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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. ginetto61
    Hi !  i thought exactly the same.  And actually from what i have read some usb dacs with some Android Lollipop devices can indeed work without drivers. Maybe not all unfortunately.
    Hi ! thank you very much.
    This is for me a very sad show stopper because it means that i will not be able to use the usb dac with other media player apps like Kodi, VLC, Youtube or Chrome   [​IMG][​IMG]
    i would not want to find myself in this situation i have already experimented with the USB Audio Player PRO v2.5.7 app i bought recently for an Android 4.4 device.
    I really do not understand why they make life so complex to consumers.   It is so nice plug and play.
    I have a proposal.
    Is it possible to open a specific thread with a list of the usb dacs that are proved to work without drivers ?
    I think that many here are not only interested to music but also to video streaming ?
    Thanks a lot again
    Have a nice day
  2. EarFun
    Just do it.....
  3. ginetto61
    Hi ! Done ! the new thread is located here


    my thinking is that an Android media player can be an excellent streamer
    and looking at how much audiophile streamers cost this solution could save big money
    many of these players can be also remotely controlled with Android tablet/phones
    Still there is the problem to find a compatible usb dac
    The search is on.
    thanks a lot
  4. DanBa
    In any case, native USB audio or third-party USB audio, a USB audio driver (or function) is required to drive a USB audio DAC.
    In the native USB audio world, the USB audio source code developed by Google is more and less or not modified by the smartphone manufacturer.
    Therefore, a given USB DAC can be compatible with the native USB audio of a given smartphone, and incompatible with the native USB audio of another smartphone.
    A third-party USB audio developed by a given team is obviously different (i.e. different compatibility) than another third-party USB audio developed by another team.
    And a third-party USB audio is obviously different than a native USB audio.
    I found that the third-party USB audio soft driver included in USB Audio Player PRO (UAPP) is the most compatible.
    Android USB audio - FAQ:
    How about compatibility of Android device with USB DAC?
    At the present time, Android USB Audio is in its infancy.
    The FiiO E17 USB DAC/amp for example was not compatible with the first version of USB audio of the Samsung Galaxy S3. The E17 can now work with the S3.
    It is not easy for the latest entrants (Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, ..., third party USB audio developers, and now Google from Android 5.0 Lollipop) in the existing USB DAC jungle because the USB specification allows some variability.
    The latest entrants have to adapt their USB audio implementation to (most) existing USB DACs.
    They have to be compatible with different interpretations of the USB specification.
    Once the native Google USB audio becomes mature, it will very likely become a reference USB audio implementation in the USB DAC industry used for testing by the developers of new USB DACs, i.e. these USB DAC developers will have to adopt the Google interpretation of the USB specification, because a "professional" USB DAC maker could not ignore Android, the biggest computing device market share.
    The XMOS Multi-Function Audio Design Reference is used by many USB DAC makers to speed up the development of their USB DAC compatible with PC, Mac and Android; and the XMOS developers test it against PC, Mac and some key Android devices.
  5. ginetto61
    HI and thank you very much indeed for the very thorough explanation and valuable advice.
    I am extremely ignorant on the issue.
    As i said i loaded on various devices the USB Audio Player PRO and when the usb dac is compatible the sound is not only decent but very very good. [​IMG]
    This is the reason why i have got so excited.
    Problem is that this app can only playback audio files and not video files.  [​IMG]
    For them i use mostly Kodi and VLC, both i find excellent for video (the HW is the limit).
    To end my ramblings i think that i will try one or two Lollipop devices and
    check for any compatibility with what i have at hand in terms of usb dacs.
    This is the only chance i have to be able to use an external dac with Kodi/VLC (i could use the digital out from the devices but i would prefer the usb option).
    I am a little worried to buy other dacs that could not work with the source.
    As i said i am very ignorant on this topic.  But i was impressed by what these little boxes can offer. I love them a lot.
    But they are all with Android 4.X versions.
    Anyway thanks a lot indeed for the extremely in depth explanation.
    Kind regards,  gino
  6. H20Fidelity Contributor
    Galaxy Note 3's have always connected natively (for me) this would offer you a large screen for your videos too.
    (Note 3 is on 4.4.2) though I had another upgraded on later firmware which still worked.
    As you have discovered it still can be hit and miss sometimes.
    I have owned 2 different Galaxy S4's running the same firmware, one connected natively to every DAC I tried while the other needed UAAP.
    Its a big puzzle really, trail and error is involved. Most of my Androids I pick up used on eBay, you can get some good deals in decent condition.
  7. ginetto61
    Hi !  thanks a lot for the helpful advice.  But from what i understand Lollipop has been the 1st generation of Android OS with usb audio support.
    So i have decided to focus only on Lollipop loaded devices.
    I should receive the 1st very soon.   Now Lollipop is quite common on Android devices.
    It is a pity that is not possible to load drivers like for other OSs.  For music instead UAPP sounds very good indeed.  Not problem on very different Android 4 devices.
    The sounds is great. Better than with the pc !!!! cleaner ... more musical.
    Thanks a lot again, gino
  8. H20Fidelity Contributor
    Goodluck friend!
    In the meantime here's a rig I had a few months ago.
  9. ginetto61
  10. H20Fidelity Contributor
  11. ginetto61
    Very nice indeed.  My idea is to look also for a usb to spdif converter so that i could connect any dacs around.
    The fact that an OS can run on very limited resoursec seems to be key for good sound.  Some slimmed down OSs sound better than the full version [​IMG]
    and Android is slimmed down by nature.  It is concentrated system.
    However ... i have found also an .iso file of Lollipop OS to try on a pc.
    I have an interesting weekend ahead.
    Have a nice day.  Gino
  12. DanBa
    As your main goal is to use a media player for audio/video playback, I am wondering if you should focus more on audio over HDMI (object-based audio like Dolby Atmos, legacy 5.1 / 7.1 channel-based audio) via a receiver or TV sound bar.
    As far as I know, there is no object-based audio over USB implemented for the time being.
    A media player supporting Dolby Atmos, and 4K UHD Dolby Vision & HDR10: HiMedia Q10 Pro
    Affordable and high-quality 4K HDR UHD TV supporting Dolby Vision & HDR10: Vizio P Series 2016
  13. ginetto61
    Hi again !  i forgot to mention that i use only a stereo system, no multichannel.  I know that is an arrangement but with normal dvd is ok.   And then i have some good usb dacs of which i like the sound that i would like to try.  
    If the stereo is good quality the listening could be enjoyable anyway.  When the stereo playback is good i do not miss 5.1 that much.   
    This is exactly the media player i was looking at ... it has Android 5.1 loaded.   
    or as a 2nd choice the smaller H8  
    however i see that these players are using more and more Lollipop.   Good !
    Yes i am looking exactly at this brand.  I have already an old Q5 with 4.x and i like it.  
    Thanks a lot for the helpful advice. 
    Regards, gino  
  14. Ike1985
    I was told it's impossible, but what we need is an app that output's all audio on android to the dac without upsampling. That's the goldmine. Until that comes, I'll be hoping Bandcamp adds a USB dac option that allows for bit perfect output.
  15. NickosD
    I own a oneplus one device and fiio q1 amp/dac and i can't make it work through dac. I own the official otg cable from oneplus and i tried to connect using a usb cable that came together with oneplus power bank. Do i need a special usb cable for dac or any any cable will work?
    It's running android 6.0.1 version and i tried with both spotify and tidal.
    I don't have any issue from 3.5 jack and amp.

    I am interested for the native way.
    I tried with both USB debug on/Off, chg on/Off and also phone - otg cable - USB to micro USB cable - fiio q1 and phone - micro USB to USB - otg - fiio q1
    I also have a setting in developers option to what to use the USB for. Tried both mtp and audio source... 
    For anyone who uses custom roms and found a way please tell. That could be the issue...

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