Dane posted:

Ron, to be fair, the iPod classic didn't sound that nice. I remember when I bought one for my girlfriend and I thought it was faulty compared to my own 5th gen video which sounded so much better on the exact same ALAC files. Another unit sounded as bad or perhaps even worse. A great shame.

Recent experience with a bunch of DAPs has shown that performance has really moved on from even the great sound of the 5th gen iPod. 

Of course, if a phone can equal or exceeded that then I'll be most impressed...

Well, lets see....I used the iPod Gen 3 juiced with the Naim i-supply with a Chord Cobra 3.5mm plug to DIN5 cable into a 552 with the its audio signal being tapped from the output of the docking base (which does not go through its weedy built in headphone amp) , through 6x135 into active DBLs for a year or so. Many of my friends who heard it marveled just how good it sounded. Until the same track was played on the CDS3. But still, it was more than good enough for casual listening. This was the Gen3 that I am talking about...the later Gen4/5 sounded quite poor in comparison-possibly because they had so much lower battery drain than did the Gen3. 

jfritzen posted:
Bert Schurink posted:

Of course only ok if you can Cary two devices with you.

That's the point, I'd prefer to carry only the phone and the IEMs with me. 

The HTC 10 looks interesting, at least it seems to support 24 bit audio. Added to the shortlist.

 

Yes the HTC 10 had an interesting write up in Paul Millers section in this months HFN magazine. 

TL;DR The headphone jack isn't long for the phone world. Consider  a DAP or external USB DAC/Amp, and keep in mind the issues with Android and USB audio.

Motorola dropped the headphone jack earlier this year, and the suggestion is that the new HTC will do the same in October. With Apple having done the same on the new phones, it's reasonable to expect Samsung will follow suit in time.

That leaves three options, buy a phone with a headphone jack and keep it running as long as possible, use a DAP or go down the external DAC/Amp Route.

Because I don't want to carry and charge another device, my solution is an iPhone, Lightning to USB adapter, Audioquest Dragonfly Red and a rubber band. If I need to charge and listen, I use the Lightning to USB adapter with Lightning pass through.

I mention this because in this scenario an iPhone may be the better choice today. It seems that the forums dedicated to head-fi are reporting issues with Android and external DACs. Both Chord; Mojo, and Audioquest; Dragonfly have posted information on these issues, which eminate from recent Android versions that don't natively support audio out via USB.

GregW posted:

Because I don't want to carry and charge another device, my solution is an iPhone, Lightning to USB adapter, Audioquest Dragonfly Red and a rubber band. If I need to charge and listen, I use the Lightning to USB adapter with Lightning pass through.

And when you plug and tie all this together while on board a plane, they arrest you for building a suspicious bomb-like device .

GregW posted:

That leaves three options, buy a phone with a headphone jack and keep it running as long as possible, use a DAP or go down the external DAC/Amp Route.

 

On a serious note and if your prediction is valid then the future is a bit bleak for audiophiles: either carry a lot of gear with you or don't listen to mobile music at all. I hope the analog output will not vanish entirely. Perhaps they could just develop a smaller analog plug instead?

jfritzen posted: 

On a serious note and if your prediction is valid then the future is a bit bleak for audiophiles: either carry a lot of gear with you or don't listen to mobile music at all. I hope the analog output will not vanish entirely. Perhaps they could just develop a smaller analog plug instead?

Although a little bleak, I think it's more a case of when not if. I think it's highly unlikely the old jack will be replaced with something smaller.. I think it's USB audio out, either via Lightning or USB-C, or nothing. Although not ideal it's worth remembering Apple and Motorola include a small adapter in the box, so people can connect their old headphones.

My biggest concern is when device makers can charge and sync without a cable. Right now we have options, but being forced to go wireless with the current state of the Bluetooth stack and perhaps more importantly headphones is not at l appealing. 

 

 

@jfritzen @Pcd I take your points :-) It does seem a bit convoluted, but needs must. In my case my CIEMs require a little more power than the iPhone's internal amp. It does mean that when I get a new phone I'll be ok without a headphone jack.

 

There was an issue with the image hosting, so I deleted the original post and recreated it using an alternative provider.

Sadly the people who don't care about SQ have "won".  This is about mass-market consumption not audio quality.  Will probably have to go down the portable hi res player route myself at some point

Ray of hope: although no one could tell me which files my new car could play on its hard drive, it will actually play both alac and flac.  Not sure about its ability to do lossless - will investigate!

I use s7 edge and AKGs for bedtime listening occasionally.  THe sound is excellent, better than on my iPhone 5s

But I also use a pair of bluetooth Parrot headphones with it and the sound is not one but two nothes above, .. not sure whether because of Parrots or if because BT is superior to wired in this case ... or both ...

 

dzambolaja posted:

I use s7 edge and AKGs for bedtime listening occasionally.  THe sound is excellent, better than on my iPhone 5s

But I also use a pair of bluetooth Parrot headphones with it and the sound is not one but two nothes above, .. not sure whether because of Parrots or if because BT is superior to wired in this case ... or both ...

 

Could it be that the phone doesn't have the power to drive the AKGs properly? I'm struggling a bit with the idea of Bluetooth sounding better than wired...

What I've learned so far from surfing the web is that the iPhone SE is probably not so good soundwise as the 5s. Which would leave Samsung S6/S7 or HTC 10 as better options. The HTC would even support up to 2TB SD cards (if these already existed), which means I could copy my entire FLAC library to the phone!

Pcd posted:
Is that Standard SD cards or Micro SD which is generally used in phones, if
it is the Micro SD the biggest I've seen at the moment is 200gb

Yes, micro SD. 200 GB seems to be the biggest version currently, but Standard SDs are already available with 512 GB. So perhaps only a matter of time.

ChrisSU posted:
dzambolaja posted:

I use s7 edge and AKGs for bedtime listening occasionally.  THe sound is excellent, better than on my iPhone 5s

But I also use a pair of bluetooth Parrot headphones with it and the sound is not one but two nothes above, .. not sure whether because of Parrots or if because BT is superior to wired in this case ... or both ...

 

Could it be that the phone doesn't have the power to drive the AKGs properly? I'm struggling a bit with the idea of Bluetooth sounding better than wired...

quite possible ...

But it may be that PArrots have a better DAC built in.  I will check that out too

So I've decided myself for the HTC 10. Phonewise it has excellent hardware, Android needs getting used to when coming from an iPhone, the HTC SyncManager is terrible compared to iTunes.

Soundwise I quite enjoy it and think it's as good or better than the iPhone 5s, more spacious and more clarity. I'm using the 10 with several apps (Qobuz, Poweramp, Bubble UPnP) and Etymotics IEMs.

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