UPDATE: I have spent the better part of the afternoon trying to get the Dolby Atmos ports to work on my phone and have finally thrown in the towel😞 There are so many versions but none of them work on my phone. No harm, no foul though - - I’m just happy my phone didn’t give up the ghost. I also noticed that 95% of the Dolby Atmos versions use only software for audio processing which would have been a waste (my phone has a dedicated high-performance audio chip) because I need a solution that supports hardware accelerated audio. I think the manufacturer did a pretty good job with the software so I don’t think I’ll miss anything without Atmos.
I’ve gone the extra mile and tried out the music players that @Jhym_idoyo mentioned earlier without Atmos and here’s my verdict…
Boy, oh, boy! The user interface is like it’s from the gingerbread days! Clearly the developer didn’t take much time on it. Probably to improve the audio quality?
Unfortunately the audio is nothing to write home about. It is flat and has no character whatsoever. Some songs get muddy making it difficult to make out the words. To make things worse, the equalizer doesn’t help at all because it supports only four bands and not even the useful ones! What! This is 2017! This media player is not getting any more of my time. So, what about the rest?
Jet Audio HD
The Soundstage has a bit more depth and the 10-band graphic equalizer is a big improvement compared to Neutron’s offering. There is, however, some range lacking because the equalizer starts at 60 Hz and ends at 13 kHz. If you’re a reggae lover you’ll notice the player’s lack of tuning options for low-range bass which is at around 30-50 Hz. I see that there’s an option to purchase the pro version of Jet Audio to unlock a 20-band equalizer (so that’s where the missing frequencies went!) The Jet Audio default sound effects haven’t changed much from the Windows version and they still aren’t any good. Bass is something that people love in music but the XBass effect fails to impress no matter which song you play. It looks like the effect’s low-pass filter is set too high just like the graphic equalizer. Increasing it just muddies the sound. Further, turning the knob just a little beyond the default causes so much clipping that you wonder why turn it on in the first place. Stereo widening is average and the environment knob only has hall, room, stage, and stadium; too few in my books. The one labeled AGC I presume means Automatic Gain Control but only seems to change volume - I thought it was sound normalization but I was out of luck there.
Unfortunately Jet Audio has buried all the good stuff in the premium version which I evaluated in Windows and they’re quite good. Although not enough to beat my favorite music player which I’ll get to in a bit.
One last thing… Jet Audio shows ads on the player screen which I don’t mind but every few screens it brings up the dreaded full screen ads which I absolutely detest. That alone is enough to make me uninstall any app. Credit where it’s due though and I feel like I could sort of beat Jet Audio into producing the kind of sound I’m looking for but only using the premium version. The lack of versatility on the free app is the deal-breaker.
This music player is a lot more intuitive than the other two and it’s easy to navigate however you want and you can search for a song from almost anywhere. The app itself has acceptable albeit flat sound and gets a little better when you install its separate DSP app.
That’s where the praises end. Although the music sounds okay(ish), things get bad quickly once you start tweaking the equalizer. The built-in presets are very accurate but enabling any of them reduces overall volume too much. I dislike the fact that the Preamp value is tied to the equalizer preset. You could get around that by creating your own preset though. I did that and the volume and sound quality improved. There are separate bass boost and virtualizer knobs beside the equalizer. Unfortunately when I started to increase any of them even a little over 10% the sound started clipping uncontrollably. I had to use the app without these two. Overall in terms of sound quality I’d place this app at number two. The developer has some work to do on those audio effects to make them passable.
It’s definitely my go-to music player because of its excellent sound. In fact the player sounds professional right from the first time you enable the equalizer and various boost effects. By far, PoweraAmp takes the least amount of effort to produce the best sound. I had to struggle so much with the other players to sound acceptably well but even the best settings didn’t bring them close to PowerAmp. Just the instant clarity that you get when you listen to PowerAmp coming from a different player gets my respect. PowerAmp is in a class of it’s own.
I found that it’s the only player that can play a great variety of songs on a single preset. The other ones you have to change things here and there to accommodate different genres. It has a full-range graphic equalizer and the best (only?) limiter I have ever seen on Android. Other music players don’t have any range limiter and are plagued with clipping issues. I’m impressed by how loud songs played in PowerAmp can get before the limiter kicks in. The newest (beta) version of PowerAmp has so many new features that prove that it’s still atop its game. It’s like the developer has reached the limit of what can be done in terms of sheer audio quality so he’s now adding even more things for the fans. The new visualizations are amazing. I also like the reverb settings that allow you to make remarkably realistic environments for your songs. Also coming up is a major overhaul of the User Interface that will bring PowerAmp to par with the best looking players out there.
To summarize all this yammering, here is my ranking of these four music players.
- PowerAmp (best overall)
- Player Pro (not-so-close second, needs work)
- Jet Audio HD (most worthwhile functions are pro only)
- Neutron (Nothing going for it.)