• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Digital audio quality of modern Android Devices via USB-output from hi-res sources?

Halcyon

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
19
Likes
27
Has anybody measured the digital output of Modern Android phone / tablet devices (say Android 10 or later) from the USB output using hi-resolution lossless sources (like 24-bit / 96+ kHz FLAC sources)?

- Does the Android audio subsystem digital USB output allow for bit-perfect (non-resampled) output?
- Are there any issues with certain manufacturers or Android versions?

Or can I just go and pick the cheapest Android 10+ tablet, cram in a 1TB microsdcard and use it to stream hi-res 24b/96kHz content (via USB, NOT wireless) to an external DAC (and then to the audio reproduction system)?

Would love to hear from anyone who has experimented with this, and especially if they've tested whether the digital output remains bit-identical to the source files.
 

Joachim Herbert

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
478
Likes
703
Location
Munich, Germany
Depends on the Player used. Some like usb audio player work around the android sound subsystem, others do not.
 
OP
H

Halcyon

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
19
Likes
27
Depends on the Player used. Some like usb audio player work around the android sound subsystem, others do not.

So, if one is using a Streaming app, then one is tied to the intricacies of that streaming app and no way to know, right?

Do you know of the android audio usb sub-system has changed recently in Android 10-11? Any differences in regards to which Android version to use?
 

ZolaIII

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
4,236
Likes
2,502
So, if one is using a Streaming app, then one is tied to the intricacies of that streaming app and no way to know, right?

Do you know of the android audio usb sub-system has changed recently in Android 10-11? Any differences in regards to which Android version to use?
Nothing changed for quality a while, Android support USB Audio 2.0 long time now (from Android 7 as I can remember). Implementation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and it's not bit perfect (usually resasempled to 44100/48000). There are players which come with their own costume USB Audio 2.0 driver's and suport bit perfect output (to limitations of driver or DAC) like: HiBy, Shanling, FiiO, HF, UAPP, Neutron... You usually need to enable usage of custom driver. Some are free and some are paid. Additional futures vary (streaming services suport, remote control, EQ's and cetera).
 
OP
H

Halcyon

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
19
Likes
27
Any idea about LG phones with QuadDAC? Some of those can be had for quite cheap now that LG is exiting the mobile phone business? Would make a nice player (on the go with headphone output and stationary with USB-output) esp. if the USB-digital output is not 48kHz resampling.
 

Cahudson42

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Messages
1,083
Likes
1,557
Amir tested the G7 Quad DAC. It did quite well:
https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...o-measurement-of-lg-g7-thinq-smartphone.4468/

Be sure to plow thru the entire thread. The LG Quad DACs have some annoying 'nanny' output limitations, but they are easy to work around.

I currently use an LG V20 to drive a Liquid Spark for my HE5XX. The V20 replaced a D10/Fire tablet combo.

If you just use USB, a $30 LG Rebel TracFone running Android 8 will likely work fine as a wifi streamer. I use one with a three wire otg USB cable (usually powered) to drive a Qudelix 5k. Works great.
 
OP
H

Halcyon

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
19
Likes
27
So I actually tested this myself:

USB digital audio Output from Android 10/11 with standard Android USB driver and feeding it to an external DSP and letting it detect what is being fed to it. The results are (following devices giving the digital USB audio output):

- Samsung Galaxy S9: everything resampled to 192kHz/24-bit (slight audible difference in quality, i.e. not a very goo Async resampling alog)
- Asus Zenphone 6 Pro: everything resampled to 48kHz/24-bit (clearly audible difference, the worst)
- Huawei Media Par 10.8 : everything resampled to 96kHz/24-bit (somewhat audible difference)

Then I did the same using the Android App USB Audio Player Pro (that has its own USB audio driver and bypasses that of Android's own built-in driver):

- all of the above devices gave exact same kHz/bit-rate as the input file being played , whether input file was 44.1kHz/16-bit or 192kHz/24bit (did not check for bit-perfect accuracy)

In summary: if you use Android's own USB driver : you will get resampling and quality will differ from one manufacturer/device to another
If you use the aforementioned app, you can bypass the resampling, but you will be tied to that player only (doesn't support all streaming services nor all their offline features).
 

Jimbob54

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
11,162
Likes
14,862
So I actually tested this myself:

USB digital audio Output from Android 10/11 with standard Android USB driver and feeding it to an external DSP and letting it detect what is being fed to it. The results are (following devices giving the digital USB audio output):

- Samsung Galaxy S9: everything resampled to 192kHz/24-bit (slight audible difference in quality, i.e. not a very goo Async resampling alog)
- Asus Zenphone 6 Pro: everything resampled to 48kHz/24-bit (clearly audible difference, the worst)
- Huawei Media Par 10.8 : everything resampled to 96kHz/24-bit (somewhat audible difference)

Then I did the same using the Android App USB Audio Player Pro (that has its own USB audio driver and bypasses that of Android's own built-in driver):

- all of the above devices gave exact same kHz/bit-rate as the input file being played , whether input file was 44.1kHz/16-bit or 192kHz/24bit (did not check for bit-perfect accuracy)

In summary: if you use Android's own USB driver : you will get resampling and quality will differ from one manufacturer/device to another
If you use the aforementioned app, you can bypass the resampling, but you will be tied to that player only (doesn't support all streaming services nor all their offline features).

This is my bugbear. Not the fact that Android resamples before passing to the DAC- Windows does the same, but the fact it varies between manufs and devices as to what it actually does and how well it does it.

Just bake an "exclusive mode" option into Android and let any audio app control the DAC output. I appreciate this will make phone calls, mic inputs etc a nightmare, but let me choose if i dont want that.
 

DrGogu

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2022
Messages
10
Likes
0
So I actually tested this myself:

USB digital audio Output from Android 10/11 with standard Android USB driver and feeding it to an external DSP and letting it detect what is being fed to it. The results are (following devices giving the digital USB audio output):

- Samsung Galaxy S9: everything resampled to 192kHz/24-bit (slight audible difference in quality, i.e. not a very goo Async resampling alog)
- Asus Zenphone 6 Pro: everything resampled to 48kHz/24-bit (clearly audible difference, the worst)
- Huawei Media Par 10.8 : everything resampled to 96kHz/24-bit (somewhat audible difference)

Then I did the same using the Android App USB Audio Player Pro (that has its own USB audio driver and bypasses that of Android's own built-in driver):

- all of the above devices gave exact same kHz/bit-rate as the input file being played , whether input file was 44.1kHz/16-bit or 192kHz/24bit (did not check for bit-perfect accuracy)

In summary: if you use Android's own USB driver : you will get resampling and quality will differ from one manufacturer/device to another
If you use the aforementioned app, you can bypass the resampling, but you will be tied to that player only (doesn't support all streaming services nor all their offline features).

I’ve been looking for something like this. Thank you. Wish you had a recent Xperia to test, one that Sony says supports hi-res audio, like 1 II or III. Even their midranges, the latest is 10 III, Sony claims they support it.
 

Foxenfurter

Active Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2020
Messages
129
Likes
157
Location
London

rockrolla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
38
Likes
13
It's a old post but something I like to understand, so according to my hidzis Ap80 pro that I'm using as a DAC on my S22 ultra , I'm getting 192khz/24 bits but shouldn't be different on Deezer free Vs Tidal HIFI ? Or something I'm missing on my ignorance?
 

Attachments

  • 20230128_112821.jpg
    20230128_112821.jpg
    209.9 KB · Views: 132
  • 20230128_112934.jpg
    20230128_112934.jpg
    158.7 KB · Views: 134

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
8,345
Likes
13,440
It's a old post but something I like to understand, so according to my hidzis Ap80 pro that I'm using as a DAC on my S22 ultra , I'm getting 192khz/24 bits but shouldn't be different on Deezer free Vs Tidal HIFI ? Or something I'm missing on my ignorance?
If you use the native Deezer/Tidal Apps for streaming, then those apps will pass all audio to the Android resampler and mixer, where it will be resampled to 192kHz before being output to your AP80.

You can go into the Android settings and disable the upsampling (which you should do). Then, all audio will be played at 48kHz.

Or you can use USB Audio Player Pro to bypass the Android audio pipeline altogether and play at the native sample rate.
 

rockrolla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
38
Likes
13
Ok , but the audio quality is different or basically the same ? Are you saying I will have better audio in 48khz ?
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
8,345
Likes
13,440
Tidal hifi vs deezer free
Deezer Free is lossy MP3 while Tidal HiFi is lossy MQA. I don't know which one is less lossy. I would go with MP3.
Deezer Premium is lossless, so higher quality than the others.
 

rockrolla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
38
Likes
13
My doubt is , no matter if I use Poweramp , hiby music , tidal WiFi or Deezer free I always get 192khz/24 bits and it's fine , that's the output quality I'm getting no matter what source is , So it makes sense to pay for tidal hifi ? Or I'm missing something?
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
8,345
Likes
13,440
My doubt is , no matter if I use Poweramp , hiby music , tidal WiFi or Deezer free I always get 192khz/24 bits and it's fine but not the output quality I'm getting no matter what source is ?
I'm not sure I understand the question.
By default, Samsung OneUI will (badly) upsample everything to 192kHz.
You can use UAPP, HiBy Music in Exclusive mode, or Neutron to play your music without upsampling, bit-perfect.

I don't think it makes sense to pay extra for Tidal Hifi as you're still getting lossy encoding.

If I wanted lossless, bit-perfect streaming I would buy Qobuz and play that through UAPP.
Though currently, Spotify's library and features are worth more to me than lossless.
 

rockrolla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2023
Messages
38
Likes
13
Thank you , makes sense since I don't hear any differences , finally I understand I'm not listening losseless content , if I use a computer I won't have those limitations right ?
 

staticV3

Master Contributor
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
8,345
Likes
13,440
Thank you , makes sense since I don't hear any differences , finally I understand I'm not listening losseless content , if I use a computer I won't have those limitations right ?
Using a computer won't make Tidal or Deezer Free lossless.
Using a Computer also won't make streaming automatically bit-perfect.

By default, the programs will still pass the audio to the Windows resampler and mixer, after which it is sent out via USB.

If you want bit-perfect, then you have to make sure the Streaming App for Windows supports audio output via ASIO or Wasapi Exclusive (Exclusive is important!)
These will do the same as UAPP: bypassing the default pipeline and sending the audio straight to the DAC.
 
Top Bottom