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Android phones and USB DACs

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by nztechfreak, Feb 9, 2012.
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  1. slackerpo
    i wasnt expecting a full layout makeover so soon. i like it, i wasnt expecting the icon update though. just a few test to get use to it. really intuitive. great work!
    i can confirm i can play full 24 bit via samba protocol (not that it couldnt be done in the older one). it seems the transfer is even more fluid...might be the resetup i did on the buffer though, in any case: IM LOVING IT.
  2. Steve Wilcox
    Thanks for all this detail Dan Ba - and sorry to take so long to get back to the thread.
    The stock music player does not play ball with the microstreamer but USB Audio Player Pro plays fine - just as it did with Android Kit Kat - so Lollipop hasn't brought anything new to me, at least audio wise.
    A couple of asides:
    Was playing Van Morrison's Born to Sing album to test - what a great and beautifully recorded album - played from my phone, through the microstreamer and into my HiFi Man in ears it sounded tremendous; it's so frustrating not being able to get Tidal to work with the microstreamer.  HRT have told me that the new DSP "should" work with Tidal in this set up so I may give it a try after seeing some reviews.
    I wish one of the major phone manufacturers would develop an audio focussed smartphone - portable DAC/amps are becoming so small and light, and sounding better and better, it would be great to have a good one (eg the microstreamer) built in from the outset, making the whole setup so much more convenient.
  3. XipeTotec
    I love this thread, I'll post my rig soon as I put my hands on my new iBasso Mk2
  4. Dr J
    Thank you DanBa for the excellent management of the information in this stream and everybody for the very valuable information!
    Thought to contribute a few bits of information and also ask a few questions to which I did not find easily answers using the search, in case someone has experience with those.
    Information on a working set-up:
    I can confirm that the following setups work in the sense that I can get the sound out through the micro-USB connector.
    - Phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact with Android 4.4.4
    - Audio format: 44.1kHz 16 bit files (do not have high res files)
    - Players (file format): USB Audio Player Pro (FLAC), Walkman(FLAC), Spotify (best quality), Tidal(Hifi=FLAC), Deezer(high resolution =?)
    - DAC: --> OTG-cable --> CLAS Solo-db --> amp --> headphones.
    In audio settings, I disabled all sound processing expect the "Hi-Res Audio from USB".
    I understood from some earlier posts that the Walkman player and  UAPP bypass all processing within the Z3 when outputting to USB. Indeed at least the normal Z3 volume up and down are disabled (unless explicitly allowed in UAPP, did not try enabling them, though). This applies also for Tidal and Deezer. However, Spotify allowed changing the volume level, not sure how that is implemented so maybe does not bypass the Android sound mixer and processing.
    Once I get a bit more time and find the right cables, I can check the output frequency and bit depth just in case as well. In any case, the sound quality esp. from Tidal  was OK, based on a very quick listen there were no immediate issues compared to the same set-up fed with iPod Classic 7th gen.
    1. I am trying to expand the storage space of the Z3 compact to 256GB or above for using as transportable setup when flying. (FLAC files need space and I do like to have all of my music with me...),
    Meaning I would like to avoid solutions based on wifi or in general radio connection to a mass storage, and to minimize the footprint of the setup which is large enough with the CLAS and the amp as it is.
    Is it known to be feasible to use non-(battery)powered USB hub with in-built or separate SDXC card reader to both read the music files from the 256GB card and at the same time feed the USB audio stream to DAC, Solo -DB in particular? Which non-powered USB hubs/readers have proven to be reliable with Android and SDXC cards?
    I understand that there could be a problem with the power needed for the USB hub, card and the dac although CLAS is supposed to be powered by its internal battery.
    E.g. this Transced RDP9 looked a very simple and promising solution for my purposes: http://www.transcend-info.com/Products/No-630
    If this is not feasible, I'll can later compile a list of the powered USB hub solutions mentioned in this thread and ask further about experiences with those.
    Any hints on other ways to expand the storage capacity would also be welcome. I would rather not wait for a 500$+(?) 256GB micro-SD card to be available at some point in the future, as the largest one currently announced seems to be 200GB. Using the SD to micro-SD adapter could be feasible, but the Z3 hides the USB port under a cover and the adapter cable running between a cover and being stored and banged around in my very light weight case seems a bit accident prone....
    2. When using the UAPP, I can select HW or SW volume control to be active or none.
    The "none" I assume passes the signal bit-perfect to the DAC, but do I understand correctly that the "HW" means that the volume is controlled in the DAC hardware, in this case Solo-DB?
  5. Dr J
    Further data points:
    Samsung Galaxy S4 4g Android 4.4 did not work with USB OTG --> Schiit Modi USB
    Samsung Galaxy S4 4g Android 4.4 worked with USB OTG --> Schiit Wyrd --> Schiit Modi USB. Also, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and and Z3 compact work in this setup.
    --> Schiit Wyrd between Android phone and DAC a potential general desktop solution for phones and DACs that do not play nice together?
    Samsung Galaxy S4 4g Android 4.4.x worked with Epiphany Acoustics ODac (as listed in Dan Ba's list).
    Upgrade of Samsung Galaxy S4 4g to Android 5.0.x broke the compatibility with ODac, could not fix with quick fiddling around with audio settings :frowning2:
  6. Rutti
    Hi fellow audiophiles! 
    I am currently using my Shure SE535s and I've just bought an JDS LABS C5D. I've also just bought an Samsung Galaxy Note Edge but the thing is that I've been only using iPhones. 
    My question is: How do I get the music to play on my headphones and not my speakers when I've connected everything through the micro usb output? Is there an setting on this matter? Or does it simply not work? 
  7. XipeTotec
    as long as i learnt here, depends on the device and on the android version you are running.
    check this thread and you will find instructions. Just start from the start, i was able to find the infos in 5 minutes. For sure you need to use an OTG cable
    check this out
  8. XipeTotec
    Well, i'd like to say thank you to DanBa for his list.
    Accordingly to the infos, I can't use OTG audio on my Samsung Galaxy 2 (i'm waiting my iBasso amp/dac, and i run custom rom+kernel so i'll try and i'll make you know if there is a workaround)
    Though, I have seen THIS on youtube. It seems an sgs2 and it seems that the guy can run audio stream through sgs2 usb port.
    Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skgEKS4uzWA
    any opinion?
  9. DanBa
    It depends on the power required by the USB peripheral (i.e. USB card reader, USB memory stick, USB hard disk drive, ....).
    Many USB hubs can operate as either bus powered or self powered hubs (i.e. powered by battery pack or AC adapter).

    It's also my understanding.
    How about if you replace the Schitt Wyrd by a powered USB hub?
    louie louie likes this.
  10. DanBa

    Replace "HRT microStreamer" by JDS Labs C5D" and "HTC One M7" by "Galaxy Note Edge".
  11. DanBa
    It's Samsung-proprietary analog USB audio (i.e. Samsung-proprietary line-out):
  12. XipeTotec
    so basically i have to follow your instructions for SGS3?
    Samsung Galaxy S III USB out bypassing the internal DAC:
    Samsung Galaxy S III > digital audio stream > micro USB connector >> USB OTG cable >> standard USB DAC >> amp >> headphones
  13. Dr J
    Thanks for the reply and links, DanBa!
    I need to explore the hubs and cards to find out about the power needs in specs and in reality.
    However, having looked at several of the hubs, they seem to promise compatibility with SDHC, but not sure if they are compatible with SDXC. In fact some hubs that look exactly the same state specifically they do not work with SDXC and some state that they work with SDXC. That is why I was asking if anyone has experience with SDXC cards working in a non-powered hub. I also believe that the power requirement for at least faster SDXC is higher than SDHC.
    Schiit Wyrd is both a) "USB de-crapifier" implementing USB audio input and output in solid fully standard compliant way (and ensuring good quality clocking), and a 2) powered USB hub with only one slot :wink: and its own wall-wart power source, so I guess another powered hub could work as well.
    But I was thinking that maybe the "USB de-crapifier" part could solve compatibility problems between android devices and dacs that a powered USB hub cannot solve. Just a hypothesis at the moment, to be explored. I will test once I have purchased some powered USB hubs.
  14. DanBa
    The Samsung Galaxy S2 can't drive any USB DAC because its USB host driver doesn't have the isochronous transfer feature that is needed to interact with a USB DAC.
    Setup of the guy on YouTube:
    "Creds to TheBeano at XDA-forum for providing the proper resistor value (619k ohm) to activate the car dock mode."

    Samsung Galaxy S2 line out bypassing the internal amp of the SGS2:
    SGS2's music player > digital audio stream > SGS2's internal DAC > analog audio stream > SGS2's micro USB connector >> DIY USB cable with a 619K ohm resistor which switches the SGS2 in Samsung car dock mode (i.e. Samsung analog USB audio) >> amp > speaker
    USB cable with a 619K ohm resistor => Samsung analog USB audio
    SGS2's music player > digital audio stream > SGS2's internal DAC > analog audio stream > SGS2's micro USB connector >> DIY USB cable with a 619K ohm resistor which switches the SGS2 in Samsung car dock mode (i.e. Samsung analog USB audio) >> amp >> headphones
    USB cable with a 0 ohm resistor (i.e. USB OTG cable with ID pin connected to the GND pin) => standard digital USB audio
    SGS3's music player > digital audio stream > SGS3's micro USB connector >> USB OTG cable >> USB DAC >> amp >> headphones 
  15. XipeTotec
    thank you very much for the detailed info.
    This link 
    The Samsung Galaxy S2 can't drive any USB DAC because its USB host driver doesn't have the isochronous transfer feature that is needed to interact with a USB DAC.
    suggest the hypothesis that a custom made kernel can bypass the internal DAC?
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