09-29-18 02:04 PM
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  1. Beakman's Avatar
    Hello all,
    I am wondering if the audio quality from the headphone jack is as good as or better than either the Playbook or the Passport.
    Reason I'm asking is that I normally use very good earbuds (Shure 846 and Westone W80) on my FiiO music player and ofter on my Passport, which sounds very good in comparison. I recently bought a Priv to test the android waters and when I plugged in the earbuds I couldn't believe how horrible the sound was on that phone. Same files and same music app as on the Passport but just awful!
    Is the KeyOne on par with the Passport or no better than the Priv? It would definitely be the deal-breaker if the latter.
    Thanks in advance.
    10-28-17 04:43 PM
  2. bb10adopter111's Avatar
    I'm an audiophile with a KEYone. I'll run an extended evaluation this weekend with a couple of different headsets and let you know what I find. My suspicion is that the KEYone won't be as good as the Passport, or the Z10, for that matter.

    Are there any good external DACs for USB C?

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    10-28-17 05:19 PM
  3. Beakman's Avatar
    Unknown on the external DAC but you may find some adapters on Amazon...
    Looking forward to the test results.
    I'm an audiophile with a KEYone. I'll run an extended evaluation this weekend with a couple of different headsets and let you know what I find. My suspicion is that the KEYone won't be as good as the Passport, or the Z10, for that matter.

    Are there any good external DACs for USB C?

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    10-28-17 05:42 PM
  4. anon(10268214)'s Avatar
    I'm an audiophile with a KEYone. I'll run an extended evaluation this weekend with a couple of different headsets and let you know what I find. My suspicion is that the KEYone won't be as good as the Passport, or the Z10, for that matter.

    Are there any good external DACs for USB C?

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    KEYone is definitely not an audiophile device, in my opinion. That is one area I would like to see TCL improve upon in future builds. Ditto for the built-in speakers (sound quality and loudness).
    anon(870071) likes this.
    10-28-17 05:44 PM
  5. celticmagick's Avatar
    I use the audio jack primarily in my car and I'm not happy with it myself. I find the audio on the low side - even with the help of an app's EQ. I have to turn the car stereo up louder, which I don't like to do.
    10-28-17 07:37 PM
  6. bb10adopter111's Avatar
    Preliminary listening notes with a variety of recordings and headphones (No headphone amps or external DACs):

    The KEYone is significantly less musical than either the Z10 or the Passport. In particular, the lower midrange, where most of the warmth comes from in acoustic music is dry and clipped.

    Amplification has never been a strong point for BlackBerry 10 or Android phones. The Passport is the best in this area, with the Z10 second and the KEYone just a bit quieter than the Z10.

    Overall, I'd give the Passport a solid B+ on its DAC performance, the Z10 a B-, and the KEYone a C to C-. By comparison, a computer with external DAC /amplifer is capable of A- quality, and an iPhone offers C+ quality to my ears. (I was trained as an orchestral musician and have played live music as a hobby for 30 years, and I've listened to almost every piece of high-end audio equipment under good conditions.)

    But don't take my word for it, listen for yourself. Just make sure to normalize the volume between devices before serious listening.

    I may post more notes later, but the KEYone is worse than the iPhone, which is saying something because the iPhone is, ironically, a lousy device for listening to music. The one saving grace of the iPhone is that it's loud, while the KEYone is mediocre in both sound quality and quantity.

    TCL seems to have grabbed the cheapest DAC they could find for the KEYone. Quality audio is one part of the BlackBerry legacy they simply ignored.

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    Beakman, FF22, andy957 and 2 others like this.
    10-29-17 04:28 PM
  7. Beakman's Avatar
    Crappo !
    Thanks for the review bb10adopter111. Can I ask what earphones/earbuds you used?
    Since the sound is lesser than expected I may as well skip to the Motion when the time comes in either the hope things have improved with that model or simply that there's no point in the KEYone. Sad turn of events hardware-wise, especially for myself who is having a hard time grasping the convoluted Android architecture.
    10-29-17 05:03 PM
  8. rotorwrench's Avatar
    I haven't listened to a K1 with IEMs yet but the BBs I have had with surprisingly good musicality and audio accuracy were the PlayBook with the Wolfson WM8994E chipset, which I still use for violin practice sessions, and the Z30
    10-29-17 05:07 PM
  9. mhw100's Avatar
    If you want any volume or quality get a Dragonfly and good pair of headphones.
    10-29-17 06:02 PM
  10. bb10adopter111's Avatar
    If you want any volume or quality get a Dragonfly and good pair of headphones.
    Yes, an external DAC/Amplifer like the Audioquest Dragonfly would completely bypass the poor DAC/Amplification on the KEYone, and the KEYone's large battery would allow you to listen longer than on other Android phones.

    Unfortunately, without wireless charging, there's no way to use a Dragonfly while keeping the phone plugged in, since it uses the USB port, so it won't work for all day listening.

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    10-30-17 05:09 AM
  11. anon(10268214)'s Avatar
    Yes, an external DAC/Amplifer like the Audioquest Dragonfly would completely bypass the poor DAC/Amplification on the KEYone, and the KEYone's large battery would allow you to listen longer than on other Android phones.

    Unfortunately, without wireless charging, there's no way to use a Dragonfly while keeping the phone plugged in, since it uses the USB port, so it won't work for all day listening.

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    OK so who's selling the all vacuum tube usb-c external DAC? Anyone?

    Transistors. Solid state. Bah! (Lol)
    FF22 likes this.
    10-30-17 04:40 PM
  12. supertom's Avatar
    Preliminary listening notes with a variety of recordings and headphones (No headphone amps or external DACs):

    The KEYone is significantly less musical than either the Z10 or the Passport. In particular, the lower midrange, where most of the warmth comes from in acoustic music is dry and clipped.

    Amplification has never been a strong point for BlackBerry 10 or Android phones. The Passport is the best in this area, with the Z10 second and the KEYone just a bit quieter than the Z10.

    Overall, I'd give the Passport a solid B+ on its DAC performance, the Z10 a B-, and the KEYone a C to C-. By comparison, a computer with external DAC /amplifer is capable of A- quality, and an iPhone offers C+ quality to my ears. (I was trained as an orchestral musician and have played live music as a hobby for 30 years, and I've listened to almost every piece of high-end audio equipment under good conditions.)

    But don't take my word for it, listen for yourself. Just make sure to normalize the volume between devices before serious listening.

    I may post more notes later, but the KEYone is worse than the iPhone, which is saying something because the iPhone is, ironically, a lousy device for listening to music. The one saving grace of the iPhone is that it's loud, while the KEYone is mediocre in both sound quality and quantity.

    TCL seems to have grabbed the cheapest DAC they could find for the KEYone. Quality audio is one part of the BlackBerry legacy they simply ignored.

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    I find the DAC to be the best I've heard over the Samsungs I have. You guys are aware that the Built-in Equalizer is turned OFF by default, right? After you turn it on, the sound is excellent.

    To turn it on, go into Google Play Music --> Settings --> Equalizer... then turn it on, select a preset (i have it on Rock) and adjust the bass and it sounds AMAZING! Much better than my Galaxy S8 (at least on my car stereo system)
    10-30-17 06:08 PM
  13. supertom's Avatar
    I use the audio jack primarily in my car and I'm not happy with it myself. I find the audio on the low side - even with the help of an app's EQ. I have to turn the car stereo up louder, which I don't like to do.
    turn on the built-in equalizer.. it's turned OFF by default.. my KEYone sounds way better than my Galaxy S8 after turning it on
    10-30-17 06:10 PM
  14. supertom's Avatar
    Hello all,
    I am wondering if the audio quality from the headphone jack is as good as or better than either the Playbook or the Passport.
    Reason I'm asking is that I normally use very good earbuds (Shure 846 and Westone W80) on my FiiO music player and ofter on my Passport, which sounds very good in comparison. I recently bought a Priv to test the android waters and when I plugged in the earbuds I couldn't believe how horrible the sound was on that phone. Same files and same music app as on the Passport but just awful!
    Is the KeyOne on par with the Passport or no better than the Priv? It would definitely be the deal-breaker if the latter.
    Thanks in advance.
    Sounds great once you turn on the equalizer (which is turned off by default).. sounds terrible if it's off.
    10-30-17 06:12 PM
  15. celticmagick's Avatar
    turn on the built-in equalizer.. it's turned OFF by default.. my KEYone sounds way better than my Galaxy S8 after turning it on
    Oh yeah, I'm rocking the EQ and it makes a nice difference. However, it's still lower than my previous phones. I have it now where I can cruise and enjoy my tunes well enough
    10-30-17 06:20 PM
  16. supertom's Avatar
    Oh yeah, I'm rocking the EQ and it makes a nice difference. However, it's still lower than my previous phones. I have it now where I can cruise and enjoy my tunes well enough
    Yeah, i find the bass to be much fuller after adjusting it to my liking
    10-30-17 06:25 PM
  17. Beakman's Avatar
    I wouldn't use the potted player, it's Neutron or nothing, The quality of sound should be evident without any equalization. If not, it is just polishing a turd, pardon the expression.
    10-30-17 08:36 PM
  18. FF22's Avatar
    I find the DAC to be the best I've heard over the Samsungs I have. You guys are aware that the Built-in Equalizer is turned OFF by default, right? After you turn it on, the sound is excellent.

    To turn it on, go into Google Play Music --> Settings --> Equalizer... then turn it on, select a preset (i have it on Rock) and adjust the bass and it sounds AMAZING! Much better than my Galaxy S8 (at least on my car stereo system)
    Does turning it on in Google's Music app leave it on or usable in other music apps?
    10-30-17 09:36 PM
  19. supertom's Avatar
    Does turning it on in Google's Music app leave it on or usable in other music apps?
    yes, turning it on in Google Play Music, will turn it on system-wide
    FF22 likes this.
    10-30-17 10:53 PM
  20. supertom's Avatar
    I wouldn't use the potted player, it's Neutron or nothing, The quality of sound should be evident without any equalization. If not, it is just polishing a turd, pardon the expression.
    turning on the equalizer turns it on system-wide
    10-30-17 10:54 PM
  21. bb10adopter111's Avatar
    Equalizers just adjust the amplification of different frequencies. They don't improve the actual audio signal. An equalizer is the audio equivalent of makeup. It can mask some deficiencies but it does not make a poor audio signal any better.

    Posted with my trusty Z10
    10-30-17 11:23 PM
  22. mhw100's Avatar
    I didn't find that the stock EQ increases the volume.
    10-31-17 12:29 AM
  23. karloil's Avatar
    Hey! I'm also into personal audio! 👌

    When i'm out and about, i just use the K1 straight with my IEMs. When i'm home, i pair it with a Mojo - big improvement in SQ.
    10-31-17 07:40 AM
  24. anon(10268214)'s Avatar
    Does anyone know what the actual specification is for audio on the KEYone? Can't seem to find that listed anywhere (audio bit rate, for starters...)
    10-31-17 09:10 AM
  25. karloil's Avatar
    Does anyone know what the actual specification is for audio on the KEYone? Can't seem to find that listed anywhere (audio bit rate, for starters...)
    It's on the Snapdragon 625 spec sheet:
    - 24bit/192kHz
    - Dolby 5.1 support

    And that's just about it...
    10-31-17 09:21 AM
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