Best smartphones for music lovers (May 2016)

Best smartphones for music lovers (May 2016)

The smartphone market is reaching a turning point, and slowing growth means that manufacturers have to try that much harder to make their handsets stand out among a very crowded playing field. For consumers, that's fantastic news, as these companies are starting to realize that they can't just keep on churning out new iterations of old designs, and really have to sit down and and work on making phones that differentiate themselves from the pack. That's led to advancements like smartphones with the highest-quality cameras we've ever seen, but the improvements haven't just been on the visual side of things, and the audio experience smartphones are capable of offering has hit new levels of fidelity.

We just brought you a look at some of the best Bluetooth headphones around; pair one of those with your favorite phone, and you're well on your way to an exceedingly satisfying listening session.

But not all phones are created equal when it comes to audio output, and especially when we take Bluetooth and its digital signal out of the mix, it really falls on a handset's unique combination of hardware (and even software) components to give it the audio prowess it needs to turn heads.

Let's check out some of the current crop of smartphones with better-than-average audio capabilities.


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24 Comments

1. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

The top 3 should be London, 10, and V10, with almost all three being interchangeable at the top three spots. G5 #4, and after that, it really doesn't matter. Nobody else is really doing much to push high quality music.

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

tl;dr Just remove that iPhone, it's a nice list without iPhone

10. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

The iPhones have good sound, since they use quality sound chips, but not on the level of the top 4. Samsung's Exynos Galaxies used to be special with the Wolfson DAC, but since Cirrus bought Wolfson, it's not enough just to have their dedicated DAC. The field has moved on and gotten better.

24. Freddyb123

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Agreed. Lol I read a review on PC advisor which said the Galaxy S6 had the best quality audio lol, as soon as I seen that I knew the article was bogus.... The Marshall London, and HTC 10 are the top 2 phones for audio. People often confuse loudness, with quality. I would say the phone that does the best all around job would be the HTC 10, because you get great audio, but it doesn't lack in other aspects either, with the highest DXOMARK score of any other phone, and also then highest antutu benchmark score of any other phone, at 159,000 while the S7 and iPhone 6s scored in the lower 130,000's...

2. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Where's the Axon Pro?

3. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

That's the one I would put in the top 5 and remove the iPhone. The iPhone is far and away the best for musicians, but it's just good for music lovers. Most smartphones are just okay as music players, but the 4 I listed and the Axon Pro actually make an effort to go above and beyond for audiophiles.

4. 444777

Posts: 399; Member since: May 02, 2016

362kbs sound. True highend pure world class purity 1062kbs sampling. Sony.

5. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Sony has dropped the dedicated DAC, which all of these phones have except the iPhone. Their sound is good, but too low and no dedicated DAC.

15. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

So what is this you moron:http://www.head-fi.org/t/782120/pardon-my-ignorance-why-does-the-iphones-6s-have-two-cirrus-logic-audio-ic iPhones have consistently great SQ from jack, anyone denying it is either deaf or uses 5$ earbuddies. I'm not saying it's on par with those phones listed here but it's great nonetheless. Anyway I would love to test HTC 10, HTCs had always incredible output

20. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

I thought the iPhone had 3 sound processing chips from Cirrus, but I know it has great sound. It's just not on a level with the 10 (I own the 10 and have owned every iPhone), the V10, or the G5 with the B&O DAC.

7. afzalzainal

Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

Should the z5 make it into the spot since it has NC and Hi-res ( wiyer and bluetooth ) built in and comes with DSEE HX to upscale loss quality sound into CD quality.

9. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

No, PA don't like Sony.

16. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You both know s.it about audio quality really

19. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

If iPhone has the worst audio quality, it will still be on the list.

22. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

But it has not, it actually has awesome SQ and Sony's got one of the worst, all this guy listed are software gimmicks that have no impact on SQ and actually make it worse so it's wise from PA that they didn't include Sony here

14. mokhtar

Posts: 405; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

Its PA,So.. :)

8. imkyle

Posts: 1112; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

Blu Pure XL also have a very good sound quality too.

11. shady_maniac

Posts: 43; Member since: Jul 02, 2015

ever heard of the vibe x3? it's da bomb

12. efhals

Posts: 13; Member since: May 19, 2016

LG V1O ALL THE WAY!

13. BobLawblaw unregistered

My s7 sounds pretty good through my Sennheiser Momentum headphones. If the V10 was available here in New Zealand I'd snap that up. And still no sign of the HTC 10. Also, LG confirmed to me that they won't be selling the LG G5 here. What a load of bollox..

17. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Anybody brought Marshall london smartphone?

21. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

I considered it, but it is too "meh" in every way other than sound. My HTC 10 cost less than the London, and not only does it have great sound, it's a true flagship.

18. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Anybody brought Marshall london smartphone?

23. rsiders

Posts: 1895; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

LG V10 FTW!

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