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Am I expected to hear any difference ?

moktan

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#1
Yesterday I replaced my digital source ( a Dell Precision laptop using foobar) with an Android phone ( Pixel also using foobar). The rest of the chain - usb cable , external DAC, amp etc remained the same.
But I thought the music didn't sound the same. I felt it lacked body and heft or that it sounded thinner.
Is that expected ? Or was it just my imagination?
Question is - Can a smartphone replace a laptop as a digital source with little or no compromise ?
Thanks.
 
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rikhav

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#2
Hello moktan ji,
I am assuming you used otg converter also so you could use the same usb cable with dac which you used with your laptop, so add that to the chain
In my limited experience that also adds up

Plus most important is that android is not sort of designed to be best with aduiocraft reproduction so that would be a contributing factor. As with different msuic players an OS and how well it's optimised for audio also impacts the final sound with digital audio
 

elangoas

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#3
Yesterday I replaced my digital source ( a Dell Precision laptop using foobar) with an Android phone ( Pixel also using foobar).
Which android application did you use for playback?..

The rest of the chain - usb cable , external DAC, amp etc remained the same.
But I thought the music didn't sound the same. I felt it lacked body and heft or that it sounded thinner.
Is that expected ? Or was it just my imagination?
I hope you had enabled digital out on the Android application.. One of these apps, Hibymusic (or) USB Audio Player PRO have the option of digital out from Android phone.. So it should be the same as laptop digital (Windows) out via USB..

Question is - Can a smartphone replace a laptop as a digital source with little or no compromise ?
Yes.. I had used both Hibymusic & USB Audio Player PRO on my android mobile sometime back, though had compatibility issues with the DAC, was still fine.. I used it to connect to my brothers car audio system thru aux output from USB DAC..
 

square_wave

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#5
From my experience, in a computer based playback system, transport system makes quite a difference. In fact, it is a considerable variable. I have tried the following in the past. All were USB out.

1. A stock dell laptop ( the worst )
2. A pc ( slightly better )
3. A stock mac mini ( quite good )
4. A modded mac mini ( much better )
5. An auralic mini ( the best so far )
 

moktan

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#6
Which android application did you use for playback?..



I hope you had enabled digital out on the Android application.. One of these apps, Hibymusic (or) USB Audio Player PRO have the option of digital out from Android phone.. So it should be the same as laptop digital (Windows) out via USB..



Yes.. I had used both Hibymusic & USB Audio Player PRO on my android mobile sometime back, though had compatibility issues with the DAC, was still fine.. I used it to connect to my brothers car audio system thru aux output from USB DAC..
Tried USB player pro..thought it improved the sonics significantly..Don’t think it’s the placebo effect either .. it would be relief to have a phone as a digital source ..haven’t fiddled around much so not sure if I can access the music downloaded in Google Play Music ...
 

elangoas

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#7
Tried USB player pro..thought it improved the sonics significantly..Don’t think it’s the placebo effect either .. it would be relief to have a phone as a digital source ..haven’t fiddled around much so not sure if I can access the music downloaded in Google Play Music ...
I haven't tried this option.. But, if it is downloaded to your local storage (phone storage/SD card), then it should be accessible from USB Player Pro (menu options)..
 
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#8
As long as you have an asynchronus DAC and a device outputting a bitperfect stream, the audio will be the same regardless of the transport.

Having said that, there could still be minor/subtle differences owing to the varied digital noise floor that these devices produce on their usb bus.
I would imagine this to be more of a problem with phones since they have a multitude of radios for wifi, cellular, etc.

To get a bitperfect stream from your android phone i would recommend you get USB AUdio Player Pro (you can configure bit perfect output in its settings). This is the only app that i found which was usable and had relatively the least glitches on playing different formats.
 

moktan

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#9
As long as you have an asynchronus DAC and a device outputting a bitperfect stream, the audio will be the same regardless of the transport.

Having said that, there could still be minor/subtle differences owing to the varied digital noise floor that these devices produce on their usb bus.
I would imagine this to be more of a problem with phones since they have a multitude of radios for wifi, cellular, etc.

To get a bitperfect stream from your android phone i would recommend you get USB AUdio Player Pro (you can configure bit perfect output in its settings). This is the only app that i found which was usable and had relatively the least glitches on playing different formats.
I am using the USB Audio Player Pro as suggested above by our esteemed forum member. I think the difference is quite discernable.
Could the sound improve if I keep the phone in airplane mode? No harm in trying..
 

MaSh

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#11
My phone playing Gaana.com streaming to a Chromecast connected to a Marantz receiver sounds much much better than Gaana.com playing on a Dell Desktop streaming to the same Marantz receiver via a GT NVidia card. No Idea why or how.

MaSh
From my experience, in a computer based playback system, transport system makes quite a difference. In fact, it is a considerable variable. I have tried the following in the past. All were USB out.

1. A stock dell laptop ( the worst )
2. A pc ( slightly better )
3. A stock mac mini ( quite good )
4. A modded mac mini ( much better )
5. An auralic mini ( the best so far )
Unfortunately I am using a Stock Dell Desktop with a Zotak GT730 card. I see you rated it worst. Any solution on how the performance via HDMI can be improved?

MaSh
 
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#12
I am using the USB Audio Player Pro as suggested above by our esteemed forum member. I think the difference is quite discernable.
Could the sound improve if I keep the phone in airplane mode? No harm in trying..
The difference will be very minor. Could even go undetected at normal volumes and with a less sensitive setup.
 

square_wave

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#13
My phone playing Gaana.com streaming to a Chromecast connected to a Marantz receiver sounds much much better than Gaana.com playing on a Dell Desktop streaming to the same Marantz receiver via a GT NVidia card. No Idea why or how.

MaSh


Unfortunately I am using a Stock Dell Desktop with a Zotak GT730 card. I see you rated it worst. Any solution on how the performance via HDMI can be improved?

MaSh
Not sure about HDMI. I have been testing with USB. I think it is the noise that is the culprit. The more purpose made device you use, less the noise via USB.
 

elangoas

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#14
Could the sound improve if I keep the phone in airplane mode? No harm in trying..
Try it.. But there may not be a difference..

My phone playing Gaana.com streaming to a Chromecast connected to a Marantz receiver sounds much much better than Gaana.com playing on a Dell Desktop streaming to the same Marantz receiver via a GT NVidia card. No Idea why or how.
Must be something to do with audio settings.. Check application audio settings on both android & windows..

Unfortunately I am using a Stock Dell Desktop with a Zotak GT730 card. I see you rated it worst. Any solution on how the performance via HDMI can be improved?
If you are using a Foobar2000 application from desktop, and have made the correct settings under preferences " WASAPI - Push/event - HDMI Zotac", you can try making a comparison between all of them using the same file..
 

MaSh

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#15
Must be something to do with audio settings.. Check application audio settings on both android & windows..
No Settings as such. It is just a simple stream.

If you are using a Foobar2000 application from desktop, and have made the correct settings under preferences " WASAPI - Push/event - HDMI Zotac", you can try making a comparison between all of them using the same file..
Yes done these AB tests with Foobar, Gaana.com on Chrome, IE, Mozilla and Opera, other music players. None compared to what Mobile + Chromecast produce. So after a lot of testing over a couple of weeks, Mobile + Chromecast is my primary mode of Music listening. Its more convenient too for me as well as others in the house. Desktop for now is for simple browsing and movie watching.

MaSh
 

elangoas

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#16
Yes done these AB tests with Foobar, Gaana.com on Chrome, IE, Mozilla and Opera, other music players. None compared to what Mobile + Chromecast produce. So after a lot of testing over a couple of weeks, Mobile + Chromecast is my primary mode of Music listening. Its more convenient too for me as well as others in the house. Desktop for now is for simple browsing and movie watching.
I understand the convenience of streaming..But, how have you connected the chromecast to AVR (HDMI?..) If you have connected thru HDMI and if you feel it is better than PC (Windows) + foobar (via HDMI), then i believe that Android application is adding some processing to the stream..

Have you also tried playing to AVR thru network (ethernet port) using compatible mobile app?..
 

MaSh

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#17
I understand the convenience of streaming..But, how have you connected the chromecast to AVR (HDMI?..) If you have connected thru HDMI and if you feel it is better than PC (Windows) + foobar (via HDMI), then i believe that Android application is adding some processing to the stream..

Have you also tried playing to AVR thru network (ethernet port) using compatible mobile app?..
Well honestly I feel it's just the desktop that's not sounding good enough. All other sources sound better and all are connected via HDMI. No I have not tried dlna, Chromecast much more convenient.

MaSh
 
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