MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I know it's universally hated here, but I bought the Dragonfly Black a few years ago and it works good enough for my needs. I have some decent headphones myself but dislike using headphones overall, so I wasn't going to spend more than the $75 or so that the Black cost me. With a handful of USB adapters (like short right-angle cables for the phone or laptop), it works out well and I can tuck it all in the carrying case with the headphones.
I guess with an iPad like John is using that would require the CCK, or at least it does with a Lightning port iPad, not sure if the newer Type-C version requires such a dongle.

I've got the absolutely killer CEntrance HIFI-M8v2, but it ain't the least bit small. It does have it's own integral battery however, which removes the burden of powering the DAC from the device's own battery.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I guess with an iPad like John is using that would require the CCK, or at least it does with a Lightning port iPad, not sure if the newer Type-C version requires such a dongle.

I've got the absolutely killer CEntrance HIFI-M8v2, but it ain't the least bit small. It does have it's own integral battery however, which removes the burden of powering the DAC from the device's own battery.
I have the camera connector kit somewhere, as I used to run my iPad into a dac to stream Tidal directly from it. For whatever I was using I needed a powered USB hub, too... I think it all went into a USB- AES converter.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Both my phone and iPad are lightning ports. I do have an Apple lightning to 3.5mm dongle/adapter, I could try that. I'm open to trying anything decent, as I'm kind of bored with the big home stereo and this could be a cheaper distraction.
I don't know if the praise is only for the newer Type-C version, or if the previous Apple dongle was also equally well thought of, but I've definitely seen surprising amounts of praise for the Type-C version.

I have the original AKM equipped iBasso DC-02 dongle DAC, which I was pretty underwhelmed with, not expensive at $55 from Hong Kong but not too impressive either, other than it didn't chug-a-lug the device's battery.

Now due to the AKM fire, it has been discontinued and reissued as the iBasso DC03 with Cirrus Logic CS43131 Master Hi-Fi DAC chipset. There are also a ton of cheaper Chinese knock-off type dongle DACs, some of which might be pretty good, as with the Apple dongle.

Perhaps worth some consideration to enhance the Qobuz experience on a portable device, the tracks can be played at their native sample rates with the right app.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Seems like the Lightning - 3.5 adaptor has a bit of a resolution shelf. I don't think the 3.5 jack on the ipad does?
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Seems like the Lightning - 3.5 adaptor has a bit of a resolution shelf. I don't think the 3.5 jack on the ipad does?
The 3.5mm jack also does have a limit, the iPad itself will resample everything to 24/48 if I'm not mistaken, though that is going to be at least somewhat dependent on the exact vintage, early models might have actually been 16/48 if memory serves, however subsequent versions of iOS may have changed that, and maybe now it is higher than 24/48 with the newest iPads.

This is actually one area that Android may have an edge, unless there is an iOS app that I'm unaware of, but with Android you also face automatic resampling to the device's native sample rate unless using an app that bypasses the Android audio stack with it's own custom driver.

The one that works best for Android is UAPP, however I think Neutron also now offers the same. I hated Neutron when I tried it some years ago, but I know many folks have stated it's been improved.

I think there is an iOS version of Neutron, but the whole question is whether or not it has any Qobuz integration, and if it doesn't, which iOS app does?

UAPP is also great because it shows you in the UI the sample rate of the track being played, and also the sample rate the connected DAC is operating at, so you can confirm what's what. Other apps don't necessarily do that and so you'd need a DAC with a sample rate indicator of its own, i.e. the different colored LED on an iFi iDSD nano for example, it glows a different color for different sample rates, so you know if there is any resampling going on with any given app.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I have a 1st Gen iPad Pro 12.9", which has pretty decent sound quality but I don't know the actual resolution of it. I can't find much on it except from Ken Rockwell who... I'll just say he's not my most trusted dude with cameras so I don't know that I'll listen to him for audio. He gives my ipad high marks for audio quality though - without saying anything about actual output resolution.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Seems that it might only output 24/96 over Coax from the BlueSound Vault2 to my DAC. I wasn't getting 24/192 and that seems to be an experience others have had when outputting over COAX. If I felt like looking for my dongle that allowed me to use anything other than USB-C out of my #)*@))*@)*) laptop I'd run it straight from my laptop. Either way it sounds really good and I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference on these headphones (the LCD-2s which I'm not the worlds biggest fan of.. 'bit too warm and rounded off for me).
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I have a 1st Gen iPad Pro 12.9", which has pretty decent sound quality but I don't know the actual resolution of it. I can't find much on it except from Ken Rockwell who... I'll just say he's not my most trusted dude with cameras so I don't know that I'll listen to him for audio. He gives my ipad high marks for audio quality though - without saying anything about actual output resolution.
I took a look and for iOS it appears mconnect HD is your best bet to get Qobuz at up to 24/192 from the iPad Pro, but that would assume your Lightning → 3.5mm adapter is capable of that like some others are.

The iPad itself will want to resample everything at 24/48, but the mconnect HD app should get around that for $5.99 with a suitable DAC dongle. This Qobuz article suggests that the Apple Lightning → 3.5mm adapter dongle is fully compatible, though many had unfortunately bought fakes, and even Amazon was selling fakes at one point (though probably unknowingly).

I can vouch for mconnect HD on both Android and iOS, but I don't have that Apple dongle to test. The Qobuz article doesn't mention the need for mconnect HD but I believe that is an omission on their part, the iPad will output 24/48 using the native Qobuz app to the best of my knowledge.

You can test that aspect if you have the Lightning CCK, and a DAC such as the D70 with a sample rate indicator, then you'd know for sure what the iPad will output. I'd skip that test and just buy mconnect HD for $5.99 instead.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I took a look and for iOS it appears mconnect HD is your best bet to get Qobuz at up to 24/192 from the iPad Pro, but that would assume your Lightning → 3.5mm adapter is capable of that like some others are.

The iPad itself will want to sample everything at 24/48, but the mconnect HD app should get around that for $5.99 with a suitable DAC dongle. This Qobuz article suggests that the Apple Lightning → 3.5mm adapter dongle is fully compatible, though many had unfortunately bought fakes, and even Amazon was selling fakes at one point (though probably unknowingly).

I can vouch for mconnect HD on both Android and iOS, but I don't have that Apple dongle to test.
Thanks for all of the info. Yes I think everything has been at 24/48 but sounds excellent. I bought my dongle in an airport it should be legit, if I can find it I’ll give it a go!
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for all of the info. Yes I think everything has been at 24/48 but sounds excellent. I bought my dongle in an airport it should be legit, if I can find it I’ll give it a go!
Should be pretty good by all accounts, however I have no idea if the 2 x 35mW is enough to drive your Audeze LCD-2.

I think the resampling to 48kHz should sound fine as you've described except for possibly tracks at the 44.1kHz sample rate and it's multiples. The ones and zeros crowd like to say that also poses no issue at all, but I don't think it's quite that simple a slam dunk. Besides, why wonder at all when mconnect HD sets you back $5.99 and takes away that guess work? You're then playing everything at it's native sample rate which to my ears sounds better than cheap hardware-based SRC.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Should be really good by all accounts, that Qobuz article lists the dynamic range spec as 114dB, which is not too shabby, however I have no idea if the 2 x 35mW is enough to drive your Audeze LCD-2.

I think the resampling to 48kHz should sound fine as you've described except for possibly tracks at the 44.1kHz sample rate and it's multiples. The ones and zeros crowd like to say that also poses no issue at all, but I don't think it's quite that simple a slam dunk. Besides, why wonder at all when mconnect HD sets you back $5.99 and takes away that guess work? You're then playing everything at it's native sample rate which to my ears sounds better than cheap hardware-based SRC.
Mconnect works well though I don’t know how to tell what resolution I’m hearing other than what it says it’s playing, which doesn’t change whether I have the lightning -3.5 dongle in or not. Sounds good but I’m not using the best headphones- good but not amazing Pioneer IEMs. Better ones on the way.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Mconnect works well though I don’t know how to tell what resolution I’m hearing other than what it says it’s playing, which doesn’t change whether I have the lightning -3.5 dongle in or not. Sounds good but I’m not using the best headphones- good but not amazing Pioneer IEMs. Better ones on the way.
So still the only app that shows both the input file resolution and the output/DAC resolution is UAPP on Android.

If you have the Lightning CCK and a DAC such as the D70 handy, that should put it to rest, the DAC's sample rate display should match what the app is saying.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
So still the only app that shows both the input file resolution and the output/DAC resolution is UAPP on Android.

If you have the Lightning CCK and a DAC such as the D70 handy, that should put it to rest, the DAC's sample rate display should match what the app is saying.
Archimago ran tests on the Lightning to 3.5 dongle and it appears to be only capable of 24/48, and was otherwise similar if not worse than the headphone out of the last iPhone to have such a luxury. I’ll track down my CCK, though I think it’s in storage.

My quick back and forth didn’t reveal much audible difference between the dongle and the headphone out on my iPad. Still sounds good though.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Archimago ran tests on the Lightning to 3.5 dongle and it appears to be only capable of 24/48, and was otherwise similar if not worse than the headphone out of the last iPhone to have such a luxury. I’ll track down my CCK, though I think it’s in storage.

My quick back and forth didn’t reveal much audible difference between the dongle and the headphone out on my iPad. Still sounds good though.
So I guess the author of the Qobuz article was just assuming that because the Cirrus Logic chipset in use is 24/192 capable, that the Apple dongle itself must also be. Or maybe he just thought because a 24/192 track actually plays, that it must be playing at the native sample rate, which Archimago's test shows is simply not the case.

Archimago also states he is using the superb Onkyo HF Player app, which does preserve track sample rates, whereas the screenshots in the Qobuz article show they are using their own app, which to the best of my knowledge only operates at the device's native sample rate.

Certainly it is that way on Android, when using the Qobuz app any/all tracks playback at the native sample rate of the device, for example 24/96 for my Galaxy S7, and 24/192 for my Moto X Pure. The only way to bypass the resampling to the device's native sample rate is to use an app with a custom driver such as mconnect HD, UAPP, or Neutron. I can't imagine iOS is any different. All of which means Apple had no reason to make that dongle work at anything greater than 24/48, as that is the device and iOS native sample rate.

If you can find your CCK and connect to a DAC with a sample rate indicator, I'm sure you'll be able to confirm the same, use of the mconnect HD app to play Qobuz should result in the tracks being played at their native sample rates, but use of the Qobuz app will result in all tracks being played at 24/48.
 
Top