Android phones and USB DACs
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DanBa

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I'm trying to get USB audio support added back into CyanogenMod, specifically for the Galaxy S3 series. If this issue affects you, please vote for it on the Cyanogen JIRA tracker here.
 
Voted!
 
This issue doesn’t affect me, because I still use stock Android.
But another option is never a bad thing.
 
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post-9279905
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caracara08

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As an aside, for all of you Samsung users out there, do yourselves a giant favor and install: (1) nova launcher, and (2) the jelly bean hd theme, in place of touchwiz.  No rooting is required, and both apps are free.  Nova launcher is basically a UI overlay, but it runs smoother and looks so much better than stock touchwiz.
looks like the theme costs money.. unless i am looking at the wrong one.
 
edit: not saying I wouldnt pay the $1. just wondering if I have the right app.
 
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post-9279967
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fuzzy1969

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The proper Nova launcher is not free and its actually a bit of a memory hog.
 
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post-9280074
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skeptic

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Quote:
looks like the theme costs money.. unless i am looking at the wrong one.
 
edit: not saying I wouldnt pay the $1. just wondering if I have the right app.
 
Sorry for the confusion about this.  It shows up in my app drawer as "Jellybean HD".  But in the app store, the free version I picked up is actually listed as "Jelly Bean Apex / Nova Theme" (url: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.photox.jbhd&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5waG90b3guamJoZCJd )
 
Quote:
The proper Nova launcher is not free and its actually a bit of a memory hog.
 
Negative.  The free version has everything you need.  I still plan to pay the $5 one of these days just to support the devs, but all this buys you is additional gestures, app drawer mods, scroll effects and advanced dock swipe options.  I don't anticipate using any of these features except possibly scroll effects for amusement.  
 
I haven't had any issues with memory whatsoever, although I understand that prior to the release of version 2.0 several months ago, there were some complaints about this.  Nova has been smooth as butter for me - way better than my experiences with stock touchwiz, multiple versions of sense, apex, go launcher, etc.  
 
Opinions certainly vary, but the look and feel is just so much better than Samsung stock:
 
 

 
 
 
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post-9280670
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john65537

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Quote:
 
 
[size=9.5pt]A lot of USB-related source codes to be mastered:[/size]
[size=9.5pt]https://github.com/sgs3/GT-I9300_Kernel/tree/master/drivers/usb[/size]
 
[size=9.5pt]May be, you should ask the following guys:[/size]
[size=9.5pt]http://forums.zzkko.com/topic/1190-aml-or-usb-flashing/#entry8635[/size]
[size=9.5pt]http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/40981-novo-10-hero-firmware-411-1108/[/size]
Thanks!
slatedroid.com have some threads very informative for android's USB DAC issue.
 
I'm following tsynik's method in http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/29289-usb-audio-cards-support-drivers-and-libs/
Good luck to me.
 
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post-9280701
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NZtechfreak

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Hey guys, I see some off-topic stuff about recommended launcher and so forth - just a suggestion, perhaps keep that in the Android-Fi thread? It isn't on topic here and this thread is long enough without diluting it with irrelevant information.
 
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Lifted Andreas

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Retrias

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or the rom doesn't have the usb audio feature
jellybean =/= usb audio
 
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fuzzy1969

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@geko95gek
 
Yes but its not the same hardware, I think a lot of the problems with not getting the USB audio to work across different platforms(hardware) is there no standard for Android devices regarding the hardware (mainly the USB interface), which I think is why Google have left it upto device manufacturers to add it in.
 
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post-9282772
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Swimsonny

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Oh yes the Sunrise Audio Ray works with S3 as well. Should have mentioned that!
 
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vrln

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Head-Fi Special Deal (tm) PCStep just arrived today. Jan requested impressions to be kept to this thread so that´s what I´ll do! Haven´t been able to test it with the Galaxy S 3 yet, but will as soon as I get my USB OTG cables from Amazon. Just plugged the PCStep in via USB, tomorrow I´ll buy some batteries for it. Here are my first impressions from a first time Meier Audio product owner:
 
- Communication with Dr. Meier 100% perfect, does he ever sleep? He´s replied to my emails usually within an hour. 
- Arrived well packaged with printed in depth instructions and a few cables.
- Nice size. Not big, not too small. Very portable, something I can and will just throw in my bag without a worry of breaking it.
- Superb build quality. It´s a brick out of aluminum, volume knob (which is NOT a standard pot, more about this later) has a very nice mechanical feel to it. High quality connectors.
- It can run either 100% out of USB (DAC + amp section), USB + battery (higher supply voltage, 9V instead of 5V from USB) or from AC (max 15V). Batteries/power supply isn´t included, but the instructions have more info on what to buy. I´ll use rechargeable batteries mostly.
- DAC chip/USB receiver is BB2702: http://www.ti.com/product/pcm2702.
- Once my ODAC arrives I can test the DAC section separately.
- Everything powered via USB works great. No hiss, no humm, no pops, no clicks.
 
As for the sound quality: just heard it for 15 minutes so far, but it has a nice rhythm and you are tempted to turn the volume high as the sound is so clear. I´ve found that this is usually a very good sign: signal is high quality and not fatiguing. Background is quiet. Without music playing you can move the volume up to 90% or so without noise appearing, the last 10% have a noticeable background zzzzzzz noise. This may come from my PC´s USB though. There are two gain modes, low and high. Low gain is enough for IEM use. I´ll try Sennheiser HD 25 too eventually though. Bass is more apparent and tighter than on out of my Galaxy S3 or PC soundcard output with the TDK IE800 (haven´t tried the PCStep with my other IEM, the "real IE800" yet). This pretty much means output impedance (= damping) is good and the original frequency response of the IEM is preserved. I can already say at this point that it´s a clear step over the Galaxy S3 or my PC soundcard output.
 
Last but not least, some comments on the volume control... It´s quite advanced and I feel it deserves some praise. With portable gear in general you´ll see two choices: (1) there´s a volume pot with channel imbalance especially at lower volume levels which can be a big problem in particular with IEMs or (2) there´s one of the new chips where the digital volume option on your PC or phone will change analog relays. Both have their problems. The main problem with the second option (familiar in DragonFly and HRT MicroStreamer) is that it is too easy to blast your ears: just misclick and your IEMs will be blasted with full output. With the HRT MicroStreamer this would mean over 120dB with the Sennheiser IE800 (dangerous and painful). The PCStep has a traditional pot so just misclicking won´t do any harm as you´ll be keeping digital software volume control at 100%. It´s much safer to use and there´s less risk of blasting your ears with dangerous volume levels. This is one main advantage of the PCSteps volume control, but the second one is to me even more important: the volume pot actually controls 30 resistors in around 1.5dB steps. As the volume pot is only used to indicate a number (which resistor pair to activate) you get the best of both worlds: perfect channel balance and you still get the mechanical feel of a nice volume pot. 
 
Needless to say my first impressions are very positive. Oh and I have a Meier Concerto here too for a weekend loan :wink: Will do a little comparison this weekend!  I strongly feel products like the PCStep are the future of this industry: small, simple to use, more mass market potential (compared to large hifi) and you don´t have to be an audiophile hobbyist to buy one of these. Unfortunately the HRT MicroStreamer hasn´t arrived in Finland yet, I´ll be doing a comparison against that assuming I manage to buy one!
 
As for constructive criticism: 
 
- It would be nice if the product included an AC adapter or maybe even a built-in lithium battery that is charged via USB
- The battery cover (which is made of metal, very sturdy!) can easily fall off if there is no battery inside and I´d imagine some will (although not many!) will want to use this via USB only
- If it would run off USB only, it could be even smaller. I think a more stripped down (less options to power the amp section) version of the PCStep would work too and be even more simple.
 
I´ll be posting more in depth as I listen... Thanks again to Jan Meier for this fantastic offer, this probably the best value for money I´ve gotten in this hobby.
 
EDIT:
 
- USB-OTG cables arrived. Confirmed working in Galaxy S3, plug and play even in full USB mode (both DAC and amp sections powered via USB).
- Also some more SQ impressions. The internal DAC to my ears has a warm tone (typical Burr-Brown) that has nice rhythm. Of course it doesn´t compare to high end DACs, but for portable it´s good. A clear upgrade over the Galaxy S3 DAC/amp hardware. The main star of this product is the volume control though, it is just perfect for IEMs (and let´s face it, these will be used mostly with low-ohm headphones!). No more channel imbalance and a nice knob, best of both worlds. Low output impedance so no frequency response coloration and good bass grip. The sound is clear and pure and for an USB-powered product has a low noise floor. At almost all volumes (90%) in low gain mode there is no hiss - a clear upgrade with sensitive IEMs that hiss out of iPod/GalaxyS3.
- Yes, the Concerto of course sounds audibly clearly better, it has a much more neutral sound signature. My guess is that the amp section of the PCStep is also "wire with gain", but the DAC is slightly colored in the warmth/dynamic drive direction (as Burr-Brown usually is). I think for most people the DAC coloration is actually a good thing (I like it!) and will pair well with slightly bright headphones (most dynamics!).
 
Hopefully Dr. Meier continues research & development into USB-powered portable products. This is a fine opening. I feel these products have a bright future ahead of them and much more mainstream appeal than the typical desktop size headphone amps.
 
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post-9284746
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boas61

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Hi.
Has anyone tried to use a USB DAC with the HTC one S ? I really like this phone, but will only buy it if I can use it with a DAC.
Thanks in advance for replies.
 
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DanBa

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Quote:
Oh yes the Sunrise Audio Ray works with S3 as well. Should have mentioned that!
 
Thanks!
I will include it in the S3 compatibility list on the page 135.
 
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Iskallassait

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Android USB audio... What a blessing!
 
Any information on the Motorola Droid RAZR (XT910/912)?
How can I tell whether my device (Stock kernel running D-WIZ 4.1 ROM) can support digital audio out?
 
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