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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. m-i-c-k-e-y
    Try UAPP, HibyMusic or Neutron MP
  2. sehnsucht
    If my phone is connected to a DAC via USB does it make any difference which app I use? Aren't they all going to send the data as-is down the USB port?
  3. MikeyFresh
    Yes, it very much matters.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  4. sehnsucht
    What are the ones which aren't sending it as-is doing? Why are they doing it? Why don't they stop doing it or provide an option? You're a man of few words - care to wave a URL in my face? I did look but didn't find anything.
  5. MikeyFresh
    They are using the Android audio stack, which depending on the exact phone and Android version, will always resample the data to the native sample rate of the phone's onboard DAC chip. Very often that is 48kHz, however even if it's 192kHz like it is on some devices such as my Moto X, it's still arbitrarily resampling for no good reason and sound quality suffers as a result.
    Because it's easy and cheap.
    No I don't, however it is very safe to say that UAPP has been the de facto standard for bit perfect Android audio over USB for many years now, but other apps such as the ones @m-i-c-k-e-y listed for you are also good, and I'd add Onkyo HF Player to that list. Those apps use a custom USB driver to bypass the stock Android audio stack and the forced resampling, thus you can play both PCM and DSD at their native sample rates over USB with an external DAC.

    Just about anyone who ever dropped the princely sum of $9 on UAPP finds it to be about the best 9 bucks they've ever spent, if bit perfect playback of both PCM and DSD over USB using an Android device is the goal.

    Certain Samsung, and LG devices (going all the way back to the LG G2 which was the very first if I'm not mistaken) have a native music player app that uses a custom USB driver and thus do not automatically resample everything.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
    sehnsucht likes this.
  6. sehnsucht
    OK, what you said makes sense. I've dropped Rocket Player a line to see what they say on the matter, and I'm currently checking out HibyMusic but don't mind buying UAPP if it offers something over and above HibyMusic.

    Is there a way to check if an Android app is doing this properly? I have an Honor Play; it's not rooted and there's nothing obvious in the developer settings. And I'm currently investigating repurposing an old laptop to use Kodi on Linux as a source; is there something I need to check there to avoid the same problem?
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  7. MikeyFresh
    Only if the connected DAC has some kind of LED or other display that reveals the playback sample rate, that's the only way to confirm.

    UAPP tells you in the UI what sample rate the external DAC is playing, and if you have a display on the DAC itself, it always agrees in my experience using UAPP since 2013. So with that one, various members here will vouch, you can use a DAC with no sample rate indicator and have blind faith belief that UAPP is actually telling you the truth.

    You will need to take that one to a KODI thread, however the short answer is KODI should work right if you have the proper settings and plug-ins installed (DSD playback likely requires a plugin for instance).
    sehnsucht likes this.
  8. sehnsucht
    OK, I bought UAPP and it seems to work and indicates that I can use the DAC properly. Unfortunately the lead I bought failed after only a few hours (thought I'd broken the DAC for a moment) so i'll have to return it and get another one somehow which lasts more than half a day. So it'll be the laptop/chromebook until then. Thanks for the help, anyway!
    MikeyFresh likes this.
  9. MikeyFresh
    Good deal, you can't go wrong with UAPP, the developer is very responsive in the UAPP thread on this forum, or via their support channel. Which DAC are you using?

    That's too bad, there are good quality generic OTG cables available on that auction site, albeit slow delivery time. If you are in a hurry and the available connectors are a fit for your DAC/phone, the iFi OTG cables are nice and don't exactly break the bank.
  10. sehnsucht
    The DAC is the Schiit Asgard 3 headphone amp with the optional internal 4490 DAC module. This has a USB 2.0 B socket (picture here: https://www.schiit.com/products/ak4490-dac-card ) and ideally it'll be connected to my phone which has a USB C socket. That iFi site you linked to mentions OTG which is obsolete USB A technology - there's no OTG on USB C. Elsewhere on that site they have USB 3.0 B cables, but not USB 2.0 B ones. Just ordered a decent looking quality one from Amazon (should be delivered today, thanks to Amazon prime) plus an adaptor for the existing one just to cover my bases.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
    MikeyFresh likes this.
  11. dimmockg
    Hi all,

    Have a huawei p30 (non pro model with HP jack), just curious if anybody has got any feedback on dacs which work with the p30 (UK model) especially interested in dongle type ones like the DF red for example

  12. Lifted Andreas
    Barely any decent DACs work with Huawei devices because of their stupid software.

    Best advice I can give is to ditch that phone as soon as you can, and leave that terrible company behind. For all you know it could have already stolen most of your identity by now, and sent your details to Chinese servers without you knowing. Just get anything else, OnePlus, Essential Phone, Xiaomi... There are plenty out there.

    There is a couple of dongles you could try, like the old Tempotec/Sonata HDII, or a Sorbiter one off Amazon. I can definitely tell you that barely any 3rd party dongle works properly with Huwaei, you'll have way more headaches than success.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
    dimmockg likes this.
  13. TadMorose
    Stop spreading false information and scaring people. I've been using P20 Pro for over a year and my identity has not been stolen and none of my personal information has been sent to China. I've tested this numerous times by using a network sniffer and examining the network traffic while my phone is connected to my home WiFi. There was no suspicious activity.

    I've successfully used Meridian Explorer2 with my P20 Pro with UAPP app.
    petan970 likes this.
  14. jasonb
    Has anyone used one of the cheap "Onn" Walmart brand tablets with a USB DAC and USB Audio Player Pro?
  15. BobSmith8901
    I don't have an ONN Walmart tablet but I recently got an Acer Iconia B3-A40 10" tablet. It wasn't quite as inexpensive as a ONN but still pretty cheap for what it does. I have UAPP with the MQA-add-in.

    See my post here on the UAPP thread:


    The only caveat I would make to that posting is that I've found over the weeks that the USB connection to a given DAC is inconsistent, but the DAC that seems to work best is my iFi Nano Black Label (I also have the FiiO Q1Mk2, NX4DSD and Meridian Explorer2). With the Nano it sometimes requires some rebooting and/or connecting/disconnecting of the OTG USB cable to get UAPP to initialize the DAC. But you're good to go once it does.

    However, the performance is consistent and reliable using UAPP in Direct/bit perfect mode and the Acer gives, unexpectedly, all indications (see my edit at the end of the post) that it has a Hi-Res Direct driver. For example in Tidal when playing a Masters track, the green or blue light shows up and it's indicating that the UAPP software is doing the first unfold of the MQA track. When playing a regular 96KHz or 88.2 Hi-Res music file it indicates same in the UAPP screen menu.
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