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DAC/amps and Android USB-C devices

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by hannahjherself, Apr 25, 2018.
  1. hannahjherself
    Since purchasing my new Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus I have been trying to find a suitable mobile DAC/amp that will work with it to a reasonable degree. The main issue, which many folk have documented in various places on here, is that devices with USB-C ports will often attempt to charge DAC/amps, which drains the device battery. There are various solutions documented that normally involve ordering USB-C to micro-B cables with OTG. There is also mention of changing USB mode for the USB connection once it is made.

    My own experience is that results are hit-and-miss. I tried a multitude of cables and adapters to connect to my Oppo HA-2 with no success and I ended up selling it on. At home, I have successfully connected my phone to my Oppo HA-1 by using a USB-C hub with power delivery connected to a charger, and with a normal AB cable connected from the hub to the HA-1. This is sufficient to convince the S9 that it should not be doing any charging but obviously it is not very portable.

    Specific devices may deal with OTG and charging better than others. I have been assured by Chord support staff that the Mojo works with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and that the S8 will do the right thing if "music device" is selected for the USB connection. However this option is not available in the pulldown list on the S9. I imagine other devices and OS combinations will have mixed results.

    I thought I would start a thread where we could list what definitely works, what definitely doesn't, feedback from vendors and support etc. I hope this is not presumptuous - maybe I am the only one having major problems.
  2. SuperNovaGoesPop

    I've got an S8 and have been through the same situation. I can say with certainty that the Zorloo Zuperdac S and Fiio Q1(not MKII) are total winners for this. The Q1 definitely does not charge from the phone unless you flip the "charge" switch to do so...there's a legit feature built into it to allow/disallow charging from the phone as a feature. As a whole, it has a nice slightly warm signature with a solid bass boost...nothing "knock your socks off", but it's a very nice little device that absolutely does what it needs to. The Zuperdac S is completely awesome as something small and discrete, plus it comes with every cable that you could possibly need...I would check these out ASAP; Massdrop just had them up for $15 below list.

    Also, I've tried the HiFiMeDIY Sabre 9018...it comes in a USB-C variant, and man was that thing lively and engaging...the only, and I mean only problem is that it does not have a dedicated volume control and just works off of your phone's volume slider. I found it to be too imprecise vs the dial of the Q1 and the buttons of the Zuperdac S. Other than that, and I loved the way it sounded...just very upfront and energetic compared to the Q1 being more relaxed, and the Zuperdac S being sort of in-between. Might rebuy it again some day because I miss it.

    I've also tried the SMSL Idea...no go; too many issues with pops/clicks and other crap to bother with. Sounded nice though.

    But yeah, grab a USB OTG micro to type C cable from ebay or amazon. Look up "Meenova" Cables and "Meenovastore" on ebay...I have two in different lengths and they're solid.

    ...Android Oreo kind of sucks for USB C Audio; it literally kills the use of ANY onboard factory phone EQs/presets/effects/etc, so I'm not surprised to see you mention that it's finicky in other ways as well. Total shame, and they really need to fix this in a future update.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    hannahjherself likes this.
  3. Mad Max
    I use an otg cable with my tablet that ends in a USB A female, then add a regular, but very short, micro-B cable to hook up my Teac P50. The micro-B cable has its power pin broken off, so no charging ever. This should work for most devices, but there may be a few that won't communicate without the power pin/line connected normally.

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