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cell phone/tablet dac directly to amplifier

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

 Greetings,

I am new to the forums. I am trying to compare audio hardware on phones and tablets.

Specifically, I am considering LG3,  Vivo X5 Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 4Vivo XshotMeizu MX 4 ProHTC One (M8), Will these phones send a good signal into my after market amp (arc-audio) out the headphone jack, or do i still need a line driver.  If I buy a line driver, for not much more money,  can I get one with an on-board dac?  If that will also charge the phone, isn't that rendering the phone's dac irella...I would consider the iPhone with the  iStreamer 12V in that situation.  This would also give me charging, and thus, one less cable dangling around the dash area.  Not  a head phone question, I know, but the discussions on Head-Fi seem closer to what I am interested in, then elsewhere.

     I have a new barebones cargo van, for work,  that can't be sidelined with the door panels off and the dash apart etc, so I am simply going to bypass the factory install all-together.  This also makes removal easier when I sell the van.   I can scribe/mold my shapes, then do the messy stuff outside the van. I have aftermarket speakers, amp etc and will construct something that looks passable, which is easy placement wise cuz the van is so bare-bones. I should say that I am not interested in bluetooth or highly compressed files; done my listening, in my car, and that is my opinion! 

  I would also like a list of comparable tablets, dac-wise.  A comprehensive list of cell phones and tablets with stated dac capabilities is hard to find. Usually not mentioned in general product reviews like  cnet's review of the HTC One, for example where they tested the low quality music file preloaded by Sprint, and talked about the front face speakers, two things I don't care at all about. There is a lot of confusion because of apps and bloatware.  I am really only interested in the hardware.  Even the manufacturer's websites don't clarify what the audio hardware is capable of.

 

Thanks for your suggestions

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmstereo View Post
 

 Greetings,

I am new to the forums. I am trying to compare audio hardware on phones and tablets.

Specifically, I am considering LG3,  Vivo X5 Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 4Vivo XshotMeizu MX 4 ProHTC One (M8), Will these phones send a good signal into my after market amp (arc-audio) out the headphone jack, or do i still need a line driver. 

 

Universal devices might not have enough voltage to drive an amplifier without any distortion; they all use an integrated DAC+headphone amplifier chip. Older versions like on the iPod 5g was horrible with a 300ohm load, although the iPad is a hell of a lot better (as good as my laptop, if not better due to more accessible EQ apps).

 

Driving IEMs this is never a problem since the listener would be on their way to going deaf before they hit a lot of audible distortion on most IEMs (they're sensitive enough, but in some cases their response is made worse by the phone's distortion, like with my SGS3 and ASG-1.3). 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmstereo View Post
 

If I buy a line driver, for not much more money,  can I get one with an on-board dac?  If that will also charge the phone, isn't that rendering the phone's dac irella...I would consider the iPhone with the  iStreamer 12V in that situation.

 

Technically that would be a DAC with line out (instead of headphone output only, as in some cases), not a "line driver with DAC." However there's still the problem of controlling the volume well as some devices or apps may disable volume control on the device (or at least it does on Win7 when a USB DAC is plugged in, not sure about Android and iOS since I've never used either that way).

 

Still, what are your goals for the system, exactly? Is it for ultimate SQ from the driver's seat? If it is it would be better to run the signal from the DAC into a processor (just make sure you get one with RCA input) as they not only have the DSP that can do corrective time alignment and EQ but also have a volume control that you just need to wire up and install (at least they do if they're taking in a fixed voltage line out; most of them take the amplified output from stock systems and use the stock volume control, with the ADC and DSP adjusting on the fly). Otherwise, you could just go with the extra wire and use a USB-powered DAC that works with mobile devices and has a preamp output (I think the NuForce UDAC3 does, but double check on that) .

post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmstereo View Post

I would also like a list of comparable tablets, dac-wise.  A comprehensive list of cell phones and tablets with stated dac capabilities is hard to find.

Yes. Because not all tablets/smart phones are great for using with USB audio, not all versions of Android work well, and not all usb DACs work well. So basically, you have to really dig to discover what will work with what. Perhaps this thread will help: http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

How about just one phone recommendation?  One phone that can plug directly into an amp, with no other processors in between, through the headphone out, not the usb.  Using a 3.5mm to rca adapter. Using the phone for volume control etc..At most a cheap rca-rca line driver(http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pre-Amp-RCA-Input-Output-Line-Driver-Signal-Amplifier-/360220383998) no need for an external dac if the phone already has a good one.

post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmstereo View Post
 

How about just one phone recommendation?  One phone that can plug directly into an amp, with no other processors in between, through the headphone out, not the usb.  Using a 3.5mm to rca adapter. Using the phone for volume control etc..At most a cheap rca-rca line driver(http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pre-Amp-RCA-Input-Output-Line-Driver-Signal-Amplifier-/360220383998) no need for an external dac if the phone already has a good one.

 

Just mind the noise - even 8v Eclipse HUs had some hiss, and they aren't applying their output stage to a signal coming off a smartphone's 3.5mm output. Try it first but check for noise in a mock-up install.

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