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What to buy to improve the audio output of an Android smartphone without 3.5 mm output?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by Galeonero, Aug 16, 2018.
  1. Galeonero
    Hello people, I currently have a Google Pixel 2 smartphone which has no 3.5 mm output but has USB-OTG type, has the adapter which broke down in 2 weeks for its poor construction.
    I am trying to improve the audio output of my smartphone and if it is possible that it is also compatible with my computer (W10), I look for something that is compatible with the headphones that have an Audio Technica ATH-M40X and possibly buy some In-Ear within little, I still do not know which but surely they are the Fiio F9.
    My big question is that I should buy, a bluetooth receiver with a good DAC such as the Fiio BTR3 or a DAC / AMP as the Fiio E17k or what do you recommend?
    As for what would be used most for music I listen to almost all musical genres.
    My budget is about 120 dollars
    PD: I have downloaded the music in FLAC, I think most in 24 bits / 48kbps
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
  2. bahamot
    If you're often charge while listening song then going BT is your only option. (but make sure Pixel 2 supports aptX to sound good on android).
  3. Galeonero
    I charge it once a day, and it's compatible with Aptx, Aptx HD, LDAC
  4. Zerohour88
    so you need a $120 USB DAC that works well with a phone and Win10 PC? that's almost all of them, luckily.

    You can try the Fiio Q1 Mark II, decent power output level and balanced output in case you want to use it. Tested with 3 different Android phones and had no issues, with Win10 you might need to install the Fiio software/driver (usually it'll just detect the DAC right away). The Topping NX4 DSD costs a bit more and have much more power from its 3.5mm unbalanced.

    If you need something even smaller and cheaper, there's the Hidizs Sonata DAC cable, though I've never tested it, so I can't say much for the capability.
  5. Galeonero
    Hello, thank you very much for your response.
    I had thought about the Fiio Q1 Mark II and it does not convince me because I need if or if the Cable that only delivers data and does not charge because if I do not drain my smartphone's battery and read that they are 10% every 10 minutes, it is too much.
    The NX4 topping is beyond my budget.
    And the Hidizs Sonata DAC I saw it seems to me that it is my ideal option but it intrigues me if it will last long and that is the sound.
  6. Zerohour88
    Fiio Q1 Mark II comes with built-in battery, just make sure to use a cable that doesn't charge (data-only cable). You'll have to ask Fiio or someone with more tech knowledge for that.

    Hidizs Sonata DAC is just like any other dongle-like DAC, so you can go even cheaper and buy the recently released VE Odyssey

    You will have to get power from somewhere, the headphone does not run without power. You can buy a splitter cable that can charge your phone and connect to DAC at the same time. Topping NX4 DSD have a separate power port for charging, for example.
  7. Galeonero
    Hello, if the Q1 mark 2 has a battery but since it is 100% compatible with IOS having the MFI certification it will not be fully compatible with Android, so I need that cable valued at approximately 15-20 dollars. And from what I saw that cable is not available in the USA and I would have to ask for it from China and it will take a long time since I am 1 week in the USA.
    VE Odyssey is interesting but I would like to be able to buy only from Amazon for the security of arriving without problems.
    The NX4 topping would be my most ideal option but it seems to be discontinued and now the DSD version is worth 50 dollars more, about 150 dollars and if it is true what you say has the separate ports one for only load and another for data only.
    The other DAC that was thought was the Fiio e17k, which is like the Q1 Mark II but it is discontinued although in amazon it is around 100 dollars and has the option not to load it and only for data.
  8. Victorfabius
    Topping NX4 DSD is excellent. Biggest drawback is that some can have channel imbalance. I had some initial problems with it initializing properly, but I discovered UAPP (USB Audio Player Pro) initializes properly, even when it does not seem that way via other apps. I had problems on a different phone, but it works properly with all my otg cables from my Pixel. It lasts about 7 hours for me.

    I recommed it, and would advise you to save the extra for the Topping, if possible.

    Alternatively, think about the Radsone Earstudio ES100. It's cheaper, has good battery life, and supports all the codecs your Pixel does. Does not offer the same power as the Topping. Still, if you check the Earstudio thread, I think you'll find a lot of love.
  9. Galeonero
    Hi, thank you for you answer.
    The topping is a very good option I will probably save money and buy it later, the Radsone Earstudio ES100 does not convince me to be bluetooth and to be very small, that is to say it does not seem worth investing 100 dollars in that if there are better alternatives.
  10. Darkestred
    If you're not looking to go wired i would definitely suggest something like the Bluewav Get (have and like) or the new Fiio BTR3 or as others have mentioned the Ear Studio ES100(which i just received and will be trying out).

    If you're looking for the best possible sound and are going wired i would get a dac/amp combo. However, i think if you want middle ground and a small package you will not be disappointed with the BT receivers.
  11. Galeonero
    I'm not looking specifically for a dac / amp but I want something that has the best sound possible, the power is not very important since my headphones are ath-m40x audio technicians that have 35 ohms.
    I am open to many options dap, dac / amp or bluetooth receivers.
    I was watching the BTR3 but I do not know if there are better options for the same price.
    The only thing I want is to spend my money well and not pay 50 dollars more for something that has incredible power but does not need it.
    I hope my point of view has been understood.
  12. hamhamhamsta
    Get ES100, the best $99 to spend on audio; period
    Sound quality is above Chord Mojo at $400
    I'm using ES100 often with EE Phantom, CA Andromeda & Warbler Prelude; . Use the balanced cable connection if possible. And I'm coming from modded Sony WM1Z DAP. Its really that good and its on Amazon Prime.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  13. Galeonero
    Hello, apparently it is as you say, I was investigating and watching the post of the Fiio BTR3, many people compare it with this ES100 apparently has a very good quality and not only that until the application that is worth it is not something that They put him there because yes.
    The only thing I do not understand is that because the ES100 would be better if it has the DAC AK4375a and the BTR3 has the AK4376A, the new version, does it really change the sound if I use it with 2.5 mm? The truth is that I never use headphones with 2.5 mm balanced, I do not have at this time but next month I plan to buy some Fiio F9 if they have.
  14. SuperNovaGoesPop
    Hey buddy,

    I can help you out a good bit with this...stay away from the Q1mkII, as it is really only going to shine with headphones that run on a balanced cable. As for the e17k, I would say that you should go for it. I currently have one and think it's a great little device. It'll power what you have and is 100% perfectly compatible with Android devices...grab a Fiio CL06 cable while you're at it for your phone. Indeed, you can snag one new for $90-100 and often for less on ebay; it's quite the steal right now since they're being phased-out. I honestly don't believe that you need anything more, and the onboard screen and loads of options will be nice to have.

    Aside from the e17k, I also have the Topping NX4DSD...it's very nice and also a perfect solution for Android devices. It does sound a bit different and has its own characteristics, with more power...but you may not need that extra power or to spend that extra $60 or so.

    If you're just after a nice little device to use with your phone and PC whenever you feel like it, then the e17k is a very, very nice starting point as a first dac/amp. Again, if you want to cap it at about $100, I don't think you could find anything else out there that would really beat it as far as overall value.

    Bluewave Get is nice, and I have one, but I really feel that wired devices outclass these little bluetooth dac/amps in terms of what they bring to the table in useable features and often overall sound quality. I almost always find myself going to a wired setup unless I'm using the Get out in public and clipped to a set of headphones.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  15. Zerohour88
    is the Fiio Q1MkII that bad?

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