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Onkyo HF Player for Android


Richard Dale
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I've been using the Onkyo HF Player on my iPod Touch to drive an iFi iDSD Nano, and I find it works well. I use iTunes to load music ripped as Apple Lossless onto the iPod. However, one problem with iTunes is that if you create playlists that have high res tracks in them it won't sync them onto an iPod or other iDevice. You have to use a file browser option with the HF Player app inside iTunes to browse for high res tracks in the Mac OS X file system, and once they are on the iPod they appear in their own silo under 'HD', and other CD quality tracks are under 'iPod'. When you want to remove them, you need to delete each track in turn inside iTunes in the HF Player app section and resync.

 

When I first got the Nano I looked at the Android app that iFi recommend running on my Moto G phone, the USB Audio Player Pro, I found the user interface a bit too primitive, and I couldn't see how to load it from iTunes playlists. I have too many albums (2500 or so) to make it convenient to browse the file system for music, and I regard playlist syncing as essential.

 

I found out on a HeadFi forum that there is a version of the HF Player app for Android that looks pretty much identical to the iOS version. I also found out that there is an Android app called 'iSyncr' that can sync iTunes playlists in conjunction with an app running on Mac OS X (or Windows). You can either use WiFi or a USB cable as the bridge, and I've only used it with a cable so far.

 

There are trial versions of both apps which are good enough to test if the whole thing works, and what I found was that the syncing to Android with iTunes via iSyncr is actually better than syncing to the iPod. High res music can be included in a playlist and the whole lot get sync'd. There is no need to futz around with browsing the file system for High res tracks. Sound quality wise with the iFi Nano and my Ortofon e-Q5 or Sennheiser Momentum over ears, I can't hear any difference so far, but haven't done that much listening yet. My Moto G is a bit more bulky than the iPod, but apart from that there is very little difference in the set up.

 

I ended up paying 4.99 euros for the full version of iSync, and another 7.46 euros for the HF Player upgrade to play High Res. I also ordered a 64Gb sd micro card from Amazon to try, as they were doing Samsung ones for about 15 pounds. I have read reports that my Moto G has trouble with some large SD cards, but for only 15 pounds it seems worth a punt. With luck I should be able to turn my cheap Android phone into a quite high capacity source of high res music with convenient syncing for less than 50 euros all in, which seems a bargain to me.

System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

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Yes, it's a bargain. I have installed Onkyo HF Player on Android, so I can compare it with other solutions.

 

You should be able to play HiRes content from HF Player, but from more audiophile point of view I see bottlenecks of such a solution:

1) The quality of USB transport from mobile device is for me questionable. I never read it here discussed, if USB transport quality from iDevices and typical Android devices matches USB outputs from typical PCs from audio point of view. My experience is, that going bitperfect from my Android phone (LG G3) does not provide the same level of sound quality than going bitperfect from my notebook. But ... more factors can influence it, hence the second point:

2) I don't know really well usable audio USB cables for mobile devices (micro USB for Android). I don't consider cables costing mode than $100.

3) Onkyo HF Player does not provide upsampling algorithms and PCM to DSD conversion on a quality level, which could be comparable with HQPlayer. Higher quality algorithms require processing power, which is not available on mobile devices.

 

Simply said: I can play HiRes content from Onkyo HF Player, but I am not able to get the same sound quality from it as from my desktop system.

 

Onkyo HF Player with iFi Nano iDSD can be IMO suitable as easily transportable solution. But ... Win10 tablet with Foobar2000 may be yet better solution of this type.

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Yes, it's a bargain. I have installed Onkyo HF Player on Android, so I can compare it with other solutions.

 

You should be able to play HiRes content from HF Player, but from more audiophile point of view I see bottlenecks of such a solution:

1) The quality of USB transport from mobile device is for me questionable. I never read it here discussed, if USB transport quality from iDevices and typical Android devices matches USB outputs from typical PCs from audio point of view. My experience is, that going bitperfect from my Android phone (LG G3) does not provide the same level of sound quality than going bitperfect from my notebook. But ... more factors can influence it, hence the second point:

2) I don't know really well usable audio USB cables for mobile devices (micro USB for Android). I don't consider cables costing mode than $100.

3) Onkyo HF Player does not provide upsampling algorithms and PCM to DSD conversion on a quality level, which could be comparable with HQPlayer. Higher quality algorithms require processing power, which is not available on mobile devices.

 

Simply said: I can play HiRes content from Onkyo HF Player, but I am not able to get the same sound quality from it as from my desktop system.

 

Onkyo HF Player with iFi Nano iDSD can be IMO suitable as easily transportable solution. But ... Win10 tablet with Foobar2000 may be yet better solution of this type.

 

I wonder if the difference in quality between the portable solutions and using a PC is at least partly because of the quality of the cables.

 

For iDevices, I really wish Audioquest or similar would produce lightning to USB B for the iFi iDSD Nano, and lightning to USB micro for the Chord Hugo and Mojo. As far as I know the problem is that Apple won't allow that, and even the camera connection kit isn't officially supported for USB audio.

 

For Android devices there is a similar problem - I would like to not have to use a clunky OTG cable which then plugs into a plastic adapter - I would like a decent quality 10 cm USB micro to USB B cable for iFi and a USB micro to USB micro for Chord DACs.

 

I have a plastic adapter for my Hugo which takes a USB B plug and plugs into the USB micro port. But it feels to me as though it could destroy the Hugo USB socket at any time, and so I don't want to use it. I won't buy a Mojo until this particular problem has been sorted out. From the Head Fi discussions there is a guy in Latvia producing an unapproved cable which works and does what I want, but I'm unclear why Apple just can't get their act together and partner with a large cable company like Audioquest to do the job.

 

I'm not too bothered about upsampling really as I don't use HQ Player, and it would run the battery down.

 

I find the iFi iDSD with HF Playser gives me the best portable sound I've ever heard with something like the HD Tracks 'The New Apalacians' album at 24/192 that they were giving away recently - I was listening to it on a long bus ride as was simply amazed at how good it sounded on my e-Q5s.

System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

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  • 4 months later...

I have the payed (Key-Unlock) version of the Onkyo HF Player - and I found it as superb product, both in Sound Quality with the DSD real-time upsampling sound quality as a general SW-Quality (stability, straightforward design.)

 

I am using it on my NEXUS 7 (2013) with LHLabs Geek V2 Infinity DAC with OTG and a powered USB HUB, neither performance nor Battery consumption being an issue, despite CPU speed of 1.5GHz and not a required >2GHZ!

 

But a serious shortcoming for me is the EQ in DSD DOP mode doen not work (which is stated in the FAQ as an intended behaviour to avoid possible performance issues.)

 

While DSD conversion brings a marked audio quality implrovement for eg. CD quality source material (and MP3 formats), I need at least a high-shelf EQ desparately because of hearing loss in the >= 4kHz. So I have the choice between sacrificing the sound quality improvement either of the EQ or of the DSD conversion.

 

Bad enough, but even worse is that with DSD upconverting active EQ will be displayed as active while it does not funktioning, what is simply a buggy behaviour. (To display something as functional while being disabled is a heavy bug.)

 

While it would be most desirable to have a performance fix which would allow DSD DOP playback with EQ and cross fading, a workaround would be also of great value (eg. to apply a compromise, e.g. to disable high quality DSD conversion.)

 

Where can we best communicate about this with Onkyo?

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"For Android devices there is a similar problem - I would like to not have to use a clunky OTG cable which then plugs into a plastic adapter - I would like a decent quality 10 cm USB micro to USB B cable for iFi and a USB micro to USB micro for Chord DACs."

 

I use this cable. The mini end goes into the tablet and an AQ Dragonfly plugs in the standard size USB end. There's no adapter involved. Also, I'm not sure that this would work for you, but I put some velcro tape on the Dragonfly and the back of my tablet to hold everything in place.

 

https://www.radioshack.com/products/radioshack-12-micro-usb-on-the-go-cable?variant=5717184261

 

Also, download the trial version of Player Pro. (Not to be confused with USB Player Pro). I don't know if it will do everything you need, but it does have the best user interface of any player I've tried. Its very good for large library’s.

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Did Onkyo solve the problem of missing external sd card support for the Android app in the meantime?

 

 

They must have. The Onkyo player works fine on my Android tablet that has a 64gb micro sd card.

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  • 5 years later...

With my Realme and Nobles, Onkyo HF sounds better than Neutron.

Thanks for the tip, @Richard Dale

What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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