i love audio on mobile devices. i dont consider myself an "audiophile" i just been into sony portables / devices since as far as back as the yellow water resistant sony tape decks. (great water resistant headphones btw) i loved the atrac3 format on the cd players. then i eventually fell into the mini disc fad. i had tons of colors. 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 set up at home. it was quite a time. eventually however mini disc fell in the hardware wars and then mp3 slowly took over.
i was hooked. every service you can imagine. mp3 dot com. lime wire. kazaa. early napster. legal downloads. all of them. 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 digital music. i also love vinyl. 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 2 FLAC mixes using poweramp’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 but 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. feels like "active noise cancelling" when turned up. i didn'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 mdr 7506s 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 a 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 dont particularly like about the v20 that have little or nothing to do with the audio package.
its a huge phone. going from a 5.2 inch screen like the nextbit robin or htc 10 is going to be a huge jump. coming from a pixel? even bigger.
the stock lg ui is ugly and cumbersome. activating the hi fi feature wasnt exactly as easy as it should be. should be a quick click.
things i loved that stand out.
battery life is phenomenal.
this phone screams with speed.
if you dont 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.