USB DAC/amp (dongles)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Stuff Jones, May 17, 2021.

  1. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Friend

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    Do any of these dongles drive a 300ohm headphone? I'm using a Mini Open, it doesn't need a ton of power and isn't on the hd6X0 level of scaling. But I do notice a step up in bass when I go from things like 3.5mm headphone jack to my Shanling M0 to my SW51+.
     
  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Apogee Groove is supposed to be specifically designed for high impedance headphones

    https://apogeedigital.com/products/groove
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Does the RU6 or Lutoo S1 work out of the usb c port of a MacBook for anyone else? No matter what I play I get like 3 seconds of sound and then it goes silent. It would a cool alternative to airplay and my LauX. And no draining an iPod touch battery in like 10 minutes.
     
  4. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I haven't had a single problem running RU-6 out of my M1Pro MBP on Monterey 12.4. Maybe check audio midi settings and make sure all sounds, both system and audio, run through the RU-6?
     
  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Is there any way to plug in an iPhone to get power while having a dongle like the RU-6 plugged in playing?

    Someone told me that Apple’s dual connection cck connector would work which has a female usb a port and a female lightning port but it won’t charge the iPhone through the usb a port. It will only send data.

    is there a way to make this dual cck adapter work or is there another adapter on the market that would work? The dongles drain the battery so fast I’d like to be able to hook it up to power at the same time when I’m stationary.

    I’m surprised no one makes an OTG cable with a Y split into 2 cables - a male usb c and a female usb c for charging.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    cheers
     
  6. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    This is great! This will work just fine, going to order one. I can't find a USB A male to usb C male OTG sized cable to use with the dual port apple adapter.
     
  8. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    There should be a USB-C->A adapter included with the RU6.
     
  9. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Oh good call I have a cabl-less adapter here. But when I put the whole thing together with the dual port cck adapter my ipod says “device not supported”. :(
     
  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Try plugging in lightning cable to the CCK, then CCK to iPod, and then the RU6 to the CCK.

    Also I didn’t think to double check this, are iPod touches compatible with the USB 3.0 CCK? Do other dongles work using the CCK?
     
  11. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I just tried it with my iPhone 12 Pro and both RU6 and Shanling UA5 and the same message appeared. Oh well I’ll give the adapter that @shotgunshane linked to a try.
     
  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Woops I had the cables plugged In wrong. The lightning port has to be for charging and the usb a port for data. I got it working now. Endless BANDCAMP with the RU6!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    I always used both the dongle and my phone volume controls, hybrid between both. I adjust my dongle (E1DA 9038SG3) volume via the associated app to make 50% on phone volume to be ~60dB.

    Then I tired the extremes, 100% on my dongle then adjusting via my phone or %100 on my phone and adjusting via the dongle app (I think this applies to most dongle with physical volume control as most are digitally controlled).

    Results are kinda unexpected, using the phone volume control (Samsung S21+) the mid and upper bass is much fuller but noticeably looser. Everything else is much grainier and the treble is rough and brittle. Really hard to listen to.

    When I used the dongle to fully control the volume everything becomes tighter including the imaging. Resolution and refinement is two notches up. I lost the bass fullness but I'm fine with that.

    I'm not sure if this effect applies to all phones but I thought it's worth sharing.

    TLDR: never make your phone volume control to go lower than %80, the lower you go the grainier and low res the sound become. + soft transients and brittle treble.
     
  14. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    Are there any good portable DAC/Amps that also have an analog microphone input? I had a Schiit Hel but sent it back because the volume pot was bad. I have found no other portable devices that have an analog mic in. I do consider the Hel to be portable enough for my needs.

    I never thought I'd be in the market for a portable DAC/Amp but I think I can use one now. I've been traveling with my MacBook Pro and Meze Empyrean to work remotely. However, I also need to use a gamer bro headset (Drop/Sennheiser PC38x) for its microphone in order to participate in web meetings. The PC38x has a split cable so I could try to use the analog input of the MBP with a TRRS adapter and then the DAC/AMP separately but it would be nice to get a better mic input if possible. That's also some cable spaghetti that ruins the appeal of portability.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2022
  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I ultimately wound up with a Schiit Hel2, but when I was shopping around for something similar the other options were a Soundblaster G6 or Sennheiser GSX 1000 (each brand has a few different models to look up)

    https://en.creative.com/p/sound-blaster?filters=1193
     

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  16. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    I've had a Soundblaster G5 and G6 in the past that I used for gaming. They were OK but I ultimately got rid of them because I have a motherboard now with decent enough onboard. I had not thought about trying those again for portable purposes. I had hoped there would be something more audiophile grade these days. I am using an Asus ROG Clavis because it came with another motherboard that I had. It is OK, but the Meze Empyrean really needs something better. I've stuck to the Clavis because it has TRRS with microphone capabilities. I am getting pretty frustrated that there are not more options with this capability in similar form factor.
     
  17. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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  18. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    Nice! I didn't realize the Fulla also had mic input. The Fulla is shipping right away and well within impulse buy pricing, so I went ahead and ordered one.
     
  19. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    My trusty Apple dongle gave up the ghost recently, and while I could have just bought a new one I decided to revisit the world of USB dongles to see if anything new and interesting had come out since I last checked. My main use case is with the 7Hz Timeless and Porta Pros,

    My reference for a lot of this has been Andy’s Audio Vault. I don’t take every review as gospel but he is by far the most dedicated dongle reviewer out there and by going through enough of his reviews I was able to get a sense of what I would like in relation to his tastes and terminology.

    I noticed when I checked his site that he had added a new five star rated dongle, and it was under $100: The Ibasso DC03 Pro. I watched his video review and was immediately taken with three aspects.

    1. Physical volume buttons with 100 steps independent of system volume.
    2. Slim, less like the thickness of a pack of gum and more like one or two sticks of gum.
    3. Single ended output only. No wasting money on balanced output, no worrying that the SE out was inferior.

    There was also a major feature I disliked, an Android app which lets you control gain and digital filters. If these things can be adjusted, they should always be accessible through physical buttons, because there’s no guarantee a manufacturer will continue to support an app.

    Despite this, I decided to order one from Amazon anyway. $70 and if I didn’t like it, I could return it. I already had the Cayin USB-C to lightning OTG cable from when I had an RU6 and it’s worked on the DC03 Pro without complaint. Ibasso confirmed to a user on Head-Fi that when connected to a device without the Android app, the dongle defaults to high gain and a fast roll off filter.

    This is a neutral, analytical dongle. Each instrument can be separated out and studied individually. It still retains a sense of coherence, and surprisingly excellent timbre. I don’t know if this is a trait of Cirrus Logic chips or someone on the DC03 Pro product team was extremely dedicated, but I am consistently impressed at the way the DC03 Pro relays the character of the materials in each instrument. Cymbals sound like metal. Not metallic, or steely, which generally means piercing, cold, or too sharp on the transients, but it actually sounds like a metal dish being struck. The acoustic properties of the materials in each instrument come through

    This dongle has a dead quiet background. The marketing materials make hay about some power processing built in, and it turns out not to be just fluff. This dongle is optimized to perform its best with limited power, switching from my iPhone to my Mac made no audible difference, whereas the RU6 sounded considerably better from the higher power source.

    The only downside I can see is that because it’s SE only and on the smaller side, it can’t crank out sufficient power for harder to drive headphones. But for IEMs and more efficient headphones, this dongle is worth trying! It’s $70, and tiny and by all rights shouldn’t sound this good.

    Addendum: The reason I mentioned the size is I found that the largest dongles, like the RU6, the ifi Go Bar, or the Questyle M15, are simply too heavy for reasonable portable use. With the RU6 I always felt like I was putting major strain on my cables and putting it in my pocket was unpleasant. The DC03 Pro, being slimmer and with superior power management, bridges the gap between the micro DAC/amps like the Apple dongle and the monster DAC/amps. I can lift my phone with the DC03 Pro attached and not worry that the cable will be damaged or pulled out by the weight of the dongle. I can put it in my pocket easily, with the volume buttons readily accessible, and the DC03 Pro doesn’t even get warm. This feels like just the right form factor to still get top notch sonic performance without sacrificing ergonomics.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2023
  20. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Nice review. I’m with you on balanced output on dongles. JFC it’s a dongle. If you want to drive full size headphones get a full size portable like Nano BL/ hip dac/ etc. Dongles should be only SE, as small as possible and as battery efficient as possible and designed for iems exclusively. Again, if you’re driving full size headphones get a full sized portable to match.
     
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