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Sprint Product Ambassadors: LG V20's Hi-Fi Quad Digital to Analog Converter

Sprint Product Ambassador

Sprint Product Ambassadors: LG V20's Hi-Fi Quad Digital to Analog Converter



I was astonished when I heard my first compact disc.  It was of course a digital copy of an analog recording that I was well familiar with.  The dynamics and clarity were astonishing when compared to the 8-track version, but it still had tape hiss.  In fact, the tape hiss might have been even more pronounced because of the clarity.  There were a few all digital recordings then, but not many.  A few labels, such as Telarc and Denon started releasing astonishing realistic-sounding digital recordings of classical music from around the world.  Their secret was simple.  Don’t mess it up by processing the music at all.  Just record it and release it.  You could hear every note, every breath, and every chair adjustment of the performers.  There was no way I was going back to compact cassettes or vinyl after hearing such perfection.


But things changed with MP3s.  Yes they are convenient, and yes, they really can sound pretty good.  But most music is so dynamically compressed now that the life has been squeezed out of it. And of course, you really lose the width and depth of a recording if the mp3 was saved in too low of a bit rate.


ess es9218.pngSo when trying to compare the Hi-Fi DAC from ESS of the LG V20, would anyone really be able to tell the difference between it and your average phone?  First of all, LG is using the HyperStream II Sabre ES9218 from ESS.


Well, first of all, you can only turn on the Hi-Fi Quad DAC chip when headphones are plugged in.  You essential have two digital to analog converters per channel for a total of four.  I have to say, that any well recorded album regardless of musical genre sounds incredibly natural and lively on the V20.  Turning on the Hi-Fi DAC on a standard resolution recording does enable up-sampling of the 16-bit/44.1kHz recordings whether they are in mp3, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, AAC, or the format of your choice.  But it can’t work miracles.  A 16-bit/44.1kHz recording has a finite amount of information, and while up-sampling might smooth out the top end, it can’t really create something that isn’t there.  lg v20 bottom-view.pngAs a result, most recordings will sound almost the same.  With that being said, any standard recording on the V20 sounds better than any other phone, tablet, mp3 player, iPod, etc., than I have ever heard. Even without the awesome capabilities of the Quad DAC, the V20 has a really powerful and low distortion headphone amplifier. Don't forget, this has a real headphone jack for use with real headphones; even large heaphones that require loads of juice to power them.


Still, I wanted to hear what the V20’s advanced audio capabilities could really do.

Last January, Rode Microphone Company of Australia wanted to prove to the world how good their microphones are, particularly their new NT5 ribbon microphone. Rode NTR 3.jpg Rode filmed and recorded a concert of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony performed in Sydney’s opera house and performed on period instruments by Anima Eterna Brugge of Belgium and The Australian Brandenburg Choir.  In September, Rode posted the video on Vimeo for free, and started selling DVD’s and Blu-ray Discs of the concert from their website. The concert is a little over one hour and seventeen minutes long.  Oh, they also allow you to name your price and download recordings of this concert at many resolutions, including the original high resolution WAV, AIFF, and FLAC files.  You can get them from here.

Listening to these high resolution recordings is more astonishing than the first time I heard a compact disc.  The opening parts are a bit quiet, so I made the mistake of turning up the volume.  I was wearing headphones of course.  This was a mistake, because the loud part of this music is much louder than the quiet parts.  It sounds like no compression or processing was done on this recording at all.  It doesn’t sound like listening to headphones or even a recording at all; it sounds like you are there in Sydney, Australia.  This is virtual reality at its most refined.

I plan on re-ripping some of my favorite CDs to FLAC files to play back on the V20.  It has become my best portable audio device.

The V20 doesn’t have an auto-calibrated headphone equalizer like the HTC 10 and Bolt, but it doesn’t need it.  The one-two punch of the built-in DAC and high quality headphone amplifier is cleaner and more authoritative than anything I’ve ever heard before or since. I really could find little to complain about with HTC’s sound quality, but the V20 is just on a different level than any other device out there.

You can get your LG V20 from any Sprint store or online by clicking here.


Disclaimer: The Product Ambassadors are Sprint employees from many different parts of the company that love technology. They volunteer to test out all sorts of Sprint devices and offer opinions freely to the Community. Each Product Ambassador shares their own opinions of these devices, therefore the information in this post does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprint. The PA's do not represent the company in an official way, and should not be expected to respond to Community members in an official capacity. #sprintemployee


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