LG V40 ThinQ on a table

By retaining the headphone jack, the LG V40 is able to reproduce high-quality audio that takes advantage of the integrated Hi-Fi DAC. Of course, listeners can still go wireless for the sake of convenience but at the expense of audio quality. So how do you take full advantage of the audio features afforded by the V40? Let’s explore.

Internal adjustments on the LG V40

If hardware volume buttons fail, users can make adjustments from the Sound Quality and Effects menu. In a similar vein, the option to normalize volume is available, too. While Spotify offers this feature in its app, other streaming services don’t. This preventative feature effectively mitigates jarring volume changes.

When customizing the EQ settings, rather than boosting what you want more of, cut what you want less of to reduce distortion.

When working with cheaper earbuds or headphones, the equalizer comes in handy. There’s a slew of EQ presets to choose from, and playing around with them forces a marked difference in audio characteristics.

  1. Normal: This retains a neutral profile, that doesn’t add emphasis to any particular frequency.
  2. Classic: Sub-bass, vocals, and really high frequencies all receive a boost. This is good for people who want more of a commercial, consumer sound quality.
  3. Pop: Bass response becomes even more emphasized, but the sub-bass is underemphasized compared to “classic” mode.
  4. Rock: If you’re partial to artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd, this is good for you.
  5. Hip-Hop: It makes sense that bass and vocals are the stars of this EQ preset. This really only works with bass-heavy music, listening to acoustic ballads through this preset sounds odd.
  6. Jazz: Piano, saxophone, and vocals will all stand out with this preset due to the 1kHz and 4kHz spikes.
  7. Latin: This option vaguely echoes the “jazz” settings, but adds more bass oomph less to the treble response.
  8. Acoustic: The slight low-end increases perceived fundamental frequency response of guitars in particular, while the 4kHz increase bodes well for vocals and their harmonic resonances.
  9. Electronic: Sub-bass and treble receive the most alteration. The corresponding increases play well to synthesized music.
  10. Lounge: This one’s always entertaining by name alone. It increases the lowest and highest frequencies while decreasing midrange frequency response. That way,  listeners get the vibe of a song without falling prey to overly forward vocals.
  11. Vocal booster: This keeps the lowest frequency responses nearly untouched while increasing the vocal frequency range. The bass boost helps keep voices sounding natural, rather than tinny like a phone call might do.
  12. Treble booster: If you’re working with bass-heavy headphones like Beats or most workout options, this is good to counteract their exaggerated responses.
  13. Bass Booster: Earbuds with poor isolation and improper ear tips will benefit from this preset.

While the pre-made options are convenient and effective, the custom option promotes more granular modifications — similarly to the Sony WH-1000XM3 app. Turning up the virtual knobs can result in unwanted distortion, though; instead, try lowering the knobs corresponding to the frequencies you want to be less prominent during playback.

External audio

LG V40 ThinQ ports in hand

To take full advantage of the LG V40 ThinQ audio settings, you’ll need wired headphones.

This section is a bit more comprehensive and requires the LG V40 to be connected by wire. Doing so enables the Hi-Fi Quad DAC, whereas listening wirelessly only permits 3D sound compensation.

DTS:X 3D Surround

This setting emulates a three-dimensional space, and listeners are given three options: wide, front, and side to side.

If you want access to the V40s most comprehensive audio features, you’ll need a wired connection.

  1. Wide: This adds reverb to vocals and midrange frequencies. While this makes for a more engaging sound than “front,” it’s inordinate for my tastes and renders vocals underemphasized.
  2. Front: This option is the only one I wouldn’t recommend. The audio’s modified reproduction made things sound too “narrow” if you will. Additionally, the treble becomes far too sibilant and leaves the ears fatigued.
  3. Side to side: If I’m going to use this feature, this is the mode I opt for. It increases perceived spatial awareness, without creating an echo chamber-esque sound. While loudness is increased with this mode notably more than the others, it’s enjoyable for casual listening and commuting.

Take full advantage of the LG V40 Hi-Fi Quad DAC

First, let’s get a working definition of a Digital-Analog Converter (DAC): all it does is convert a digital signal to an analog one. That’s it!

The additional sound presets may seem curious. After all, we already discussed the EQ presets above. While it may seem that this is an overlooked redundancy, it’s not. Rather than adjusting the sound after it’s been processed, the DAC presets are applied during the conversion process and results in more accurate calibration. As depicted by the graphs, the actual frequency response is what’s being changed in the order of decibels.

  1. Normal: Like the “normal” EQ preset, this leaves the audio virtually untouched; use it if your headphones already provide an ideal response for your ears.
  2. Enhanced: If you consider yourself an indiscriminate listener who toes the line with the average consumer, this is for you. It increases the mids just a bit while adding perceived clarity by increasing the treble response.
  3. Detailed: Bass isn’t for everyone, and if that idea resonates with you the detailed preset may be best. It places plenty of emphasis on instruments and vocals, with two troughs before 4kHz and 10kHz to prevent the mids from masking the treble frequencies.
  4. Live: This adds a sloping emphasis to the low-end and treble frequencies. I happened to use this option the least.
  5. Bass: Bassheads will gravitate toward this preset as it maxes out bass response but sacrifices vocal clarity.

What sounds good to your ears will differ from what sounds good to my ears. Not to mention that the sound quality is also dependent on what headphones are being used. That said, if you’re using a bass-heavy headset — say a pair of Beats — then you may want to counteract things by enabling the “detailed” preset. Who knows, maybe you want to go the whole nine yards and listen with the “bass” preset active; it’s not like the studio sound is for everyone.

Digital filter options

This is pretty neat and a function I didn’t think I wanted. Being able to adjust the spectral delay can change the vibe of a song. LG’s descriptions describe how the short, sharp, and slow filters change the sound. If you’re going to use one of them, I suggest either short or sharp as slow causes an abrupt stop to instrumental resonances.

Balance

The balance option nested under the Sound Quality and Effects menu isn’t the same as the accessibility balance option, which allows for mono mode. Instead, the dials let users adjust the balance of each side within a 6dB range from 0dB to -6dB.

Enable developer settings to force specified Bluetooth codec use, sample rates, and bit depths

All Android 8.0 and newer phones can access developer settings. If your headphones can’t recognize that your phone supports high-quality codecs, you can use these settings to force recognition. The same can be applied to if your phone doesn’t recognize that your headphones support aptX for example.

  1. Open up the general settings.
  2. Go to “About Phone” and select “Software Info.”
  3. Tap “Build number” seven times.
  4. Exit out to to the general settings menu, and scroll until you see a tab that reads, “Developer options.”
  5. From here, scroll down to the bottom of “Networking” to adjust the Bluetooth codec, audio sample rate, audio bits per sample, audio channel mode, and LDAC playback quality.

Ultimately, whether you use one, none, or all of these settings, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to understand how each function operates. Now, stop reading and get to listening.

UP NEXT: 5 things the LG V40 ThinQ cameras can do that the Huawei P20 Pro can’t

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