• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Considering getting a DAP or better android dongle

newaudioguy77

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
58
Likes
25
Hey fellow members,

I'm considering getting a DAP or better android dongle. I currently have the CX-PRO Audio 31993 384/32. I bought it from amazon for about $20. I listen to CD quality music, not mp3s. So lossless sources, as i'm told by friends is the way to go. I have a pair of KEF M500 headphones. I don't have any other headphones at the moment.

I watched a review of the Hidizs S9 portable headphone adapter on the Audio Science Review YouTube channel - stating that it provided excellent performance. So my question is, can a digital audio player provide even greater fidelity? And if so, which one is your favourite/would you recommend?

My goal is to simply have accurate sound. So once I have a good source, I can plug in different headphones as I acquire new ones. This way, I will be listening to the headphones at their performance peak, rather than having a source that gives me a unique sound profile. Sorry if I'm not making sense, but I'm trying my best.

Warm regards,

newaudioguy77
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
4,413
Likes
6,207
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Hey fellow members,

I'm considering getting a DAP or better android dongle. I currently have the CX-PRO Audio 31993 384/32. I bought it from amazon for about $20. I listen to CD quality music, not mp3s. So lossless sources, as i'm told by friends is the way to go. I have a pair of KEF M500 headphones. I don't have any other headphones at the moment.

I watched a review of the Hidizs S9 portable headphone adapter on the Audio Science Review YouTube channel - stating that it provided excellent performance. So my question is, can a digital audio player provide even greater fidelity? And if so, which one is your favourite/would you recommend?

My goal is to simply have accurate sound. So once I have a good source, I can plug in different headphones as I acquire new ones. This way, I will be listening to the headphones at their performance peak, rather than having a source that gives me a unique sound profile. Sorry if I'm not making sense, but I'm trying my best.

Warm regards,

newaudioguy77
Short answer: no.

I have a DAP, I use it all the time, can recommend it, note that it has a similarly priced successor with more output, but that is not a big concern to me. However, if the only question is sound quality, that dongle is about as good a performer as any reasonably priced portable device. If a headphone doesn't have enough juice from it, it probably really isn't a "portable" headphone anyway. However, having a half a terabyte's worth of lossless files on a tiny, hi-fi, cheap device like the Fiio M3K, with an easy to use interface [easy to figure out, folders within folders works for me, subdivided by genre] that can be attached to other devices without involving the computer. I use it with the desktop stereo, adjusting the volume from the tiny player, or in the kitchen, attached to a Boston Acoustic table radio.. Fidelity is more than good enough via headphones, works well with AKG 371s in all respects, good with Drop 6XX but one will notice the lack of bass in certain music. And the music isn't interrupted by phone calls.

The upgraded Fiio M3K is the M3 pro and here's the bad news, it doesn't look like Fiio is making these anymore, so, sorry. I'd see if a M3K or M3 pro is out there, but in any case, DAPs are great if you want lossless in a compact form and are more concerned with line-level connection to various systems. You might fare as well with a smart phone and a dongle. It's crazy how fast this tech is moving.
 

Jmudrick

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
633
Likes
536
Favorite DAP is now my new LG V60. 1TB SD card for FLAC, excellent DAC (using USB Audio Player Pro) and real 2 day battery life. Data only connection I don't use it as a phone. I don't believe I would hear the difference with an expensive DAP. Paid $239.
 
OP
N

newaudioguy77

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
58
Likes
25
Favorite DAP is now my new LG V60. 1TB SD card for FLAC, excellent DAC (using USB Audio Player Pro) and real 2 day battery life. Data only connection I don't use it as a phone. I don't believe I would hear the difference with an expensive DAP. Paid $239.
I've read about the LG V60 being perfect for being used as a music player. Thanks for helping me remember! :)
 
OP
N

newaudioguy77

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
58
Likes
25
I've been looking at this: https://us.activostyle.com/products/ct10

I've decided that I want my smartphone to be free while I play music. So a DAP would be suitable for me.

Thank you both for the valuable insight. I am still very new to audio. There was a time when I used to listen to music on my laptop speakers. Now I'm in search of great sound quality at an affordable price point.
 

Jmudrick

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
633
Likes
536
I've been looking at this: https://us.activostyle.com/products/ct10

I've decided that I want my smartphone to be free while I play music. So a DAP would be suitable for me.

Thank you both for the valuable insight. I am still very new to audio. There was a time when I used to listen to music on my laptop speakers. Now I'm in search of great sound quality at an affordable price point.

Looks like good functionality but 3 inch screen would be too small for my old eyes though. Old DAC but not bad. It doesn't indicate whether LDAC Bluetooth output is available which might be a concern. For kicks I'll have to do a continuous playing time test on the V60. I would expect greater than 10 hrs.
 
Last edited:
OP
N

newaudioguy77

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
58
Likes
25
Looks like good functionality but 3 inch screen would be too small for my old eyes though. Old DAC but not bad. It doesn't indicate whether LDAC Bluetooth output is available which might be a concern. For kicks I'll have to do a continuous playing time test on the V60. I would expect greater than 10 hrs.

After watching some YouTube reviews and reading more about the Activo CT10, I decided to buy it! The price seems reasonable.

I have no idea what to expect in terms of sound quality, but the user interface appears simple and uncluttered. Reviewers say the sound is very good. I hope to hear more details in my music and good power behind my headphones.

I will update my findings here after I get it and use it myself. I will be comparing it directly to my current android dongle.
 

Jmudrick

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
633
Likes
536
Obviously depends on use case. Probably would be fine with IEM's at the gym which is what the design seems most suitable for. For home with headphone use I expect most would prefer a larger screen to start with.
 
OP
N

newaudioguy77

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
58
Likes
25
I plan on using low impedance headphones with high sensitivity ratings. I don't like in ear headphones. I find them very uncomfortable. I've been learning a lot online these past few days.
 

Wunderphones

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
57
Likes
59
I switched to Android a year ago to get a phone with a great headphone jack (LG V60). And I did.

But if you don't use that one jack, and turn on the Quad DAC feature, your sound all gets resampled to 48 khz. I suspect this behavior is very common if not universal.

So if any of your music is encoded at 96khz or above this would be one of those areas where you have to decide whether you think your own ears will actually be able to tell the difference.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most DAPs don't use good enough WiFi chips to keep up with streaming audio, whereas most phones do. So even if the DAP is going to give you better sound when everything is working well, the DAP is much more likely to have interruptions in the audio stream (which to me is the most annoying sound degradation of all, far worse than distortion or noise).

I went back to iPhone, headphone jack be damned. Most of the issues that made me switch back weren't audio issues, but I will say that one should do one's research really carefully before buying Android audio products. There are a lot of "gotchas."
 

Jmudrick

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
633
Likes
536
I switched to Android a year ago to get a phone with a great headphone jack (LG V60). And I did.

But if you don't use that one jack, and turn on the Quad DAC feature, your sound all gets resampled to 48 khz. I suspect this behavior is very common if not universal.

So if any of your music is encoded at 96khz or above this would be one of those areas where you have to decide whether you think your own ears will actually be able to tell the difference.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most DAPs don't use good enough WiFi chips to keep up with streaming audio, whereas most phones do. So even if the DAP is going to give you better sound when everything is working well, the DAP is much more likely to have interruptions in the audio stream (which to me is the most annoying sound degradation of all, far worse than distortion or noise).

I went back to iPhone, headphone jack be damned. Most of the issues that made me switch back weren't audio issues, but I will say that one should do one's research really carefully before buying Android audio products. There are a lot of "gotchas."
My LG V30 is still working great after 5 years, no connectivity issues. No issues with my new V60. Of course the great sound comes with use of the headphone jack and Quad DAC, that and the expandable storage is why you buy these phones. Yes Android resamples that's why you use USB Audio Player Pro or HiFi Cast. Not hard or expensive.
 
OP
N

newaudioguy77

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2022
Messages
58
Likes
25
The CT10 definitely has a nice overall sound to it. Unlike my android dongle that is usually bright and harsh, the CT10 has some warmth to it that makes the overall sound smooth and forgiving. Sorry if that doesn't make sense...I dont own any audio analyzers to prove this, just been my experience with it. I'm bobbing my head all the time when I listen to it. It's so good.
 

notakosan

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
84
Likes
48
I switched to Android a year ago to get a phone with a great headphone jack (LG V60). And I did.

But if you don't use that one jack, and turn on the Quad DAC feature, your sound all gets resampled to 48 khz. I suspect this behavior is very common if not universal.

So if any of your music is encoded at 96khz or above this would be one of those areas where you have to decide whether you think your own ears will actually be able to tell the difference.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most DAPs don't use good enough WiFi chips to keep up with streaming audio, whereas most phones do. So even if the DAP is going to give you better sound when everything is working well, the DAP is much more likely to have interruptions in the audio stream (which to me is the most annoying sound degradation of all, far worse than distortion or noise).

I went back to iPhone, headphone jack be damned. Most of the issues that made me switch back weren't audio issues, but I will say that one should do one's research really carefully before buying Android audio products. There are a lot of "gotchas."

Hi, I read about resampling issue with LG V60 (and really all Android in general).

So how do I bypass resampling completely on LG V60? Is it simply to use the headphone jack? I am going to be using Tidal and Amazon Music, and 44.1/16 lossless exclusively.
 

Jmudrick

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
633
Likes
536
Hi, I read about resampling issue with LG V60 (and really all Android in general).

So how do I bypass resampling completely on LG V60? Is it simply to use the headphone jack? I am going to be using Tidal and Amazon Music, and 44.1/16 lossless exclusively.
USB Audio Player Pro for Tidal or local/network files.
 

notakosan

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
84
Likes
48
USB Audio Player Pro for Tidal or local/network files.

Currently what I am using with my Kindle HD and Apple dongle. UAPP is great, wish I discovered it sooner.

But it only supports Tidal/Qobuz streaming though. I was hoping LG V60 might provide a more universal solution.
 

notakosan

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
84
Likes
48
Top Bottom