Testing reveals that iPhone 6 doesn't support high-res audio, and it might be by choice

Despite the rumors that Apple is building a high-res audio tracks catalog for iTunes, working it out with the music labels (which apparently hasn't come to fruition yet), the new iPhones don't include high-res audio support in their list of features. This has been empirically proven by an audio testing expert by playing purposefully generated sampling quality tones in .wav format through the iPhone 6's headphone jack, and then detecting them with a high-res audio recorder, running at the required 96kHz sampling rate, 24 bits per sample...
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75 Comments

1. Phooey506

Posts: 85; Member since: Sep 24, 2014

Gotta save something to sell the iP6S, I suppose.

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The iToys are for those who insist on toys that run iOS.

25. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Sorry iFan, Apple doesn't think you need it. Oh well, back to rocking my Z2 :P

75. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

They needed to have atleast 1 revolutionary feature for ip6s . That's the reason why they do not include this. Nothing new then charging customer premium prices with midrange specs. So Apple once again Steve jobs is really the embodiment of apple inc without him all that's left are money crazy people.

61. engineer-1701d unregistered

hahaha and the screen is not full rgb

65. alexpirnuta

Posts: 5; Member since: Aug 05, 2012

That is exactly what I am thinking. Apple is such a joke.

2. maherk

Posts: 6879; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

And yet, how much does it cost?

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Probably $100 or lower? Because even a low end Acer Liquid Z500 phone has "CD quality" sound. Btw, I like your profile picture lol, sheeps reunite!

5. avyfa

Posts: 16; Member since: Feb 25, 2014

CD quality is 16 bit and 44 kHz.

7. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

A low end phone has CD quality audio is already impressive, but a flagship phone with an expensive price that doesn't support high-res audio is plain sh*t.

8. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

And yet iPhones have best audio quality just after HTC One so why don't You sit quiet, bcoz You're only hating and considering numbers. Despite all these "revolutionary" technology by LG and Sony they still get shi@ty scores when it comes to output voltage and overall quality. Just check PA and GSMArena reviews if You still need to be convinced. Only Apple, HTC and Samsung with Exynos chip are doing great job with audio. My 4 year old iPod Touch 4 plays louder and much cleaner than G3, Z2 and S5. And remember: no matter how good software is, it'll never beat good hardware DAC.

12. AppleJuice

Posts: 145; Member since: Sep 12, 2013

Agree with that. +1

16. FCB-Eto

Posts: 64; Member since: Aug 17, 2013

I don't know how you included Z2 in this when Michael Fisher on pocketnow said himself the Z2 with its noise cancelling headset is the best sounding phone he's used to listen to music even better than the M8. Output voltage is one factor but other software and hardware features can do amazing things and I doubt you've ever used a Z2 with its noise cancelling tech! But iPhone does give excellent sound through headsets but that doesn't mean they can't offer hi res sound, after all an iPhone 6 in my Caribbean country costs $2500.

29. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You're another person who rely on MF's opinion. Ok, but I don't think he is some audio guru (like innerfidelity or guys from What HiFi forum), maybe these Z2 headphones are doing their job, but as far as I'm concerned it only works with special pair of headphones right? I may be wrong, but we're talking audio quality, not separation from outside. I have compared these phones and Z2 sound bit muffled compared to M7 which has absolutely superior sound. I know iPhones are pricey, that sucks bad.

19. romeo1

Posts: 816; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

With the louder part i could agree but cleaner im not sure as z2 produces very clean output. And for me its loud enough. Also i think high res audio isn't really necessary as there aren't many people who know what it is. Its more to show off whats possible on the most models. Im curious about the dsee of the z3 models if it really makes the difference so people can enjoy higher quality music with their standard mp3 files

20. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

True, shame only Exynos version of Galaxy phones uses the Wolfram DAC, the Qualcomm DAC is a lot less crisp and clear.

30. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

It's Wolfson actually :) same DAC like on old iPod Classics, still unbeaten MP3 players when it comes to quality (well maybe Fiio X5 but it's 3-4 times expensive)

34. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

True, autocorrect lol. When you think of it, Project Ara could be nice. If you're into music, you can choose a module with Wolfson DAC. More into photography, choose a better camera module. And so on.

38. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

Thus the reason why I still have my old Epic 4G and Nexus S just to play music files. I also was glad that my Sprint Note 2 also has the Exynos (and thus Woflson DAC), but I doubt the Sprint Note 4 will come with the Exynos SoC since the Sprint Note 3 had the Snapdragon, but I just hope and pray it does. The Wolfson DAC combined with my FLAC/Lossless files going through my SOL Republic Master Tracks XC or VModa M100 or my Sennheiser HD-25II cans sounds amazing. I get many of my FLAC files from Beatport (the beauty of Android being able to DL tunes from sources other than iTunes).

22. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

Higher volume levels don't equate to better quality sound, and since you are naming GSMArena as your source, you might as well go there and read reviews of those devices. G3 got better scores than M8 or any other device ever tested including a perfect -100dB for stereo separation and near perfect for noise levels and dynamic range. Than you might as well compare G3's scores against 5s and see that Apple in nowhere near the top anymore.

55. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The G3 does produce very clean line level output, that is true. However, if you compare the G3 with headphones to an iPhone 5S with headphones, you'll find the iPhone 5S (or even an iPod touch) gives better sound. GSMArena quotes the HTC One M8 and the new mini as offering the best headphone sound. Right after that are the various Apple offerings.

59. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

Even with headphones G3 has lower noise level, same dynamic range, less stereo crosstalk and better frequency response. iPhone beats it in total harmonic distortion and inter-modular distortion. With headphones attached G3 beats 5s in three categories, draws in one and loses in two. So how does 5s has better audio quality over G3?

62. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

The measurements that GSMArena performs aren't the only important measurements. For instance, the output voltage (as often measured by PA) gives us some indication what range of headphones can be driven adequately by the phone. There is also no measure of output impedance or output current by GSMArena. Sad as it may be, Apple's 2012 iPod touch is still superior to any Android phone (except the two HTC phones below). For some idea of what Apple was delivering in 2012 (and has delivered in the 5S and as far as early tests indicate, in the 6 as well):http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm If you read the GSMArena review of the HTC One M8 and HTC One mini 2 you will see a variety of superlatives regarding their overall headphone output quality. They both have good D/A and headphone amps. I wish Sony, Samsung and other Android manufacturers besides HTC would start shipping phones with great headphone audio output. Samsung with its Exynos models uses Wolfson DACs with superior output circuitry. Too bad they don't do the same for their Qualcomm-based phones, like HTC does.

66. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

And higher output voltage doesn't always correlate to higher volume levels. 5s has 1V output and manages 74dB while G3 has cca. 0,5V yet manages 81bB, and S5 manages 81dB with even lower voltage of 0,43V. And no phone, regardless of brand, OS or anything will properly drive high impedance headphones, with 40-60 Ohm being most one can hope for. In the end, I just hope that people will stop using loudness as sound quality measurement, when it clearly is not. If you want loud music just buy portable amp and enjoy your 100dB in a sea of hiss.

67. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Headphone sound output measured in decibels, depends on a number of factors, notably the sensitivity of the headphones. So with less sensitive headphones, having higher output voltage and current is certainly important. It's not realistic to think people are measuring "loudness" as some measurement in and of itself. What GSMArena means by "loudness" is that with less sensitive headphones, you will have to turn the volume up a lot on the phone and with a low power headphone amp, you'll get worse sound. Some headphones will sound poorly no matter what the volume levels because the phone's headphone amp is underpowered (or there are issues with output impedance). In short, the G3 isn't a bad phone for overall headphone output quality. It's better than many Android phones, but just not up to par with the HTC One/One mini 2 and various Apple models.

72. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. HTC phones do have better audio quality at somewhat lower output, but 5s clearly doesn't (IMO). It loses 3 and wins 2 categories against G3, draws in 1 and has lower output levels. Maybe some other Apple products do have better audio quality but I was talking specifically about phones and not dedicated audio players.

58. alvinspeaks

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

The funny thing is that most people don't understand how sound works. We live in the digital age where it is going through the loudness war. There isn't any point in arguing with them because their ear isn't tamed like ours to tell the difference between 44.1khz, 48khz, 88.2khz to 96khz. The high end where bells or high hats can shine and breath. I bet most of these users don't use a separate dac that actual gives it a low SNR. They're probably using cheap cans and used to 16bit

43. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

The hardware on any Android flagship will easily best the iPhone 6

44. aba71983

Posts: 807; Member since: Jul 24, 2014

Apple still have the better sound with or without earpods.

21. f35hunter

Posts: 240; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

Because Apple give there iZombies the best quality and specs with the highest prices !!!!!! well done apple !
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