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Do I need a External Powered DAC for Phone to Stereo ?

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Hi, wanting to know if I need a DAC with it's own power to go from a phone to a Stereo (Integrated Amp with RCA input).


Most of the small ones around $50 say they are for headphones and for going out from a PC sound card, so I'm not sure if one of those little DACs will get enough power from the phone to go to a stereo. I'm thinking there would be less power draw for a phone and DAC to give the signal to a stereo than to power headphones but I'm not sure how it all works. Will it drain the phone battery fast if it works without it's own power source ? I need a cheap/decent one to get by with for now.


Thank You

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Well there is the question over what do you define as "need"...


The simplest way to connect a phone to a stereo is to use a simple 3.5mm jack to 2x RCA cable from the headphone socket of a phone.


To upgrade the sound quality, you can look at adding a DAC. Many DACs will work with many phone ... but if you want specific recommendations then you need to tell us your Phone model. Some indication of the rest of your equipment and a budge would be helpful too.


The alternative is to utilise something like the Google ChromeCast Audio or Apple AirPort Express or Apple TV to connect wirelessly. Even bluetooth to a receiver can be effective.



...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Hi, thanks

I have an Exposure Integrated Amp with Royd Sintra Speakers.

Phone is a Moto G 3rf Gen which has USB OTG from what I've read.

I emailed HiFimeDIY about their Android DAC and they said it would work for a stereo with RCA inputs as well as headphones.

I'm looking to get a DAC for under $50 and a decent 3.5 mm to RCA Y Cable. It's just for casual use now.

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AFAIK any modern phone will output a line-level signal you can attach directly to your stereo. The phone's output level might be lower than other inputs and so you might have to turn your receiver/amp's volume up more when playing from the phone, that's not a problem, since most amp/stereo setups have plenty of headroom for higher volume.


The real issue, IMHO, is if an outboard DAC can improve on the sound quality. Recently there's been some surprising discussion here about how recent iPhone models' built-in DACs might be just as good as (maybe even better than) some of the lower-end or more affordable outboard DACs. But I don't know know what your Moto sounds like.


You can get a decent outboard DAC for about $150 if you want to experiment. But if you're just concerned with output power, I'd recommend you first try it direct from the phone's headphone output right into your stereo. You'll know pretty quickly if the sound is any good (I would listen for smoothness of midrange/lower treble; bass oomph and control; and soundstage size).

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