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Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro Audio review: A good in-game audio performance

Reading Time: 10 min read
64
audio

Having arrived on the market in March 2021, the Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro and its “ultimate gaming design” comes with a triple camera setup, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, and a 500 Hz touch response screen for a highly responsive gaming experience. On the audio front, the Shenzhen-based manufacturer promises great, crystal-clear clarity for an immersive experience in games, videos, and movies. Using DTS:X Ultra X surround sound, the 6 Pro prides itself on accurately simulating directional sound for total audio immersion.

Audio specifications include:

  • Stereo speakers
  • 3.5 mm jack for headphone output
  • DTS:X Ultra X

About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. Note that we evaluate both Playback and Recording using only the device’s built-in hardware and default apps. (For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)

Test summary


Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro
64
audio
67
playback

55
recording

Playback

Pros

Cons

Recording

Pros

Cons

  • Unnatural tonal reproduction and distance rendering in videos due to resonances and inconsistent midrange
  • Mono recording
  • Poor nominal loudness and maximum level
  • Heavy clipping and hissing

The Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro’s overall Audio score of 64 places it in the lower half of our Audio protocol database of devices tested so far. It is hindered by a poor recording performance in which all sub-scores (apart from dynamics) are hamstrung by major shortcomings. Tonal balance and distance rendering feel unnatural because of resonances and inconsistencies in the midrange, and recorded files are mono, which impairs both wideness and localizability. What’s more, nominal loudness and the maximum reachable level without perceivable distortion are both fairly low, and spectral artifacts aren’t subtle.

The Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro’s audio performance stands out in gaming scenarios.

In the playback area, the RedMagic 6 Pro keeps its promise of delivering clear treble and good high-end extension. It is also very consistent in terms of its target audience: of all use cases, the 6 Pro scores highest — and by far — in gaming scenarios, thanks to speakers that are hard to occlude, precise localizability, good wideness, above-average distance rendering, loud volume, and few artifacts — whether spectral or temporal. Non-gaming areas, such as listening to music or watching movies, are more likely to be affected by the phone’s playback shortcomings, which include a severe lack of low-end extension, a particularly aggressive frequency response at maximum volume, a lack of vocal proximity, and an incorrectly tuned minimum volume.

Sub-scores explained

The DXOMARK Audio overall score of 64 for the Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro is derived from its Playback and Recording scores and their respective sub-scores. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at these audio quality sub-scores and explain what they mean for the user.

Playback

Timbre

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

59

82

Black Shark 4 Pro
Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (82)

Timbre tests measure how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency.

The RedMagic 6 Pro delivers clear treble and good high-end extension, which lead to a fairly high score in classical music and movie playback. While midrange is natural, a slight lack of low midrange is noticeable, as well as a general lack of low-end, as exhibited by other RedMagic phones.

Music playback frequency response

At maximum volume, high mids are too prominent and can become quite aggressive. As for orientation, the phone’s timbre performance is similar in landscape and in portrait mode.

Dynamics

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

68

81

Black Shark 4 Pro
Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (81)

DXOMARK’s dynamics tests measure how well a device reproduces the energy level of a sound source, and how precisely it reproduces bass frequencies.

The Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro produces faithful dynamics with quite good attack, correct bass precision, and above-average punch. That said, attack is slightly softened at quieter volumes, and slight compression along with bass distortions are noticeable at maximum volume.

Although it doesn’t bear too heavily on bass precision, the lack of low-end impairs the general bass envelope. The lack of low midrange energy is reflected in a lowered punch sensation. In terms of dynamics, among all use cases and listening levels, the phone scores highest when playing games and at nominal volume.

Spatial

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

68

82

Black Shark 4 Pro
Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (82)

The sub-attributes for perceptual spatial tests include localizability, balance, distance, and wideness.

Spatial reproduction is average: while localizability of sound sources is very good (even in portrait mode), playback is somewhat skewed towards the bottom speaker, hence delivering a slightly uncentered audio scene in landscape mode.

While perceived distance feels more realistic than with most devices, the lack of low midrange information induces a lack of vocal proximity, despite good clarity and presence. Finally, wideness in landscape mode is very satisfying, despite not rotating accordingly when the phone is used in landscape mode — which can be very impractical when the power outlet is on the wrong side of the couch!

Volume

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

69

79

Black Shark 4 Pro
Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (79)

Volume tests measure both the overall loudness a device is able to reproduce and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

While the RedMagic 6 Pro’s maximum volume is very satisfactory, its minimum volume isn’t well tuned, which prevents dynamic content (such as movies or classical music) from remaining fully intelligible. Volume steps are overall fairly linear and natural, except the first ones, which don’t allow the user to fine-tune the listening volume.

Hip-Hop Classical
Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro 75.9 dBA 72.8 dBA
Nubia Red Magic 5S 73.8 dBA 72.6 dBA
Vivo iQOO 7 Legend 71.6 dBA 70.2 dBA

Artifacts

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

86

96

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Best: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (96)

Artifacts tests measure how much source audio is distorted when played back through a device’s speakers. Distortion can occur both because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

The RedMagic 6 Pro turns in a good artifacts performance at nominal level for noise, spectral, and temporal artifacts. However, as mentioned in the dynamics section of this review, noticeable bass distortions appear at maximum volume. On another note, our engineers reported no user artifacts, such as easy-to-occlude speakers, which confirms its suitability for playing games.

Recording

Timbre

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

67

88

Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders
Best: Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (88)

As a recording device, the Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro produces an average score for timbre. Unlike in playback, bass racks up the highest score for all frequency ranges, and treble, the lowest.

Life video frequency response

The tonal balance in recorded files feels unnatural because of resonances and inconsistencies in the midrange. In life and selfie videos, voices sound canny due to metallic higher-pitched resonances, lack of low mids, and phasing issues. Recordings made in loud environments tend to focus too much on high mids, and suffer from a severe lack of high-end extension.

Dynamics

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

59

78

OnePlus 8
Best: OnePlus 8 (78)

Dynamics captured by the RedMagic 6 Pro’s microphones exhibit a decent envelope in most use cases, a good signal-to-noise ratio in urban scenarios, and an even higher one in quieter environments. That said, the attack for short transients tends to be softened in loud surroundings.

The RedMagic 6 Pro’s audio performance does well in selfie videos.

Spatial

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

41

78

Black Shark 4 Pro
Best: Black Shark 4 Pro (78)

Capturing the spatial attributes of a sound scene is not a strong suit for the 6 Pro’s microphones. Recordings are mono, which besides taking wideness out of the running, heavily impairs the localizability of the targeted sound sources. Further, phasing issues and the lack of low mids result in unrealistic distance rendering for voices.

Volume

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

43

89

Xiaomi Mi 10S
Best: Xiaomi Mi 10S (89)

Another weakness of the RedMagic 6 Pro’s is the audio volume for recorded files: while nominal loudness is quite poor — especially in meeting room scenarios and memos — the maximum level reachable without perceivable artifacts is also fairly low.

The Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro in a meeting scenario.

In terms of use cases, selfie videos come out best, with a sub-score of 62 for the recorded volume attribute, versus 57 for life videos, and 50 for meetings and for memos. Here are our test results, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale). As a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:

Meeting Life Video Selfie Video Memo
Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro -34.8 LUFS -23.9 LUFS -19.3 LUFS -27.7 LUFS
Nubia Red Magic 5S -26.9 LUFS -22.9 LUFS -21.3 LUFS -22.4 LUFS
Vivo iQOO 7 Legend -33.9 LUFS -29.3 LUFS -27.2 LUFS -28.8 LUFS

Artifacts

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

66

90

Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders
Best: Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders (90)

Audio scenes recorded through the RedMagic 6 Pro’s microphones exhibit quite a few sonic artifacts, among which are heavy clipping on shouting voices in all types of filmed videos, and noticeable hissing in videos recorded with the rear cameras.

You can check for artifacts yourself in this sample recording:

Background

Nubia RedMagic 6 Pro

29

58

Apple iPhone XS Max
Best: Apple iPhone XS Max (58)

In view of all the previous recording attributes, it comes as no surprise that the background performance is well below average. The lack of bass and resonances in the midrange, among other shortcomings, predictably induce an unnatural and unrealistic background restitution.

Conclusion

Although the Nubia’s latest flagship globally performs slightly better than the 5S, it is still hamstrung by a poor recording performance across all sub-scores — except for dynamics. In the playback area, however, the RedMagic 6 Pro fulfills its pledge by delivering clear treble, good high-end extension, and above all, a very good in-game audio performance thanks to the absence of user-induced artifacts, precise localizability, and good wideness.

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