There are many guides on the internet on this topic but most of them are incorrect. You can not get audiophile-grade music on your flagship smartphones such as Samsung S22/S23 Ultra with advanced music apps such as PowerAmp, Samsung’s official USB C to 3.5mm converter and consumer-grade earphone such as Boat BassHeads 122.
The combination we have mentioned above, i.e :
- Samsung S22/S23 Ultra
- PowerAmp, after reading our suggested tweak.
- Samsung’s official USB C to 3.5mm converter
- Boat BassHeads 122
- Music of FLAC or equivalent format
…will deliver you far superior sound than most smartphone users ever hear but you’ll be unable to appreciate the difference between FLAC and MP3. CDs, FLAC sounds completely different from MP3.
There are reasons why your effort will not be fully effective:
- Samsung S22/S23 Ultra lacks a dedicated chipset for processing bass, treble, and midrange
- The standard Android audio stack resamples to a multiple of 48 kHz by default.
- Boat BassHeads 122 lacks dedicated drivers for bass, treble, and midrange
With the above setup, if you use Samsung A50s instead of Samsung S22/S23 Ultra, the difference will be minimal. Samsung S22/S23 Ultra is a great set for having the excellent display and the S Pen. In the same way, the Leica D-Lux 7 costs lesser than the Samsung S22/S23 Ultra and the quality of the photo is far more natural than that of the Samsung S22/S23 Ultra.
What We Can Do to Get Audiophile-Grade Music
We have to fix these three bottlenecks:
- Samsung S22/S23 Ultra lacks dedicated chipset for audio
- The standard Android audio stack re-samples to a multiple of 48 kHz
- Boat BassHeads 122 is not an audiophile-grade earphone
You need to purchase an external USB/USB type C DAC, such as FiiO BTR5 or BTR7, or AudioQuest DragonFly. FiiO FiiO BTR5 does not cost too huge – around $100. FiiO BTR7 is too good but investing so much is meaningless when we will use a smartphone as the main device. None of them will have the juice to power a bigger headphone.
Next, you need an app to bypass Android’s resampling. The only Android app which can do it I know is “USB Audio Player Pro” by eXtream Software Development. It will cost you around $8. The app is not flawless. It is better to not run any other app running while using this app.
Third, you will need an audiophile-grade in-ear-monitor (IEM). FiiO FH1s is an entry-level audiophile-grade in-ear-monitor.
With the above-described setup and high-quality rip from CDs (or official high-quality digital music files), you’ll get an entry-level audiophile-grade setup, it will fully bit perfect. Your total bill will be around $220.
The portable CD player is obsolete. Our habits have changed in these 15 years.
CD players are good as desktop versions from brands such as Marantz or Yamaha. When you are using IEMs, then digital is a better option.