The best Chinese smartphones with dedicated audio chips! [October 2016]

vivo x5 max sound chip

As we well know, i smartphone they are no longer just a means of communication, but also a multimedia tool. Just think of the enormous use we make of it to enjoy content such as video, film and music.

And just about the latter sector, a topic that we often find ourselves talking about on our pages is the I share audio of a specific phone. But before going into our list, what determines the sound quality of a smartphone?

Smartphone, audio chip and DAC: some details

Let's start from the basics. The heart of every smartphone is the SoC implemented and, basically, most of the devices exploit the integrated audio codec and DAC present in the chipset used, which is a Qualcomm, for an MediaTek and so on. As good as these DACs are, often the quality is average.

However, there are some manufacturers who, occasionally or not, integrate dedicated audio chips built by specialized companies, such as Cirrus LogicWolfson o Asahi Kasei, to name a few. Their use is not very frequent for various reasons, including mainly the cost, as well as theencumbrance at the hardware level inside the smartphone and a higher energy consumption.

Yes ok, but what is a DAC?

As the name implies, a Digital (to) Analog Converter it's an electronic chip whose job is receive a digital signal and convert it into an analog.

Trying to simplify, the music born as a set of sound waves, which are captured by the microphones and transformed into analog electrical signals. The audio files obtained (ie music tracks) can be "stored" in two ways, or in analog or digital.

In our case, that is in that case digital, we get more or less compressed files depending on the format used (FLAC, WAV, MP3 etc.). When we listen to an audio track on our smartphone, this file is sent to the DAC, in order to be reworked and conveyed through speakerearphones.

I obviously want to specify that the DAC by itself it is not enough to give us an absolute indication of the audio quality, as we must consider theoptimization carried out by the company, both hardware and software, but it is still a useful reference for those interested in learning more. Clearly the user experience is also dictated by the compression some audio files that you go to use, in addition to headphones match the smartphone, but this is another matter.

Audio chip and terminology

  • Mẫu rate: measured in kHz, It represents the conversion depth of the DAC and the greater the better the digital to analog conversion. Let's imagine having to draw the initial sound waveform of a song (a sine wave) and having reference dots to trace it, a bit like the game "La Pista Cifrata" of The Puzzle Week: the more dots we have, the more faithful will be the digital reconstruction of the analog waveform
  • S / N: also called SNR or Signal to Noise Ratio, represents the relationship between the'amplitude area of audio source and the width of the audio noise produced by the system during processing
  • THD + N: Total Harmonic Distorsion + Noise, or the percentage of harmonic distortion that the audio system adds to the reproduced audio source

The best Chinese smartphones with dedicated audio chips! [October 2016]


nubia logo

  • NUBIA Z11
    • Asahi Kasei AK4376: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 125 dB S / N, -106 dB THD + N
  • NUBIA Z9 MAX / PRAGUE S
    • Asahi Kasei AK4375: 32-bit, 192 kHz, 110 dB S / N, 0,1% THD + N
  • NUBIA Z9 / Z7 / Z7 MAX Z7 MINI
    • Asahi Kasei AK4961: 32-bit, 192 kHz, 110 dB S / N, -99 dB THD + N

zte logo

  • ZTE AXON 7
    • Asahi Kasei AK4490: 32-bit, 768kHz, 120dB S / N, -112dB THD + N
    • Asahi Kasei AK4961: 32-bit, 192 kHz, 110 dB S / N, -99 dB THD + N
  • ZTE AXON 7 MINI
    • Asahi Kasei AK4962: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 125 dB S / N, -106 dB THD + N
  • ZTE AXON MINI, AXON ELITE, AXON LUX
    • Asahi Kasei AK4961: 32-bit, 192 kHz, 110 dB S / N, -99 dB THD + N

Xiaomi logo

  • XIAOMI MI NOTE / MI NOTE PRO
    • ESS Technology ES9018K2M: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 dB S / N, –120 dB THD + N
    • 2 x Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier
    • 2 x Analog Devices ADA4896: amplifier

vivo logo

  • VIVO X7 X7 PLUS
    • Asahi Kasei AK4376: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 125 dB S / N, -106 dB THD + N
  • VIVO X6 / V3 / V3 MAX X6 / V1 MAX
    • Asahi Kasei AK4375: 32-bit, 192 kHz, 110 dB S / N, 0,1% THD + N
  • VIVO X6S PLUSX6 PLUS
    • ESS Technology ES9028: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 S / N, -120 dB THD + N
    • ESS Technology ES9603: amplifier
    • Yamaha YSS-205X: chip dedicated to "Karaoke Mode", capable of providing a delay (delay) of only 3-4 ms
  • VIVO XPLAY 5 ULTIMATE
    • ESS Technology ES9028: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 S / N, -120 dB THD + N
    • Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier
  • VIVO XPLAY 5
    • Cirrus Logic CS4398: 24-bit, 192 kHz, 120 dB S / N, -107 dB THD + N
    • Analog Devices AD45257: amplifier, no data present online
  • VIVO X5 PRO
    • Cirrus Logic CS4398: 24-bit, 192 kHz, 120 dB S / N, -107 dB THD + N
    • Maximum MAX97220: amplifier
  • VIVO X5 MAX
    • ESS Technology ES9018K2M: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 dB S / N, –120 dB THD + N
    • ESS Technology ES9601: amplifier
    • Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier
    • Yamaha YSS-205X: chip dedicated to "Karaoke Mode", capable of providing a delay of only 3-4 ms

meizu logo

  • MEIZU PRO 6
    • Cirrus Logic CS43L36: no data present online
  • Meizu PRO 5MX4 PRO
    • ESS Technology ES9018K2M: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 dB S / N, –120 dB THD + N
    • Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier

leeco logo

For LeEco the speech becomes slightly different. In fact, the terminals of the company, not having the mini jack input, introduce the technology CDLA (Continual Digital Lossless Audio) via the input USB Type-C.

Let's start by saying that this feature is usable only with LeEco CDLA headphones, as the audio chips is implemented inside the headphone connector.

Le technical of the integrated chip are as follows: 24-bit, 96 kHz, 92 dB S / N and -71 dB THD + N.

leeco cdla


 

letv logo

  • LETV ONE MAX X900
    • ESS Technology Custom DAC: 120 dB S / N, -102dB THD + N
  • LETV ONE PRO X800
    • ESS Technology Custom DAC: no data present online

gionee logo

  • GIONEE S8
    • Asahi Kasei AK4961: 32-bit, 192 kHz, 110 dB S / N, -99 dB THD + N

qiku logo

  • QIKU Q TERRA EXCLUSIVE EDITION
    • ESS Technology ES9018K2M: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 dB S / N, –120 dB THD + N
    • 4 x Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier
    • 4 x Texas Instruments LP5907: voltage regulator

 smartisan logo

  • SMARTISAN T2
    • Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier
  • SMARTISAN T1
    • Texas Instruments OPA2604: amplifier

lenovo logo

  • LENOVO K4 NOTES
    • Cirrus Logic Wolfson WM8281: 24-bit, 192 kHz, 121 dB S / N, -92 dB THD + N
  • LENOVO VIBE X3
    • ESS Technology ESS9018K2M: 32-bit, 384 kHz, 129 dB S / N, –120 dB THD + N
    • Texas Instruments OPA1612: amplifier
    • Cirrus Logic Wolfson WM8281: 24-bit, 192 kHz, 121 dB S / N, -92 dB THD + N

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