iDevices (iPod, iTouch & iPhones) are very popular portable music player among Filipinos and generally everyone in the world. It became the standard when it comes to music experience and sound quality performance. I wondered if there are local brands that can keep up or even beat the sound quality of the much more popular and expensive iPod Touch 4th Gen.

I recently discovered MyPhone A848i (Unknown DAC / Sound Card *I suspect that they use Yamaha Chips here) and it seems to be better than an iPod Touch 4th Gen (Cirrus Logic 338S0589 *Iphone 4 uses this too) which is a dedicated music player and from my memory, it is on par with one of the best sounding iPhone ever made which is iPhone 3G (Wolfson WM6180).

Today, I am going to show you the comparisons I've made and please take note that everything I will say is subjective and is based on my personal experience.

MyPhone A848i vs Ipod Touch 4th Gen (Output Sound Quality Alone)
A848i vs iPod Touch

The Battle

To make sure that the battle will be fair, I turned off the equalizer of both iTouch and A848i and adjusted their volume at the same listening level of my ears.

I also used the default music player for both Itouch and A848i.

No EQ's! :)
I used a budget balanced sounding IEM (In-Ear Monitor), the VSONIC VC02 and chose HiSound Popo mini tri-flange (it's one of the best sounding ear tips I have).

The old reliable VC02 for a balance sound signature to my test
Note: No portable amplifiers and line out's are used in this review.

The Sound

Lows: A848i > iTouch

Sound quality is almost the same but the sub-bass of A848i is a little better to my taste. Both are powerful and can extend deep. A848i presents a little more impact while the iTouch bass is a little tighter. Both would sound muddy compared to other audiophile dedicated DAP's (Digital to Analog Player).

Mids: A848i > iTouch

Vocal details sound a little better with A848i. They both have the same feel of quality, but I do find the mids of A848i a little more non fatiguing. Both gives good details to instruments and layering. A848i sounded a little more alive and excels better in live music. A848i and iTouch are average performers to other type of genres. Both sounded artificial compared to my desktop rig though.

Highs: A848i => iTouch

A848i seems to have the same crisp and sparkle average quality as the iTouch. iTouch sounded a little faster, but both have good power and can extend well.

Soundstage: A848i > iTouch

A848i sounds nicer, wider and feels more 3D than an iTouch. Both sounded not too distant which gives the perception of an arena feel. You just can hear a better resolution of the detail wherein you can hear the placement of instruments and the singing artist a little better with the A848i than the iTouch,

Volume: A848i < iTouch

By default, the iTouch's max sound level is louder than the A848i. With normal human listening level, it is not that advisable to crank the volume that loud. A848i can catch up a little though when equalized.

Let me break the rules

I turned on the V Shaped Equalizer with a little bass and 3D effect boost this time :)
To my surprise MyPhone A848 reacts amazingly well with EQing. This is the 1st budget smartphone / music player that I've experienced that could be EQed without losing details in sound quality. Another notable thing is its bass boost. It doesn't overdo the bass and gives a louder feel to it. The 3D effect works well and gives a more realistic 3 Dimensional feel without losing details unlike other music players and phones.

Tracks Used: (MP3 320kbps, FLAC & ALAC Mixture)

  • Young Volcano - Fall Out Boys
  • Anything But Ordinary - Avril Lavigne
  • So Much In Love - Zia Quizon
  • Constantly - Nina
  • Bad - Wale
  • Tender Surrender - Steve Vai
  • Oo - Up Dharma Down


Considering sound quality and price, I recommend the MyPhone A848i than the much pricier and supposedly better dedicated music player line from Apple Inc.

Plus A848i is not only a music player alone. It is also a solid durable dual SIM budget android phone. I'm really really surprised on how well A848i renders music. I am now sure its DAC or sound card (hopefully MyPhone will provide it in their spec sheet).

As a semi audiophile, I commend MyPhone for producing this budget device with good sound quality. It sounds really good on headphones, earphones and in-ear monitors. Hopefully other local brands would step-up to improve the sound quality of their devices. 

I'm looking forward to hearing the higher-end MyPhone products in the near future to know if they have better sound quality than A848i. Cheers! 

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