Best smartphones for audio and music listening

Audio smartphone
When we buy a new smartphone most of the times we focus on the most “visible” technical characteristics such as the size of the display, the resolution, the speed of the operating system and the quality of the camera, completely ignoring the audio sector. For those who want to listen to music and want to obtain superior sound quality, they will often be disappointed with most smartphones on the market, some of which are also very expensive.
To avoid taking any smartphone with poor audio, in this guide we will show you what i am best smartphones for audio and music listening, showing you the features to check when we choose a new smartphone and the inevitable purchase guide, so to know immediately some model we can buy among those available on the market.

Smartphones with the best sound

It is relatively easy for audio-wires to realize if a smartphone is excellent from an audio point of view; for novice users or those who do not understand anything about music or sounds, it can be very difficult to understand what to observe in the datasheet of a smartphone. We read below the features that a smartphone suitable for listening to music and the products we can view for purchase must-have.

Technical features

The features that we must observe to get good audio from the phone, even when we play music (both from the integrated speakers and from the devices connected via wire or via Bluetooth) are:

  • Stereo speaker: a smartphone for audio-wires has a double speaker for the reproduction of sounds and songs, so as to be able to benefit from stereophonic listening with a “sound box” due to the body of the device (appreciable if you place the phone on a table or on a wooden surface).
  • DAC: the DAC is the audio chip dedicated to converting sounds from digital to analog. If the DAC is well made, the sound of the speakers is more lively and engaging. The DAC is also essential for high-quality reproduction via 3.5mm Jack cable (where provided).
  • Cable audio standard: in order to play all the compressed audio formats currently available, we will have to check if the smartphone chosen has support for DTS: X Surround, Hi-Res, LDAC is Dolby Atmos, in addition to the classic Dolby Digital. Obviously we will not find all these standards, but make sure that at least two of those indicated are supported.
  • Wireless audio standard: Bluetooth connection is essential to carry high-quality wireless audio; In order to maintain perceptible quality via wire, we recommend checking that standards are supported aptX, EnhanX aptX (or E-aptX) is aptX HD. Obviously, the headphones or earphones used must also support the same standards, otherwise, we will not get the maximum sound quality.
  • Audio files: in addition to streaming music (possibly in subscription, so as to always have the highest quality) we will have to make sure that the smartphone supports AAC files, FLAC files and Ogg Vorbis files, which currently represent the best in terms of audio quality. If possible, avoid using MP3 files, unless they are at high bitrate (320 kbps).

Buying Guide

After seeing the features to be observed on a smartphone dedicated to audio, let’s see together the best models that we can buy online on Amazon, so as to have excellent after-sales support and very competitive prices.

Motorola Moto Z3 Play and JBL SoundBoost
JBL SoundBoost

If we don’t want to spend too much we can bet on Motorola Moto Z3 Play, which provides expansion contacts on the rear to which we can connect a cover with JBL high quality stereo speakers, called JBL SoundBoost. In this way, we can listen to any song in streaming at the highest quality as if we had a real stereo in your pocket! In addition to the expansion of the audio, the cover also functions as a power bank, thus extending the autonomy of the phone.
We can view the phone from here -> Motorola Moto Z3 Play (€ 279).
For the expansion cover just click here -> JBL SoundBoost (49 €).

LG G8s

If we want to focus on a smartphone with excellent audio quality but without spending too much, we will have to focus on the LG G8s, which has amplified stereo speakers, a DAC with 32-bit and 192 kHz audio support, support for DTS: X Surround technology, support for all known wireless audio standards and a 3550 mAh battery, so you can listen to lots of good music without worrying too much about the battery.
We can view the phone from here -> LG G8s (430 €).

Samsung Galaxy S10 +

Among the top of the range with good audio performance and support for all modern listening technologies, we find the Samsung Galaxy S10 +, which boasts support for Hi-Res audio, 32-bit and 384 kHz DAC, Dolby Atmos, and optimization of the speakers and internal equalizer by AKG, a well-known manufacturer of professional headphones.
We can view the phone from here -> Samsung Galaxy S10 + (€ 711).

Sony Xperia 1

The best smartphone for listening to music is without a doubt the Sony Xperia 1, a real “monster” on the audio side thanks to the front stereo speakers, support for Hi-Res technology, support for proprietary LDAC technology (to increase the quality of the audio via wireless) and DSEE system, which also improves the performance of the MP3 files (notoriously among the worst file formats for listening to high-quality music).
We can view the phone from here -> Sony Xperia 1 (850 €).

Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 3a It is an excellent phone for listening to music, even compared to the more expensive Pixel 4 because it has a headphone jack to which earphones and headphones can be connected. The output doesn’t have the sonic purity of the best out there, but it’s a relatively cheap cell phone, with solid speakers, clean software, solid design, good screen and pretty much the best cameras at this price.

iPhone 11 Pro
The iPhone has always been an excellent choice for audio, with excellent speakers and also excellent wireless audio, especially using Apple’s EarPods. The internal speakers of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro have stereo drivers for a more immersive experience and are self-improved with Dolby Atmos to make the sound much wider.

Conclusions

If we listen to a lot of streaming music and we want the highest quality in terms of sound performance, choosing one of the models proposed above will obtain extremely satisfying results, with a clean, rich and engaging sound. Many other high-end smartphones have the same characteristics shown in the guide but we have decided to show you those that, from the point of view of sound performance, have satisfied the customers the most.

Obviously, these smartphones must be accompanied by quality headphones, as seen in our guides How to choose quality wireless headphones and e Best alternative Bluetooth headsets to Apple AirPods.
If the audio of our smartphone is not satisfactory as we had hoped, we can read the suggestions proposed in our guide How to improve the sound of wireless headphones (PC and smartphone), so as to find a valid solution to our problems related to audio or music reproduction.

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