Can android replace an ipod?

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by everett_psycho, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. everett_psycho

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 20, 2009
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    Christchurch NZ
    I mentioned this in another thread and a couple of people expressed some interest so I thought it deserved it's own thread.

    A little background:

    Having used ipod classics for a few years I was quite content with their sound quality and functions and most importantly the size of their drive was the big selling point, having a digital music collection over 32gb in size really starts to limit your options in a sensible price bracket. After the 2 year mark I was fully prepared for my ipod to meet it's maker and just before last christmas the hard drive completely failed on me, conveniently I also just upgraded my phone leaving my old LG optimus 2x useless on the side (no one was going to buy it the thing was rubbish as a phone), so I got to thinking could this be my ipod replacement?

    before I go in to more detail just a note that I wont be covering some bits here, things like rooting your phone and flashing rom's and kernels I'm assuming people already know or can use google and xda to get more details.

    The basics:

    Anyone familiar with the o2x will know it's been plagued with software bugs from day one, even with custom roms the thing was useless, however after some reading it turns out the hardware inside if in fact pretty good. The phone has a tegra 2 chip, 512mb RAM and sports hdmi out, most importantly for this thread though is that it contains a wolfson DAC, initially i didn't think a lot of this as the sounds never been noticeably better than my ipod or any other phone but as with all the software it turns out LG really didn't get how to use this thing properly, so a quick google came up with some tips.

    The method:

    First things first you'll need a rom, someone recommended I use the chuck norris one based on CM7 but I had some problems with that so eventually just plumped for bog standard CM7.2 that can be found in rom managers download area, make sure you install the gapps as well as you'll be needing the play store. From a fresh install with a completely blank phone, well almost. I've gone a bit further here and gone in to the app details and disabled or uninstalled almost everything I deemed unnecessary, this might vary for you but essentially I've taken away everything that might try and refresh in the background to save the battery, so apps like gmail are all frozen off.

    Next up is the kernel, you'll need to do a bit of research here to check it works with voodoo sound as that's the important bit for the improved sound quality. In this case I've opted for the vorx kernel, it's nothing fancy but it has the support I needed. Once this is all sorted you'll need to install the voodoo sound app, this little bit of witchcraft from supercurio is what makes the wolfson work like it should, the leap in sound quality is pretty impressive, i'm no audiophile but there is a clear difference.

    Final key app is to get a player, I tried google music and apollo, while they were adequate they weren't brilliant, I've soon replaced it with poweramp, leaves a nice interface and a good library, also works really well with the display on my MW600 bluetooth headset displaying track information.

    That's the technical side,it's not anything overly complex, if you can flash rom's and root your phone you will be fine. After that it's a lot of setting tweaking to get the look and feel just right, with poweramp you can set it to replace your phones lockscreen with a dedicated music based one and control tracks using volume keys so you don't waste that precious battery power turning the screen on.

    Is it any good?

    I had little hope of it being very good after having used it as a phone but it turns out it's actually a decent bit of kit. I've not got top end kit or all my music as FLAC so it might not rival top end players, I'm afraid i can't really test the high end performance, but i like the sound it's producing, now I'm used to it and tried my nexus 4 earlier today there is a noticeable difference in the sound. The other perks of this is the functionality, so with the hdmi socket and mx player it's a good video player, I've left some apps like youtube on there as well just in case I want to use it like this. The extra connections like wifi and bluetooth are proving useful, and I use it as a squeezebox player and remote from time to time, if you have everything on there you could even use it as a squeezebox server with some playing. I've also bought myself a ovivo sim card and shoved it in there, I run the phone in aeroplane mode all the time so it has no effect on battery but if i need it it's there for calls, texts and mobile wifi, i just flick it out of aeroplane mode and it's good to go.

    The big downfall is the price, I happened to have the right phone and the right need, would I pay £150 for a o2x to make in to an mp3 player? probably not, i'd buy a dedicated player, but if you happen to have a phone that has a good dac, or if you have one laying around that's on the voodoo sound supported list it's definitely worth a shot.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  2. Ari33

    Active Member

    Jan 22, 2009
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    Thanks everett, if SQ is highest on your requirements list be sure to take a look at the trial version of Neutron player, the UI isn't as good and it takes a bit of getting used to but it does have a more neutral FQ response, a cleaner output than powerAmp, ie; lower noise and IMD + noise. ;)

    I'm thinking of buying a Samsung Galaxy S1 (IS9000) to use solely as a music player, specifically for its Wolfson DAC and the Voodoo sound option.

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