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Using iFi for hi-res playback on tablet


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Hi, 

I have an iFi iDSD nano (discontinued original version) and am trying to get it to play back audio from my new tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e. First of all is the on-board DAC decent? I think I was able to get the iFi to play PCM & DSD audio from my phone LG V30+ when I tested it years ago. But that's almost pointless as the phone has an excellent DAC and decent headphone amp.

 

This new tablet doesn't seem to recognize the iFi when connected. It's a kludge-y setup, with a micro USB to USB C adapter, then a micro USB OTG cable, then the iFi. But again, I think this setup worked on my phone. Although I didn't buy the tablet to listen to audio, there are times when it would be really convenient to do so. I popped a 128GB card into it so besides movies, it would be nice to have some of my SACD tracks handy too. 

 

I'm not sure if I'm posting to the correct area, or if there is talk of portable rigs on this forum. I'm usually watching & participating in the SACD ripping thread. 

 

Cheers,

-Charlie

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I don’t think that OTG will power the iFi adequately from the tablet.  To use the internal battery in the iFi, you have to turn it on before connecting it. And if you haven’t used it in a while, the battery may be dead. Plug it into a computer and let it charge fully before doing anything else. Then be sure you turn it on before connecting it to the tablet.  
 

If that doesn’t work, I’m out of ideas.

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23 hours ago, bobbmd said:

Isnt playing hires on a tablet an oxymoron?

A tablet is a mini system.  There’s internal memory or an SD card to store the files, a player app to transform them into an audio bitstream, a DAC and a headphone amp.  Until you get to the DAC, it’s no different from NAS and a PC, as long as the player software will recognize and process hi res files.  If you can bypass the internal DAC in favor of a good external unit, voilà!  Hi res from a tablet.

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On 9/26/2020 at 10:59 AM, bluesman said:

Until you get to the DAC, it’s no different from NAS and a PC, as long as the player software will recognize and process hi res files.  If you can bypass the internal DAC in favor of a good external unit, voilà!  Hi res from a tablet.

Yup, that's my hope. The battery did seem to be dead so I'll try again. I have a USB C dongle with charging port I can also try. The charging port is meant to pass through to the tablet but still trying another OTG adapter couldn't hurt, right? 

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1 hour ago, chichaz said:

Yup, that's my hope. The battery did seem to be dead so I'll try again. I have a USB C dongle with charging port I can also try. The charging port is meant to pass through to the tablet but still trying another OTG adapter couldn't hurt, right? 

Charge the iFi from a computer or a proper PS.  I also have a nano DSD, and the manual suggests (but does not clearly state) that you can connect it to a standard 5V USB charger. The LED should be blue while charging.

 

Once it’s fully charged, turn it on before connecting it to the tablet.  OTG was necessary on older models, but I don’t know if your tablet requires one.  The iFi manual says yes, but I think it was written well before your tablet came to market.

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On 9/28/2020 at 11:57 AM, bluesman said:

Charge the iFi from a computer or a proper PS.  I also have a nano DSD, and the manual suggests (but does not clearly state) that you can connect it to a standard 5V USB charger. The LED should be blue while charging.

I tried my other USB C adapter, and approached this again with a little more patience last night. After a few seconds, it played music from every app I tried - Google Play Music (in its last days), Hi-Fi Cast, Spotify, Foobar, etc. They all played PCM but none played DSD. I tried Onkyo HF player, but that was an exercise in frustration: You can't even try it without buying it. Then I found & re-remembered Neutron. That did it! You can customize things like dither, latency, DoP, 'Direct USB Access" for switching between PCM & DSD tracks, etc. Once I get accustomed to the UI I'll be all set. 

 

To get DSD audio playing from this sweet little tablet is most rewarding! Thanks for your help, @bluesman!

Neutron (Eval).jpg

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