May 2, 2017

Turn Your iOS / Android device into HIFI DAP

Hey everyone,
I just wanted to share something I've been using for HIFI on the go for anyone who cares. Since its safe to say that everyone owns a smart device nowadays, it makes sense to take advantage of its processing power instead having to buy a separate DAP/DAC/AMP to carry around for our HIFI audio needs.

Playback 44.1khz:
On iOS, there are a couple of dependable options to play lossless audio. The native iOS Music app is capable of playing back Apple lossless (ALAC) files which you manage through iTunes on the PC/Mac. You can convert your CDs into ALAC files and sync them to your iOS device.
Your second option is to download the VideoLAN Cross-Platform player (VLC). I like this option because it's compatible with a lot more lossless formats like WAV and FLAC. (One caveat is in the rare case you have a file with a sample rate of 192khz, the iPhone doesn't seem to have enough processing power to play it back.)
On Android devices, I've only used VLC player. I'm not sure if there are other players out there that can play back lossless files.
Apple iDevices and most Android devices have a native playback rate of 16bit:44.1khz.

Extended Sample Rate Playback and Amplification:
There are plenty of iOS/Android DAC/AMPs available in the market. I've had the opportunity to try a few of them. These devices override the onboard audio processing of your mobile device. Here are a few examples of DAC/AMPs for mobile devices.
1. I personally own and use the Nexum AQUA. They manufacture individual versions of this device for iOS and Android. It retails for about $90USD and connects via the iOS Lightning port or microUSB on Android. The AQUA is a 24bit:192khz DAC/AMP. I can power most of my headphones with this device with the exception of my 600 ohm Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro.
Website: http://www.nexum-design.com/copy-of-aqua-en
2. The AudioQuest Dragon Fly is a small USB stick DAC/AMP that comes highly recommended. It comes in three flavors with varying specs. They are compatible with both iOS and Android devices. iOS device owners have to purchase an adaptor with an Apple Authentication chip.
Website: http://www.audioquest.com/dragonfly-series/
Apple USB Adapter: Amazon http://a.co/fY7jQ5j
3. A company called Cozoy makes a number of DAC/AMPs for iOS and Android devices. Their flagship model is called the Cozoy REI. It is a 32bit:384khz DAC/AMP. I believe this is 32bit floating point, although I'm not sure. They also recommend a propriety (Relisten) media player if you want to take advantage of the on-board DSP enhancements. This is the most expensive of the bunch, retailing at $550USD, but it also is the most robust in-terms of its capabilities and features.
Website: http://www.cozoyaudio.com/rei/
That's all :D
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try Aimp and HiBy players on Android and external dac Hifime Sabre 9018
bravomail
Thanks for the recommendation :D
Sounds great except that you will always have connectivity problems with USB DAC/Amps from mobile phones if you're on the go. It's one of the rather unfortunate aspects of using an easily connected/disconnected cable for your data IO. If someone knows a good way to keep a usb cable solidly connected while being bumped around in your pocket and is willing to share their secret, I'll start a white house petition to declare you The Burgomaster of Neptune.

Devices like those you mentioned (dragon fly for examlpe) will also drain your phone's battery absurdly fast if they are powerful enough to actually drive headphones. You need to make sure to get one with its own battery. Obviously if you're using your phone for communication it's not ideal to kill your batteries running a separate device to make your audio not suck.

I've been using my phone to drive my CEntrance DACPort Slim into a custom amp as my office rig for some time. I use a split supply cable to attach a separate power source to the DAC/Amp to keep my phone battery from being the sole power supply for the chain. Maybe not what you were trying to get to in your post, but until the issue with the cables gets resolved I don't see any point in trying to make it mobile since I can't carry it around without disconnecting everything anyway.
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Alright, let me clarify. All I'm saying is in regular use I haven't had any disconnection issues. I can only assume you must be doing something considerably more strenuous like cross fit to have cables falling out of their jacks.
MXRC
Alright, I'll clarify again as well.

I'm walking.

Sometimes I'm not even doing that. Sometimes I've just been moving in my chair with it in my jacket pocket.

Those are pretty typical things that a mobile DAP should be able to manage.

I'm guessing I won't be the only person who has this problem. I'm happy for you that you don't have this problem but I'm guessing that someone else has and hoping that they have figured out a work around for it.

The cables don't fall out of their jacks. They move just enough that one of the critical contacts is broken and the music stops as a result. You then have to convince your phone that it is indeed still connected and get it to start back up. It's pretty damn annoying.

You work in IT don't you? That's the only other place I've come across people whose default cause of every problem is user error and will purple-faced scream it at you as if it will make the problem at hand fit their expectations so they don't have to be wrong.
Thanks for the informative post. Good to know of portable DAC alternatives aside from the DIY CMOY that I usually see.
pahhhoul
CMOY is an amp not a DAC.
USB Audio Player Pro by far the best player for Android via USB. I use it with a Dragonfly Red. Amazing result.
Nice suggestions. Any of those devices support MQA?
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Oh yeah you're right
I'm also looking forward the day Tidal will make MQA available to iphone.
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