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Mobile audio setup recommendations

Mandar

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Hey,

I'm looking for an audio setup (for music) to use on the go, when I'm on a train or working out of my home office. I currently use basic Jabra Bluetooth earbuds but the quality is low and the battery is dying (and can't be changed).

So I'm looking for a solution that would be comfortable (for hours at a time), durable (I like to keep devices I buy for a decade or more and would prefer to avoid batteries I can't replace) and with a good enough quality (I know it doesn't really mean anything, but let's say neutral or close to the Harman curve). I don't have a specific budget in mind but keeping everything under 500 euro would be nice.

Here's what I own now:
- Desk speakers: Genelec 8030
- Desk DAC and amplifier: RME ADI-2 Pro
- Headphones: AEON 2 Noire.

And the combos I considered:
- a pair of IEMs and an USB dongle, eg. the Moondrop Kato and the Moonriver 2:Ti
- a mobile Bluetooth receiver good enough to power the Noire I own and love
- a mobile Bluetooth receiver and a pair of IEMs.

I've never used IEMs before and am anxious about the comfort, but it looks like the most practical solution size-wise.

What would you recommend? Anything I haven't considered?

Thanks a lot.
 

Misguided

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For a Bluetooth Receiver pretty much everyone is going to recommend a Qudelix 5k, not sure of the price in Euros but I believe 100 - 150.

I use the Apple USB Dongle and it's fine for most IEMs, it's about 10 Euros and I have some Trurthear Hexas which I do really like, no idea on Euro prices but £70 in the UK.

Given the choice between the two above I'd go for the Qudelix 5k.
 
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Mandar

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Thank you! I like both solutions.

The Qudelix 5k's battery does not seem to be changeable without soldiering. I'll wait for a successor and then buy balanced cables to have the same connection for the home and mobile setup (I know I'm too lazy to swap cables every time I move around).

In the meantime, the IEMs look like a great lightweight solution. My phone (a Pixel 6 Pro) does not have a jack output. Should I buy the official Google adapter or would an external dongle have a noticeable impact on the sound?
 

LTig

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Thank you! I like both solutions.

The Qudelix 5k's battery does not seem to be changeable without soldiering. I'll wait for a successor and then buy balanced cables to have the same connection for the home and mobile setup (I know I'm too lazy to swap cables every time I move around).

In the meantime, the IEMs look like a great lightweight solution. My phone (a Pixel 6 Pro) does not have a jack output. Should I buy the official Google adapter or would an external dongle have a noticeable impact on the sound?
The Apple Dongle is better provided you get the US version (AFAIK the EU version is limited in max output voltage).
 

staticV3

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Should I buy the official Google adapter or would an external dongle have a noticeable impact on the sound?
The Apple dongle has one notable disadvantage when used with Android phones:
When you plug it in and start listening to Youtube/Spotify/Soundcloud/etc, then there will be a volume limit at 25% volume.

You can remove this limit by opening a music player like USB Audio Player Pro or Hiby Music and setting the dongle's Hardware volume to 100%.
Afterwards, you can exit the music player and continue listening to whatever you want with unlocked volume.

The next time you plug in your dongle, the volume will once again be limited to 25%.

You can see all of that in action here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...luetooth-dac-headphone-amp.17386/post-1302123

On top of this limiter which affects all versions of the Apple dongle, the EU version (A2155) has an additional, hardcoded volume limiter to comply with EU regulations.
This limiter cannot be removed or disabled.

Afaik, the Google dongle does not have the same issue with the 25% volume limit, so you can plug it in and get the full volume without workarounds.
There might still be an EU version of the Google dongle with reduced output, however, I do not know.
 

b7676

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The usb c connectors on dongles wear out fast from the stresses of walking and dramatically accelerate the wear on your phone's critical single port your life practically depends on.
IEMs mostly are very sensitive to moisture. Durability should not be expected.
Your pixel does not have enough battery to last all day moderate use and run a dac/amp for a couple hours.
 

staticV3

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Your pixel does not have enough battery to last all day moderate use and run a dac/amp for a couple hours.
Depends on the dac/amp
current draw @44.1kHz, 300Ω load, 5.05VBUS [mA].png

Some of them are so efficient, they won't make a dent.
 
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Mandar

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Wow, thanks a lot for all the details!

@b7676 do you mean IEMs won't last if I use them under the rain or generally, because of the moist in the ear?

@staticV3 I'm going to do some research but if a more expensive dongle would "just work" without the workaround, I'd be willing to pay more.
 

staticV3

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@staticV3 I'm going to do some research but if a more expensive dongle would "just work" without the workaround, I'd be willing to pay more.
Afaik, the Apple dongle is the only one that behaves like this.
Others, both more and less expensive, should all "just work".
 

b7676

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Do you mean IEMs won't last if I use them under the rain or generally, because of the moist in the ear?
High dew point days + body heat/vapor make the iem nozzle filter blocked with droplets. Any moisture left in ear from bathing is too much. Never appreciated how long it takes to dry ear canals/wax. If i wanted to bathe and leave the house with IEMs in, in an hour, or more like now with temps below 10c, I would need to use a blow dryer to get dry enough.
Sweating activity / heating ear wax enclosed in your canals, will clog your nozzle filters within months.
Thinking about it, it must be impossible to prevent mold growth inside iem cavities.
 

Solveit

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When you plug it in and start listening to Youtube/Spotify/Soundcloud/etc, then there will be a volume limit at 25% volume.
I don't have that problem with my Andriod Xiaomi M9 and Apple dongle.
 

staticV3

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I don't have that problem with my Andriod Xiaomi M9 and Apple dongle.
Sure, depending on your choice of IEMs, music, and playback volume, 25% of the max output could be plenty enough.
But I'm fairly sure that the 25% volume limit also exists on your Xiaomi M9. Or are you getting the full 1.0Vrms right away?
 

Solveit

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Sure, depending on your choice of IEMs, music, and playback volume, 25% of the max output could be plenty enough.
But I'm fairly sure that the 25% volume limit also exists on your Xiaomi M9. Or are you getting the full 1.0Vrms right away?
Yes I got full volume right away but the Apple dongle come in two versions US and EU versions.
I have the US version and don't have that limit.

"The Apple headphone adapters are different in EU and US,
The EU version only puts out 0.5V , the US version puts out 6db more at 1V , its all EU health and safety related .
In any case I'm not looking to drive headphones with it so hearing damage isnt an issue ."
 

staticV3

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Yes I got full volume right away but the Apple dongle come in two versions US and EU versions.
I have the US version and don't have that limit.

"The Apple headphone adapters are different in EU and US,
The EU version only puts out 0.5V , the US version puts out 6db more at 1V , its all EU health and safety related .
The limit that I'm talking about is a separate matter from the EU vs US thing. It applies to all Apple dongles whenever you use then on Android.

Are you sure that you measured 1.0Vrms at the Apple dongle output, without touching the UAC2 hardware volume?
 

Phorize

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How noisy will the environment be? Alot of these iems are great but the isolation is often not and they don't have active noise cancellation.
 

Solveit

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The limit that I'm talking about is a separate matter from the EU vs US thing. It applies to all Apple dongles whenever you use then on Android.

Are you sure that you measured 1.0Vrms at the Apple dongle output, without touching the UAC2 hardware volume?
Yes, I bought the EU version first before I understood that the US version was higher output without messing with the phone.
And it sure is.
 

Phorize

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37 hour battery life, geq and very good anc built in + ldac support. All for £200, read it and weep moondrop fanboys;)
 

staticV3

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Yes, I bought the EU version first before I understood that the US version was higher output without messing with the phone.
And it sure is.
Did you measure the output voltage with a multimeter, voltmeter, or oscilloscope?
 

Solveit

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Did you measure the output voltage with a multimeter, voltmeter, or oscilloscope?
Why should I?
If I switch between the EU and the US, and put full volume the US version is very much higher!
 
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