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LG is quadrupling down on the headphone jack

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New Quad DAC system takes aim at mobile audiophiles

LG V10 hands-on review photos
LG V10
LG V10

LG is building up to the September 6th launch of its second flagship phone for 2016, the V20, by revealing little snippets and details about it ahead of time. First up is the sound, which this year will be powered by no less than four ESS digital-to-analog converters, all working in concert to produce more refined sound and higher signal-to-noise ratio. This quad-DAC approach is similar to what you’ll find in the Apogee Groove USB DAC and amplifier, and there is indeed merit in the multiplication of internal complexity beyond mere spec bloat. The extra equipment will do nothing to improve wireless audio performance, but it will certainly enhance LG's credentials with audiophiles seeking the best possible sound out of the headphone jack on their phone.

To adapt the new audio system to a mobile environment, LG has collaborated with ESS and engineered a low-power mode whereby three of the DACs automatically shut off when playing back lower-quality music or using lower-quality headsets. The two companies also worked together on the V10, the V20’s predecessor, which came with a similarly high-end 32-bit DAC from ESS — though that handset was somewhat constrained in the number of apps that could make use of its high-fidelity output.

We can look forward to more V20 details emerging over the coming days and weeks, though the official stuff we know for now is that it will be released in September with Android Nougat, this new quad DAC system, and yes, a headphone jack.

Hands-on with the LG V10