vivo X5 Pro Review: Audio


Vivo released X5 Pro last year, X5 series expanded after X5 and X5 MAX. Pro stands for Professional, and will audio system which is the most we concern be more Pro?

  • Source: Manufacturer
    Type: Mass produced
    Commercial Relationship: Yes

We have lowered our expectations after configuration of X5 Pro had been announced. The main processor of X5 Pro was upgraded from MT6592 to MT6752, while the audio I/O controller almost remained same. X5 MAX is equipped with Snapdragon 615, the performance will not change much. The DAC of X5 Pro is Cirrus Logic CS4398 with compact package which was equipped in X5, while the DAC of X5 MAX is ES9018 K2M. ES9018 K2M is better than CS4398 in technical details and specifications, but CS4398, which is also introduced in many hi-end Hi-Fi devices, is not bottleneck for mobile devices. In amplifying circuit, vivo introduced MAX97220, which is also introduced in X5, while vivo used ES9601 + OPA1612 in X5 MAX. The audio architect of X5 Pro is almost as same as X5, that of X5 MAX is more complex. Since vivo calls the audio architect of X5 MAX as Hi-Fi 2.0, that of X5 or X5 Pro is just Hi-Fi 1.0.

The Music player is almost remain the same with X5 MAX, except some detail optimization. Lyrics and album cover automatic download accuracy is higher, but album cover mismatch still exists. Local and online music playing is integrated. The online music is a just subsidiary function and content is limited, which cannot satisfy audiophiles. Main stream include loss and lossless audio formats are supported, but CUE is needed. Smart wake reserved, this function is used for trigger Music Player or switch music when screen is black. Smart wake is highly praised by us, but the Music Player is not. This optimization is not good enough.

Conventionally, we test X5 Pro earphone output with professional sound card for recording, then prove quantifying result. The result proves that the output level of X5 Pro under HiFi mode is -3.3dB, lower than X5s -2.2dB and X5 MAXs -1.4dB, same with Xshots -3.3dB. The output level of X5 Pro under ordinary mode is -10dB, while X5 is -7.5dB, Xshot is -5.3dB, and X5 MAX is -11.4dB.

Testing Item 44.1kHz@HiFi Mode 48kHz@HiFi Mode 96kHz@HiFi Mode 44.1kHz@Normal Mode 48kHz@Normal Mode X5 X5 MAX
Noise Level, dB -95.9 -96.7 -108.4 -93.2 -93.2 -96.5 -95.9
Dynamic Range, dB 96.2 96.5 108.6 95.5 95.5 96.3 96.5
Total Harmonic Distortion(THD), % 0.0019 0.0018 0.0018 0.0051 0.0051 0.0026 0.0012
Intermodulation Distortion, % 0.0052 0.0050 0.0030 0.0079 0.0079 0.0065 0.0043
Stereo Crosstalk, dB -88.4 -87.8 -86.5 -85.3 -85.3 -95.0 -93.0

Indicators of X5 Pro are good, THD and IMD is ideal. HiFi mode is significantly better than the normal mode, especially in THD, the signal is purer, less glitch, and better than X5 according to the graphs. Testing went smoothly, no SRC problem occurs. X5 Pro passed 96kHz testing, but decay and harmonic happens in extremely high frequency. We cannot figure out why. Similar things happened on Xshot, it may cause by Maxim MAX97220. Though, this will just affect what you hear and quantifying result a little. The stereo crosstalk is lower than before.

We choose X5 and X5 MAX for comparison. Because the quality between ordinary mode and HiFi mode is so large, our listening test is based on HiFi mode. Compared with smart phones without separate DAC and amplifier, X5 Pros performance under ordinary mode is over average.

The sound style of X5 Pro is similar to X5, but a little warmer and tenderer, while X5 MAX is more neutral. X5 MAX is better in dynamic, transient, and resolution, which is better in all aspects. High frequency of X5 Pro is a little brighter than X5, and richer in definition, while transient performance remains the same. When playing string music, overtone of X5 Pro is clearer than X5. Middle frequency of X5 Pro is also improved, the sound is fuller and more cohesion, better in definition than X5, and close to X5 MAX. The bass performance of X5 Pro is also similar to X5, better in density. The overall listening performance is tenderness, which is vivo insists from Xplay 3S on.

X5 Pro sounds like a slightly refined X5, the style is consistent, but more exquisite and clearer in detail and outline. Constrained by lower stereo crosstalk, the sound field of X5 Pro is smaller when listening. The overall performance of this two phones are similar, we can say X5 Pro is a little better, but just a little.

Neither X5 nor X5 Pro can be compared with X5 MAX in sound quality. X5 MAX is still the best in vivo, even in all smart phones currently. If you are pursuing the best of the best in sound quality, X5 MAX is the first one to choose, while if you are just finding a smart phone with better sound quality, not best, X5 Pro is enough. Compared with smart phones without separated DAC and amplifier, X5 Pro is much better, and there are few smart phones better than X5 Pro. X5 Pro is satisfied in sound quality, while Pro is not really Professional.

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