I love audio on mobile devices. I most definitely don’t consider myself an “audiophile” . I just been into Sony portables and devices since as far as back as the yellow water resistant Sony tape decks. (great water resistant headphones by the way). I loved the “atrac 3” format on their CD players. I eventually jumped into the mini disc fad. It was most definitely a failed fad but admittedly I had tons of colors of the pre loaded discs. I also bought my own Maxwell branded personal mixes. I loved them all. I painfully downloaded and converted all my files using that atrocious and invasive Sony sonic stage software they deemed mandatory for mini disc to work. I had friends that had mini disc players in their “hi-fi” I set up at home. It was quite a time to live in. Eventually however mini disc fell off in the hardware wars and then mp3, iPods, and internet based music over smartphones eventually took over.
I was hooked. Every service you can imagine. mp3.com, limewire, kazaa, you name it even as early as Napster. Illegal and legal downloads alike. All of them. I had to have them all like Pokemon. So is this a review on the LG v20 or a master thesis on the evolution of downloading music? One compliments the other. I just wanted to paint a picture for you. I love Sony audio. I love Sony headphones. I love mp3, flac, and all types of digital music. I also have a distinctive love for vinyl. It’s far less accessible and I just have way less by comparison.
The reason I chose to test drive the v20 was the hifi quad dac. Simple and plain. Haters gonna hate but it really does a great job at driving premium headphones. It has been praised for the sabre chipset inside of it as well.
I tested the v20 with a decent pair of premium earbuds I was gifted first time go. Crisp sounds from the Google Play Music (in high quality), spotify (in extreme quality), Soundcloud, and two FLAC mixes using Power Amp’s high res audio alpha apk. Overall the sound was very crispy. The low end was perfect. The highs were a little too over powering for my taste. I tested two videos on YouTube: Mike Dean’s “grande faucon” and Memorecks ”heat MPC1000/Animoog/Ableton Live” and while I had to crank it to about 80% the sound was perfect. I could hear music nuances like never before.
I took my test to my next pair of headphones, the Sony MDR-7506. Always a great experience testing out phones audio out with these. They are my go to and I’ve had them for years. Even upgraded to those “beyerdynamic” velour ear pads. Same tests were performed with the same tracks in the same order. warm, rich textured sounds on this pair. The bass was warm and hugged me like a velour pillow. All the songs were clear and concise. The highs weren’t that bad this time around. The lows were super rich and feels like “active noise cancelling” when turned up to max. Ididn’t have to go past 70% on any track. The headphones did great while the v20 did all the pushing of the audio.
My last pair are a brand new pair of Sony MDRXB950BT/b these are only 40mm drivers vs the 90mm drivers in the wired MDR7506s even though they are built around bluetooth connectivity and NFC pairing I left them wired for testing purposes and get the richest fidelity possible. They also performed amazingly well. I only needed the “bass boost” function for testing. It’s quite the monster on really bass heavy music. The YouTube video unfortunately suffered like the earbuds. I had to turn it up to 80% to get full “noise cancelling” effect with the over ear cups. These are my newest purchase and I am finally convinced that bluetooth when using apt-x and a great phone can produce near wired experience. At least as far as my ears are concerned.
Minor things I don’t particularly like about the v20 that have little or nothing to do with the audio package. Number 1: it’s a HUGE phone. If going from a 5.2 inch screen like the Nextbit robin or HTC10 is going to be a huge jump. coming from a regular Pixel? Even bigger. Number 2: The stock lg UI is ugly cluttered and cumbersome out the box. Activating the hi fi feature wasn’t exactly as easy as it should be. Same with activating 60 FPS on the video recording side. Things i loved that stand out: battery life is phenomenal, this phone screams with speed and hardly ever lags or stutters, expandable storage!
If you don’t mind size and a clunky ui the lg v20 might be right up your alley if you love music and have some premium headphones that you want to push even harder.