HTC One (M8) Harman Kardon Version (Dash) Evaluation


Discuss area of interest. HTC’s Newest sensible fone The audiophile is betting on who can inform the distinction between an uncompressed 96kHz and 192kHz music observe. Oh, they usually must be on Dash. If this sounds such as you—somebody in search of studio-quality audio on a cell gadget—the One (M8) Harman Kardon Version is a dream come true. It is the identical nice smartphone as the unique One (M8), however with an improved pair of bundled earphones and a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for enjoying 24-bit/192kHz FLAC information. Everybody else can save $30 and get a superb paint job by sticking to the unique coloration.

we have now already reviewed One on Dash (M8)($59.00 on Amazon)(Opens in a brand new window), so try that assessment for full particulars about its options and design. The $229.99 (with a two-year contract) Harman Kardon model is sort of an identical bodily, so we’ll focus totally on the audio enhancements on this assessment.

a distinct look and sound
Bodily, the one seen distinction between this and each different (M8) is the paint job. As a substitute of the usual gold, grey or silver end, the Harman Kardon Version will get a black again and a gold face. Whereas there could also be some individuals on the market who discover this coloration mixture to be complementary, it positively does not attraction to my eye. Black particularly appears misplaced, making the One (M8) appear to be a silver mannequin that has been tinted with Sharpie.

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HTC One (Dash)

The opposite noticeable change is that the Harman Kardon variant comes with a distinct pair of earphones, that are a modified model of the Harman Kardon. AE earphones We reviewed again in 2012. They are a stable pair, with delicate suggestions that is good for permitting uncompressed audio tracks to shine. i nonetheless like my pair Bowers & Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones(on amazon)(Opens in a brand new window) for his or her higher match and higher bass response, however these beat out the earphones bundled with the standard One (M8). Though I used to be having a tough time getting a superb match; I wanted to make use of the most important set of ear tricks to get a correct seal, however they put on out shortly nonetheless. And I am not a fan of fashion; HTC has as soon as once more determined to make use of a black and gold motif, which makes the half that sticks to your ear appear to be a fancy dress jewelry.

Notice: The video under is of the unlocked HTC One (M8), which is bodily an identical to the Harman Kardon model besides in coloration.

On the audio entrance, there are just a few various things happening right here. The primary is software program based mostly, and is more likely to be of little curiosity to true audiophiles. The cellphone comes with Harman Kardon’s Clary-Fi expertise, which it claims restores the standard of compressed audio. It does this through the use of algorithms that increase the dynamic vary of the music, including again the excessive and low in actual time. To my ears, it principally seems like bass and treble increase, very like the Beats Audio integration within the first-generation HTC One, however rather less extreme. This offers the observe a barely greater, hotter sound.

The opposite setting, livestage, is meant to make the music sound as whether it is coming from a stage relatively than a channel. This appears to be achieved primarily by way of the addition of reverb, and when used at the side of Clari-Fi, truly makes most tracks sound wider and extra energetic. However on quite a lot of higher mid-range tracks like Weezer’s “The World Has Turned and Left Me Right here,” dwell stage music can sound considerably hole. And in the end, these are nonetheless software program tips that change the integrity of the sound, so audiophiles will flip them off (which is straightforward to do, however buried underneath the Settings menu).

The true purpose audiophiles think about this cellphone is not a software program trick, however relatively a digital-to-analog converter that gives lossless audio playback at 24-bit/192kHz. This implies you possibly can hearken to music that has been digitized in 24-bit audio at 192kHz (for comparability, CDs are 16-bit/44.1kHz). This is similar audio format supported by Neil Younger’s upcoming ponoplayerHowever the magnificence is that you simply need not purchase a devoted audio participant when you should use your cellphone.

That is in distinction to different HTC Ones (together with the unique mannequin launched final 12 months), which assist as much as 24-bit/96kHz FLAC. And the reality is, for most individuals, that needs to be greater than sufficient. The talk between 96kHz vs 192kHz audio is lengthy overdue, and many individuals do not hear the distinction in any respect. For instance, listening to 96kHz and 192kHz information on the One (M8), you really want an distinctive pair of ears to inform the distinction (although, for the document, each codecs sound nice by way of the cellphone). ). However if you’re in search of a smartphone that may double as a high-end audio gadget, the Harmon Kardon One (M8) cellphone is there.

Simply needless to say you may have to do some looking out to seek out these 24-bit, 192kHz tracks. Dash’s personal Music Plus app, included on the cellphone, does not provide FLAC information. You must obtain them from third-party websites like HDTracks(Opens in a brand new window) and import them to your gadget. Simply remember to purchase a big microSD card, as uncompressed tracks take up quite a lot of space for storing.

conclusion
The HTC One (M8) Harman Kardon Version takes probably the greatest Android telephones out there and makes it just a little higher—for some. In the event you’re a Dash consumer, and the type of one who can inform the distinction between 96kHz and 192kHz audio, then sure, the Harman Kardon model is certainly value it. However, should you’re by no means going to hunt and obtain uncompressed audio information, it can save you a couple of bucks by shopping for the essential mannequin. You could be lacking out on the higher earphones, however you may get by with the cellphone with a extra slick paint job. The Harman Kardon model nonetheless will get our Editors’ Selection, although the bottom mannequin is the doubtless selection for many consumers.

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