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DAC for iOS, Roon, headphones

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With the Audioquest DACs out of the picture, given their abysmal performance, one wonders where to turn for a DAC to attach to an iOS device to listen to Roon. I bought an SMSL Idea DAC for this purpose, and it sounds great, but I can seldom get it to work with Roon. It’s mostly silence or clicking. It works fine with all other apps, but Roon works in a different way. When I do get it to work Roon can send it audio up to 768Khz, but that is one time in a hundred.

 

Does anyone know of a DAC that works with Roon and iOS for headphone listening?

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I'd advice not trying to have Roon send inexpensive devices 768k. The bandwidth required is quite high, in the order of a few MB/sec and there wouldn't be any serious benefit.

 

What you haven't explained is under what circumstances you wish to use the device? Is it while walking around the house, or something else?

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@SMG did you try meridian explorer 2

why do you say audioquest is abysmal? i use both aq red and me 2 on my mac mini with sennheiser rs-195s and 598s sound great use aq red in my vehicles and it works great with tidal and qobuz and on mac with roon and a+3 for both sound is great

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On 10/2/2019 at 4:37 AM, bobbmd said:

@SMG

why do you say audioquest is abysmal?

Read mansr’s objective review of the Cobalt on this site. Bad performance at a high price.

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+1. 

23 hours ago, bobbmd said:

@SMG read it also but i have DF RED not COBALT and for me it was worth every penny

+1. I’m really happy with the Dragonfly Red driving my Beyer T90 when I’m traveling.  
 

And even Mansr‘s review doesn’t talk about “abysmal performance“, the Cobalt gets 4 stars. He’s just saying it is not worth the premium over the Red. 
 

And the Red gets tons of praise in pretty much every single review I’ve seen. 
 

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17 minutes ago, Musicophile said:

And even Mansr‘s review doesn’t talk about “abysmal performance“, the Cobalt gets 4 stars. He’s just saying it is not worth the premium over the Red. 

Chris didn't want me to make such judgements. That said, I wouldn't call the performance abysmal as such, even though it is apparently surpassed by the $9 Apple dongle.

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On 9/2/2019 at 5:55 AM, SMG said:

Does anyone know of a DAC that works with Roon and iOS for headphone listening?

 

Are you able to demo a Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC?

 

I've had it working fine with an iOS Roon endpoint, even PCM 768kHz.

 

Whether it works for you at 768k will be highly dependent on your WiFi network...

 

If you can do a home demo (like 30 day free trial) that would be ideal

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16 hours ago, mansr said:

Chris didn't want me to make such judgements. That said, I wouldn't call the performance abysmal as such, even though it is apparently surpassed by the $9 Apple dongle.

I've never done an A/B vs the Apple Dongle, will try it out and report back.

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10 minutes ago, mansr said:

The comments suggest that might be a knock-off. Probably better to get it directly from Apple:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MU7E2AM/A/usb-c-to-35-mm-headphone-jack-adapter

Thanks for the link. I have both my DF Red and the original Apple adapter. Will try to compare when I get a chance. 

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isn't the apple dongle if it is the camera connector kit mandatory to get AQDFRed to work in your vehicle and maybe this 9$ dongle is like the off market charger cable for iphone that can be used by hackers to steal your info

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22 minutes ago, bobbmd said:

isn't the apple dongle if it is the camera connector kit mandatory to get AQDFRed to work in your vehicle and maybe this 9$ dongle is like the off market charger cable for iphone that can be used by hackers to steal your info

You need the CCC for running the Red that’s correct. 
 

However the headphone Dongle is actually only transmitting the audio signal to a 2.5 headphone jack. 

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On 10/9/2019 at 5:53 PM, mansr said:

The comments suggest that might be a knock-off. Probably better to get it directly from Apple:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MU7E2AM/A/usb-c-to-35-mm-headphone-jack-adapter

So I just compared the Lightning to headphone (original Apple) vs Dragonfly Red and CCC on my IPad running Qobuz with some of my higher files. 
 

All this feeding my Beyer T90 headphones. 
 

And I‘m sorry but the results are not even close. Transparency and precision on the DF are much better. Now is this because of the DAC element of the Dragonfly or the integrated headphone op amp giving some more juice to drive the cans, no idea. 
 

But I really think at their price point and with their portability the Red is hard to beat.

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