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Can you help me use my Samsung S4 mini as a fully digital source for my Xeo 3 please?

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Hello all,

 

Reading these forums I've become more and more focused on achieving a short simple (and cheap!) path from source to speaker.

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has taken the route described below, and since I'm struggling I was hoping that someone who has gone the same way might be able to help:

 

> I rip to FLAC using Db poweramp on my PC, or download a similar quality source.

 

>> I sync files to my Samsung S4 mini (I have a 64GB min SD card)

 

>>> I want to stream them to my Xeo 3s - which accept a digital stream via mini USB or SPDIF input.

 

However the S4 mini doesn't appear to support USB OTG/isn't able to directly stream the files.

 

Do you know of any app or device that will encode and stream my FLAC files from the phone mini USB to mini USB/SPDIF of the Xeo 3 transmitter so that the signal stays digital and lossless all the way to the Dynaudio speaker DACs please?

 

I've read the primers, but can't get to grips with the language - guess I've reached my techonolgical limits - so simple solutions preferred, if possible!

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated...

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Sorry, trying to be a bit clearer...

 

In addition to files stored on my phone I'd like to stream youtube, internet radio and other digital material from the phone

 

And, I think from what Cebolla wrote in a previous (excellent) post, that the correct names for functionality of the apps/devices I need are:

 

1) A media server, if the various player apps on the phone don't perform this function

 

2) A hi-fi stream/network player/renderer to encode the files into the PC sound card standard and send it to the Xeo 3 input.

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Is there any reason why you have to stream from the S4 mini attached to to Xeo 3's transmitter? If not and you are able to use your PC in your music playing setup:

 

Could you not use the PC as a UPnP/DLNA renderer, with that attached to the transmitter & use the S4 mini as a wireless UPnP/DLNA server & control point to push the selected files from the local server to the PC renderer?

 

Or, if indeed the files are in sync & the pc has the same files anyway, perhaps run the UPnP/DLNA server on the PC for the same files, instead of on the phone (will save on battery & wireless data transmission) & just use the phone as a UPnP/DLNA control point to select & push the files to the PC renderer & out to attached Xeo transmitter?

 

Edit:

Also, do you need to stream internet radio, youtube, etc, from the phone, itself or would from the pc be ok?

Edited by Cebolla
Cross post

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In the past I've plugged the PC USB into the xeo 3 transmitter and it works well, but it's kept in the study on a different floor, and it's not on all the time, so you tend not to do it. Also the interference from the Dynaudio transmitter wireless means that I can't connect wirelessly to the web around it, so I can't get internet radio and other web sources (I could if I put in a power line adapter, but that's another extra thing). This presumably also prevents me using the phone to control as a UPnP control point.

 

By contrast my phone is always on, in my pocket, with all my music, so at the moment I'll be sitting with the family or friends, and think... music...plug it in to the 3.5m jack...tap, tap...play - music files, or something off youtube that the kids like when we're talking to them about songs we like.

 

But as you can imagine the sound quality from the phone DAC through the the analogue side of the Xeo amps negates the money I spent on them in the first place.

 

That's why I think if I could just get the right app I could do it all in one - and there seem to be lots of UPnP and DNLA apps around, free and paid, but I don't know what I'm looking for.

 

I could just buy a cheap tablet/PC, keep it on, and plugged in permanently, hook up a power line adapter and use it wired to the wall and to the Xeo transmitter - no great hardship, but it's more kit and more software, and I just think I should be able to do it simpler.

 

Am I ranting?

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I see the problem, due to the of lack of USB audio support of your Android phone there's really little chance of decent quality with a wired connection. However, the additional problem with not being able to use the phone's wireless network connection near the Xeo transmitter makes it even more difficult to actually use the phone, as you say even as a UPnP/DLNA control point, let alone as a quality source.

 

Realistically, you need a player/renderer type device attached to the transmitter whatever the solution and that cannot be the phone.

 

How feasible is it for you to be able to use the phone wirelessly and not be in interference range of the transmitter?

 

If it is possible, then there is a way to stream the phone's actual audio, ie being produced by any app, but it needs to be rooted. Using either the AirTunes or AirAudio apps you can then stream the sound wirelessly,via Apple's Airplay (I don't know of any app that can do this via UPnP/DLNA, BTW). So you'll need an AirPlay supporting player attached to the transmitter (and connected to the network via homeplugs, presumably). The cheapest device I can think of is the Apple Airport Express to connect via optical out to the transmitter. There are trial versions of those apps available and you could use your pc with a good free Airplay emmulator application (such as Shairport4w) instead of the Airport Express for now to test it out.

 

Thinking about you might be better off just getting a cheap second hand laptop from eBay and using that as your AirPlay player. You've then also got the option of using UPnP/DLNA, for file playback.

Edited by Cebolla

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Hi Cebolla, and many thanks again for your help.

 

I tried responding last night but by the time I'd finished my post I'd been logged out and lost the lot!

At which point I went to bed.

 

Anyway, I did actually start with PC>router/modem>power line adapter>airport express>XEo transmitter via SPDIF connection, all controlled by airplay on phone and PC. But, Apple don't support FLAC, I don't have other apple devices and trans coding all my CDs would be a hassle. And I'm not sure if my phone's rooted.

 

However I think I might have another solution, one that might work for other simple people too, and wondered what you (or anyone else...?) thought of this:

 

I think my Samsung S4 mini (and most new Samsung phones) are AptX enabled, and that AptX allows lossless (or fairly lossless?) transmission over Bluetooth 4.

 

I found something calles a "Crystal Acoustics Blu-DAC-UK Bluetooth Receiver", which says it is AptX enabled and has a SPDIF output (which should, presumubaly, bypass its internal DAC) and plugs into the SPDIF input of my Dynaudio transmitter. It was reviewed positively on Droidhorizon.

 

That seems to get round the wireless interference, is simple/modular/economic(£60), maintains a high-quality digital path and keeps the phone in my pocket.

 

The question is how lossy the AptX encoding/decoding process would be, and that's important, but I think AptX is supposed to be set up for audio, so maybe tolerable?

Similarly I don't know much about Bluetooth, but am presuming I can play audio from different internet sources available on the phone as well as FLACs via Bluetooth.

 

What do you (all) think?

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AptX is 'near' lossless quality, supposedly similar to highest resolution AAC, so this could be a solution for you. However there will be a further compromise in sound quality, if your phone doesn't support aptX natively, as you'll only be able to use an aptX supporting Bluetooth transmitter attached to phone's earphone socket! You'll also need to be certain that Bluetooth itself isn't affected by the Xeo's transmitter too, because it uses similar frequencies to wifi, around 2.4GHz.

 

The AirPlay supporting app to Airport Express solution would not require you to convert any of your files. This is because you'd be able to use your normal player app to playback the FLAC files on your phone and by using one of the apps I mentioned, the sound produced would be captured in high quality and streamed via AirPlay to the AE. Of course the same would apply to sounds from any other app, eg internet radio, watching Youtube, etc. The phone needs to be rooted & the wireless interference problem needs to be resolved of course. Is there any way of adjusting the transmission frequency of the Xeo, similar to what you can do with adjusting the frequency with wifi by changing its channel, so moving them away from each other?

 

BTW, there IS a free & relatively simple way of doing something similar for your PC, ie, PC>router/modem>power line adapter>airport express>XEo transmitter via SPDIF connection, in case you are interested.

Edited by Cebolla

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How much if a DIY project are you happy with?

 

What about copying the BeagleBone project Chris used recently? Or investigate further and use the BeagleBone as a UPnP renderer?

 

Eloise

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Excellent, thanks yet again.

 

I think that if AptX is native on my phone then I buy the bluetooth receiver and see if it works.

 

If not then I go to an Apple shop and find out more about exactly how the Airport Express solution will work for me, and whether my phone can easily be rooted.

 

I'll revert once I've moved forward.

 

Oh, but what was the free and simply way of doing something similar with my PC that you talked about? Free and simple are both good!

 

Eloise: I'm trying to find a mostly off-the-shelf solution if I can because I only get about half way in understanding most of this.

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Free and relatively simple, I said!

 

Well definitely simple if you're already familiar with the excellent free Foobar2000 music player. If you install the free foo_AirPlay plugin extension for it you can play back your FLAC CD rips bit perfectly to any AirPlay supporting device on the network, which of course would include an Airport Express. For internet radio, Youtube, etc, capture the pc's default sound by installing the foo_Record plugin (also free) and use Foobar2000 to play that via the AirPlay mechanism already provided by foo_AirPlay.

 

If you've got another Windows machine you could test this out by installing Shairport4w (the free AirPlay device emulator software I mentioned earlier) and use that as your AE substitute, connecting to the Xeo transmitter via USB. Assumes you've got some way of getting the computers connected to the network, though!

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Hi Cebolla, all,

 

Just coming back as promised to say how I got on, which was pretty well actually.

 

Samsung do not state that S3 or S4 mini phones have Apt-X, but CSR, which owns the standard, has a list of enabled devices which does include them. There is no clarity from forums etc.

 

My guess is that Samsung probably installs the Apt-X codec in their current devices, but perhaps for marketing purposes only features it on top of the range models. On that flimsy basis I gambled £60 on the Crystal Audio BlueDac AptX bluetooth receiver mentioned above.

 

Plugged it in, paired it to my phone (by touching the two using the NFC functionality) and music played from my phone player through the speakers immediately. My wife's S3 mini and my brother's Nexus worked the same way.

 

The sound quality is similar to my laptop wired to the mini USB of the Dynaudio transmitter, and I can't hear any audio artifiacts, so I think the bluetooth connection must be using Apt-X rather than SBC, and while I can't be authoritative, the sound quality is good enough that it sort of doesn't really matter how it gets there.

 

The signal drops if I put the phone in my pocket or hide it - as you would expect given bluetooth range.

 

There is no interference from the Dynaudio transmittter wireless field unless I put one box on top of the other.

 

I get the other internet stuff by wireless, or if that's blanked by being too close to the dynaudio wireless the phone switches to mobile signal, so youtube, internet radio etc are all fine.

 

So I now use my phone, bluetooth receiver (about 2"x2.5"), Dynaudio transmitter (about 3"x5") and speakers to play pretty whatever I want at a sound quality comparable to playing wired from my laptop through the speaker transmitter mini-usb input, which in terms of cost/simplicity/sound quality mix seems a pretty good solution for someone like me who doesn't want to get into networking too much, and it allows other people to play their music through my speakers quite easily too, which is nice too.

 

Thanks for your help Cebolla. Hope the thread may be of use to others.

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No worries, but I should really be thanking you, as you were the one that mentioned aptX in the first place! Excellent that its sound quality is as good as async USB for the media you are playing, with no interference issues. The bonus really is that you are still able to use the internet for music via your home network's wifi for some of the time and can use your phone service's internet for when there's too much interference from the Dynaudio. So problem well and truely resolved with such a simple solution.

 

Did you investigate if using another wifi channel and doing something similar for the Dynaudio transmitter (if that was possible) made any difference to the interference problem, BTW?

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