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Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver.

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Posted on December 17, 2016 at 12:09:27
mjcmt
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Posts: 1111
Location: USA
Joined: November 29, 2004
I'm looking for a step-up from the mini headphone jack of my android phone to the auxiliary input of my vintage receiver. I'm not looking to spend a lot, but some kind of small DAC from the phone to the receiver for listening to music from a radio app.

I went to Amazon and eBay and quickly became overwhelmed at all the cheap DACs available.
I'm thinking of one that you plug into to mini usb port on the phone with RCA's to the receiver. I'm not necessarily looking for audiophile quality, just an improvement providing more volume with better sound than the phone's headphone jack is providing.

Please guide me in this purchase.
Sincerely,
Mike


 

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RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 17, 2016 at 13:05:52
AbeCollins
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Maybe the AudioQuest DragonFly Black at $100. You didn't provide a price range.

The DragonFly series are sold by a number of mail order outfits like Music Direct, Audio Advisor, Crutchfield, Amazon, etc.

On a related note, maybe you don't need a USB DAC but just a headphone amp to amplify the 3.5mm analog output from your phone.


 

What do you want?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 15:18:28
PAR
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In your first paragraph you want a " step-up from the mini headphone jack"

In your second paragraph you say "I'm thinking of one that you plug into to mini usb port".

Two different things, two different solutions.

Please clarify.

Oh, and Android or i-phone? Please identify the phone and the sources you want to use which may also affect the solution e.g streaming (what?), MP3s or does your phone support flac files at various resolutions?

 

RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 17, 2016 at 16:24:45
mjcmt
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Posts: 1111
Location: USA
Joined: November 29, 2004
I thought the Dragonfly was a headphone dac. To clarify I'm looking for a dac w/ rca outputs to input the receivers aux inputs. I suppose I could use the headphone output. Would this match to high level inputs of receiver.

Truthfully I'm looking for cheaper if possible.


 

RE: What do you want?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 16:25:46
mjcmt
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Location: USA
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You misunderstood me. I'm using the headphone jack now, but want to use a dac from the mini usb port.


 

RE: What do you want?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 17:32:42
PAR
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No, I didn't misunderstand you. But thanks for your clarification.

I did ask some other questions as using the USB port from some phones is not straightforward as you may have to unblock it for audio use. The player software may also need to be changed depending upon requirements.

The AQ Dragonfly Black is around $98. However you want a USB DAC that is cheaper according to your second posting to Abe and with line level outputs. That's outside of my area of knowledge. I do not know of anything that is available.

 

RE: What do you want?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 19:03:09
mjcmt
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Posts: 1111
Location: USA
Joined: November 29, 2004
Are your saying I have to get a headphone dac for a phone and use its headphone output to my receivers line input? Will this give me more volume and better sound?
Accordingly what about something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/K1-Portable-Headphone-Amplifier-Titanium/dp/B0189EVGAG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1482030073&sr=8-5&keywords=fiio+dac

Why can't a regular usb dac w/ rica output not work?


 

RE: What do you want?, posted on December 17, 2016 at 22:52:11
PAR
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No, I am not saying that you have to get a headphone DAC. I am saying that I don't know anything about any products cheaper than a Dragonfly.

The item that you link to is not known to me and so I cannot either recommend it or dismiss it ( NB: it is easier for us all if you post a link into the field provided in the "Post a Message" box. Then it appears in your post as a clickable link).

As a general thought, ideally you need to know the typical output impedence of the DAC and the impedence of the receiver input that you want to use to see if they are compatible ( the latter should be at least 10x the former). A DAC that has line outputs is preferable to a headphone output as the latter has already sent the signal through an amplifier to drive the 'phones and you are going to send the signal through a further amplifier. However both will give you sound via your receiver. Whether it would be "better" or gives "more volume" is unknown to me as I don't know what it is being compared with.

I am also saying that you can't rely on a phone USB output just "working" for audio. You may need to install an app that checks if the USB output will support (host) an external USB device for this purpose. Some do not as supplied by the manufacturer and require the port to be activated. I am also saying that some phones or phone OS versions will not support high quality audio output, for example if you are using hi -rez FLAC files. Again you may need to install a suitable app.

A "regular" DAC normally has coaxial and/or optical inputs but not necessarily a USB input although the latter is now more common. One of these without a USB input will not work for you unless you also use a USB/Co-ax converter.

 

RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 18, 2016 at 02:58:51
Roseval
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Headphone amps (the portable ones) are battery powered.
Bit inconvenient
The stationary headphone amps are probably more expensive than you are willing to spend.

USB DACs: USB audio on Android is still in its infancy. I wonder if the Fiio you mentioned can be used as a USB DAC as it requires Android to support 24 bits over USB.

You might as well have a look at Bluetooth receivers.
They are cheap and you can stream from your phone to the Bluetooth receiver connected to the stereo.

An even cheaper solution is Chrome cast audio ($25)
https://www.google.com/chromecast/audio/


The Well Tempered Computer

 

RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 18, 2016 at 12:11:13
AbeCollins
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I guess I don't know what you want after all.





 

RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 18, 2016 at 13:13:44
mjcmt
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Posts: 1111
Location: USA
Joined: November 29, 2004
Those cables are what I'm using now. I would like to use the mini usb port on my phone into a DAC and use rca's from the DAC into a high level input on the receiver. I thought it shouldn't be to complicated, but I guess it is.


 

This Schiit may work, posted on December 18, 2016 at 14:03:35
G Squared
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Fulla

 

RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 18, 2016 at 17:02:32
fredtr
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This article may help:

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Android-5.0-Lollipop-supports-USB-DAC-audio-devices-we-go-ears-on_id66399

PAR gave you good advice, start with your smartphone, find out if USB host mode is supported and look at known working phone/DAC combinations.

 

bluetooth receiver, posted on December 18, 2016 at 17:16:53
mjcmt
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Maybe a bluetooth receiver is the easiest and least technical solution for me.


 

Bluetooth audio quality is generally not great..., posted on December 18, 2016 at 21:26:27
AbeCollins
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I'm not convinced you need or want a DAC. As PAR mentioned, USB audio from a smartphone isn't always as straight forward as one might think, especially on Android phones.

IMHO, and in your price range, I bet you'll get noticeably improved sound with a buffer or headphone amp. And yes, use it to drive the input of your receiver / amplifier.

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with these devices in the sub-$100 range although there are dozens on eBay and Amazon.



 

RE: Cheap dac for smart phone to receiver., posted on December 18, 2016 at 21:39:55
AbeCollins
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But it's $100, and you may be better off with a simple headphone amp / buffer to drive your receiver / amp. I'm not convinced you need a USB DAC and as PAR mentioned, digital audio output via USB from a smartphone isn't always as straight forward as you might think, especially on Android phones. On iPhone it's is a breeze via the Lightning connector.

I'm not familiar with sub $100 DACs but there are dozens to choose from on eBay and Amazon. Maybe have a look at those reviews and ratings.


 

I can recommend, posted on December 19, 2016 at 14:36:22
Posts: 890
Location: Orange Co., Ca
Joined: September 19, 2001
ifi nano iDSD ($199) using the USB Audio Player PRO app ($7) on my android phone (Samsung S7). That combination will play any format (except MQA).

Regards
13DoW

 

ps. , posted on December 19, 2016 at 14:39:27
Posts: 890
Location: Orange Co., Ca
Joined: September 19, 2001
you also need an OTG (on-the-go) cable that basically connects the phone mini-usb to a regular usb. These are cheap and easy to find.

 

RE: I can recommend, posted on December 19, 2016 at 16:20:22
mjcmt
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Posts: 1111
Location: USA
Joined: November 29, 2004
I'll look into this.


 

Sold Mac receiver to go another direction, posted on December 24, 2016 at 08:30:25
mjcmt
Audiophile

Posts: 1111
Location: USA
Joined: November 29, 2004
To much confusion for me to get my head around so I sold the Mac receiver and to purchase a budget-priced integrated amp w/ dac and bluetooth built it. What do you folks think of the Teac products?


 

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