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Is a smartphone a credible hi-fi source?

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proffski

New member
Dec 11, 2008
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SteveR750 said:
Define "Hi Fi"

As a source of music and this enjoyment yes. I use mine when travelling abroad a lot thanks to Spotify premium and it is for the most part excellent give it is "just" a phone.
As close to the original source as possible.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
Biggerboat said:
...the music (or indeed whatever else you play) is the whole point.
Most of what I play is indeed "whatever else". (80 percent radio/drama/documentary/comedy/history/other)

Right now it's this...



I bought all 5 series' last week on CD and ripped them in 320k VBR AAC. (Then Sync'ed to iPhone of course.)
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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18,795
proffski said:
Only if you already have a hearing defect.
Alears said:
For my sixpennethworth I would have to say NO
gel said:
Could you please elaborate on why you don't think that a phone can be a credible hifi source? :)

Surely anything that's capable of outputing a bit perfect data stream to an external DAC is a credible hifi source. :?
 

Paul.

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2010
679
12
18,895
Thats a good point actually, my phone is not the source, its just networked storage. The ATV2 is the source is it not? The phone is only source when I plug headphones in to it.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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chebby said:
Is a smartphone a credible hi-fi source?
That depends on how you use the phone. If you're using the phones digital output to send bit perfect data to an external DAC then there's no reason why a phone wouldn't sound every bit as good as any other digital source. I know that the iPhone can be used in this way but I'm not sure if it can be done with other phones.

However if you're using a phones built in DAC by using it's analogue headphone output then the sound quality will probably vary quite a bit from phone to phone. My guess is that the best phones would probably sound alright but probably not good enough to be true hifi quality. :?
 

Al ears

Moderator
Overdose said:
chebby said:
As a digital file streamer? Absolutely.
As a file streamer or 'transport' if you will, then I would probably agree.

As a 'stand-alone' entity then probably no. You would have to have a 'phone that would happily play uncompressed WAV or FLAC files and have the internal storage capacity to handle a whole heap of these files. Most smart phones I know do not have a very large internal memory.
 

gel

Moderator
steve_1979 said:
proffski said:
Only if you already have a hearing defect.
Alears said:
For my sixpennethworth I would have to say NO
gel said:
Could you please elaborate on why you don't think that a phone can be a credible hifi source? :)

Surely anything that's capable of outputing a bit perfect data stream to an external DAC is a credible hifi source. :?
Because it is condensed or reduced ie not all the music has been copied from the original. If you play the copy through good quality HiFi system and then compared it with the original you would notice a dramatic difference. So the answer is definitely no.
 

Overdose

New member
Feb 8, 2008
279
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Alears said:
Overdose said:
chebby said:
As a digital file streamer? Absolutely.
As a file streamer or 'transport' if you will, then I would probably agree.

As a 'stand-alone' entity then probably no. You would have to have a 'phone that would happily play uncompressed WAV or FLAC files and have the internal storage capacity to handle a whole heap of these files. Most smart phones I know do not have a very large internal memory.
No different to a CD player then? That'll only play up to 700MB of music in any one go.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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18,795
gel said:
steve_1979 said:
gel said:
Could you please elaborate on why you don't think that a phone can be a credible hifi source? :)

Surely anything that's capable of outputing a bit perfect data stream to an external DAC is a credible hifi source. :?
Because it is condensed or reduced ie not all the music has been copied from the original. If you play the copy through good quality HiFi system and then compared it with the original you would notice a dramatic difference. So the answer is definitely no.
I disagree. If you stream a bit perfect lossless FLAC or ALAC music file from a phone to an external DAC then nothing will have been condensed or reduced.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
gel said:
Because it is condensed or reduced ie not all the music has been copied from the original. If you play the copy through good quality HiFi system and then compared it with the original you would notice a dramatic difference. So the answer is definitely no.
Hi gel, could you run this one by me again please? I use my Touch through my setup, it has a mix of WAV files, Spotify offline 320kbps, live stream, you get the idea. I have the original CDs for quite a few (the Liberty of Norton Folgate for instance) and the quality's excellent. As good as the CD.

I think I just find comments like yours odd. A throwback to the days of the late 90s when comments about duff mp3 probably had some weight but today are just misplaced. It's as if we're reading what we "should" think about how music wirelessly streamed or via mp3, hard drive, etc is going to sound. The truth is of course that it's excellent and the opinions are out of touch.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
207
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Credible as in, will most audiophiles agree that it is a good enough source? No.

Coulkd it actually be pretty damn good in the right circumstances? Yes.
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steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
the record spot said:
gel said:
Because it is condensed or reduced ie not all the music has been copied from the original. If you play the copy through good quality HiFi system and then compared it with the original you would notice a dramatic difference. So the answer is definitely no.
Hi gel, could you run this one by me again please? I use my Touch through my setup, it has a mix of WAV files, Spotify offline 320kbps, live stream, you get the idea. I have the original CDs for quite a few (the Liberty of Norton Folgate for instance) and the quality's excellent. As good as the CD.

I think I just find comments like yours odd. A throwback to the days of the late 90s when comments about duff mp3 probably had some weight but today are just misplaced. It's as if we're reading what we "should" think about how music wirelessly streamed or via mp3, hard drive, etc is going to sound. The truth is of course that it's excellent and the opinions are out of touch.
RS makes a good point here. Even if you used a phone to play a lossy codec instead of a lossless codec it can still be hifi quality provided that it's been encoded by modern software at a high enough bit rate.

Sony and Apple have done extensive testing that's shown it's impossible to hear any difference between 256kbps AAC and lossless audio.
 

fr0g

New member
Jan 7, 2008
446
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0
As a digital transport to a DAC a phone is as good a transport as any other, and possibly better than some as there are zero moving parts. Solid state for the win!

As an analogue source, no, the internal amp isn't good enough. But it can certainly be enjoyable.
 

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