We can do nearly everything with our smartphones and with all the advancements in technology, you can even listen to audiophile-grade sound on your phone.
Sound quality is a progressive process rather than an additive one.
The sounds that reach your ears are affected by each step, including the mixing and processing of the original track, the audio file you playback or stream, the auditory hardware in your cellphone, and your headphones. The strength of this audio chain depends on how strong each link is.
Smartphone technology is so sophisticated that it’s now possible to download and listen to highly high-quality recordings.
In this post, I’ll discuss how to maximize the audio quality on your smartphone so you can get an audiophile-grade sound.
1. Play Only Hi-Res Audio Files on Your Phone
The definition for hi-res audio is not standardized, so this term essentially refers to audio better than CD grade. It can also refer to music with a higher sampling rate, bit rate, or both than a CD can offer.
According to this definition, hi-res audio includes everything that delivers a sampling frequency of more than 44.1 kHz or a sound depth more significant than 16 bits.
Despite this, “hi-res audio” typically refers to music with 192 kHz, 96 kHz, or 24-bit sampling rates. Additionally, you’ll encounter several 24-bit sampling levels, like 176.4 kHz, 88.2 kHz, and others.
2. Use Streaming Services that Offer Audiophile-Grade Sound
It’s not practical in the internet era to limit yourself to just the songs you’ve physically downloaded to your phone, especially when the most recent releases are readily available on streaming audio services like Tidal, Apple Music, and Spotify.
Like local files, you can stream content at various bitrates and formats. Spotify, for instance, offers three different Ogg Vorbis streaming quality options:
- 96 kbps (standard quality on smartphones, top standard on desktops)
- 160 kbps (premium quality on smartphones, regular quality on desktops)
- 320 kbps (premium quality on smartphones, top quality on desktops)
Only Spotify Premium users can use the latter option.
Higher bitrates are frequently behind a paywall, similar to the Spotify example. You need to pay for it or use a separate provider to ensure you get the finest sound possible.
Lossless streaming is an option if you want the best audio quality. It’s provided through platforms such as Tidal and Deezer and is occasionally referred to as “high-resolution sound.”
High-resolution sound has no set definition, although it typically refers to music supplied at a rate significantly greater than MP3. for example, CD-quality audio is delivered at a bit rate of 1411 kbps.
Although these higher bitrates may result in better-sounding music, given how hard it is for many listeners to recognize the distinction between FLAC and 320 kbps MP3 in double-blind studies, it’s likely more of a placebo effect.
Undoubtedly, you will consume a lot more data, which will be bad news for most of us with restricted data plans.
It’s like you’re paying twice for improvement because streaming services that offer lossless or high-quality audio are more expensive than their lossy counterparts.
However, streaming through Tidal or a comparable high-resolution audio provider is worthwhile if you want the best-sounding music imaginable.
3. Use Hi-Fi Headphones with Your Smartphone
You’ll only receive a hi-fi result if you own the most expensive smartphone in the world with audiophile-grade functionality and applications, but only if your headphones can handle it.
Getting hi-fi output from your iOS or Android device is dependent on different factors, each of which is equally crucial. This is why it’s great to invest in premium headphones.
You can generally choose from in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headsets. The names are self-explanatory, and you presumably know what they sound like and feel like. Any of them can make great choices for portable audiophile music.
It’s important to note that headphones come in closed-back and open-back variations. A closed-back model will reduce part of the ambient noise, whereas open-back models leak sound into and out of the headsets because they are open and vented.
An open model will provide you with greater comfort, a much more airy sensation, and more natural audio with good projection if you listen in a quiet setting.
Closed-back headsets are preferable if you want to listen in solitude. They are your only choice if you want to enjoy music without too much outside noise.
It’s not a good idea to listen to songs on the bus while wearing open-back headphones. The volume level will have to be turned up very loudly, which could harm your hearing.
Getting the audiophile-grade sound on your smartphone can be costly especially if you want to get premium quality music through streaming services or if you have to invest in a great pair of hi-fi headphones.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to how you can benefit from audiophile-grade sound and if you really need to have it on your smartphone.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.