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Pesky Bee

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Hello, hope you are all doing well.

I am looking for a portable DAC/AMP that will power IEMs from a phone, like;
T2, T4, P1, Tape Pro, FH3, Starfields, Believe, ThieAudio L3/L4/L5, Yume, TRI Starsea
And more efficient headphones, like;
X2HR, SHP9500, AKG 361, HD58X, SR80e

With the overwhelmingly positive recommendation of the S9 by amirm, that would be a no brainer
But, it is very important for me to precisely control the volume since the step volume increases from my phone are way too big.
To make matters worst the S9 is powerful, but I wonder if it would be TOO powerful for more efficient IEMs. In a way that I would be barely able to control the volume from my phone because it would be either mute, low volume, and then way too loud.
It is a shame they ditched the hardware volume control.

So I tend to go for the S8, which has an analog/hardware volume control, which allows for a lot more precise volume increase/decrease.
Is the S8 performance a significant downgrade from the S9? (not taking into account power delivery for example).
Is the S8 still able to drive comfortably most of the headphones and IEMs I mentioned?
I would easily take the S8 over the S9 because of that hardware control volume IF there isn´t a significantly noticeable difference in performance in the scenarios I mentioned.


Any stances from S8/S9 owners?


Specs:
S8: Couldn´t find it, but SE only. DAC CHIP>CS43131
S9: SE>90mW, BAL>125mW. DAC CHIP> AK4493EQ


Currently, I have a K3 KGUSS (basically an FX AUDIO DAC-X6) and a Hidzis Sonata II
 

Count Arthur

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Jimbob54

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Take a look at USB Audio player PRO, you can adjust the number of volume steps:

https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/products/usb-audio-player-pro
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.extreamsd.usbaudioplayerpro&hl=en_US&gl=US

It also allows you to bypass Android audio and and prevent it from re-sampling everything to 48khz.

There may be other free solutions as well, but I've been using USB Audio player PRO for quite a while and I like it.
+1 and it has eq built in. The S8 volume buttons are next to useless anyway, far too broad. Setting uapp to 100 steps or more then controlling hardware volume via that is best way I have found. But that should work with s9 too.

For me, if you want balanced out, get the s9. If not, the S8, or it's nearly identical but far cheaper twin, the TempoTec sonata hd Pro.
 
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Pesky Bee

Pesky Bee

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+1 and it has eq built in. The S8 volume buttons are next to useless anyway, far too broad. Setting uapp to 100 steps or more then controlling hardware volume via that is best way I have found. But that should work with s9 too.

For me, if you want balanced out, get the s9. If not, the S8, or it's nearly identical but far cheaper twin, the TempoTec sonata hd Pro.


What app do you used for that?
 
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Pesky Bee

Pesky Bee

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+1 and it has eq built in. The S8 volume buttons are next to useless anyway, far too broad. Setting uapp to 100 steps or more then controlling hardware volume via that is best way I have found. But that should work with s9 too.

For me, if you want balanced out, get the s9. If not, the S8, or it's nearly identical but far cheaper twin, the TempoTec sonata hd Pro.


Are you are the Sonata HD PRO has very similar performance to the S8?
As far as I can tell it shares the same DAC chip, and 60mW at 32ohms

Hmmm very interesting. Are the volume buttons hardware buttons?
 
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Pesky Bee

Pesky Bee

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Take a look at USB Audio player PRO, you can adjust the number of volume steps:

https://www.extreamsd.com/index.php/products/usb-audio-player-pro
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.extreamsd.usbaudioplayerpro&hl=en_US&gl=US

It also allows you to bypass Android audio and and prevent it from re-sampling everything to 48khz.

There may be other free solutions as well, but I've been using USB Audio player PRO for quite a while and I like it.

Oh well, I use a lot of spotify, so this wouldn't work right?
 

Jimbob54

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What app do you used for that?
UAPP- as @Count Arthur said

And it is generally understood the tempotec is a re-shell of the S8 (or vice versa)

I dont know technically how the buttons operate- I think its just using the digital attenuation on the DAC chips- so no different to using the player software app to control the "hardware volume".
 

0RF30

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Both S9 and S8 are very nice, you'll have to buy an aftermarket cable for S8 unless you're a rare lucky guy. DD hifi usb-c to micro usb are fine for S8 weight. Looking at amir's measurements, S8 and tempotec sonata hd pro seems to slightly differ (I don't own Tempotec Sonata HD pro). Current S8 and Tempotec Sonata HD pro princing are more or less the same, so the last one is no more a cheaper alternative. As already said, physical volume control on S8 are more than useless (too big steps), you can also easily trigger them in you pocket or with any gestures of quotidian life.

+1 for what has already said. UAPP (for USB Audio Player Pro) or Neutron (great features, terrible interface, no streaming services support), with Bubbleupnp as bridge if you have the use for it, is at the moment the way to go on android. Unfortunately, I think if you're using Spotify, you're fu...d, neither UAPP or Bubble supports Spotify accounts (Tidal and Qobuz only).

If you want precise physical hardware volume control, L&P W1 or W2, but we're not at the same price range, and the buttons position is a bit weird (but clicky and very difficult to activate by accident).

Which phone are you using ? Sometime there are tricks or apps to get smaller volume increments (I remember it was the case with some Samsungs I own in the past).

Oh, current S9 are no more AKM DAC implemented, you'll get ESS sabre, no real comparison yet. I'll probably fail to resist doing it... Arf
 
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