USB DAC Support?

Discussion in 'Acer Iconia Tab A500 Forum' started by browser, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. browser

    browser Member

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    I was wondering if anyone could figure out how to hook up a USB DAC (digital audio converter) to the Iconia. I have tried both a FiiO e10 and Hifiman HM-101. Both are recognized, but I get no sound input.
     
  2. Icebike

    Icebike Senior Member

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    I didn't think the Acer puts sound out on the USB port. (And by the way, DAC stands for Digital to ANALOG converter).

    If you need Analog to drive speakers and such, Get that from the headphones port. Its already Analog, requiring no conversion.

    If you want to send sound into the Acer, put it in thru the mic port (again analog) or send it in as a file.
     
  3. browser

    browser Member

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    The purpose for me using a DAC is to bypass the Acer's built in amplifer/DAC when using headphones, to get higher quality audio. I know the iPad supports some DACs using the USB camera connection, so hopefully someone comes out with a driver to support USB DACs.

    And I know what DAC stands for, I was just describing it.
     
  4. Icebike

    Icebike Senior Member

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    Never the less, I still have seen no indication that digital sound is routed to the USB port.

    That leaves the HDMI port (which, as you know, was designed for digital Video AND AUDIO), and the Bluetooth radio.

    The digital audio available in the HDMI interface is in LPCM format (which is not passed thru the tablet amplifier).

    It depends on where you are going with this audio signal.

    You mention headphones, and an attempt to get higher audio quality, but as far as I can tell the
    audio out (as long as you turn off Dolby) is as clean and crisp as you are likely to get.

    In this power range, sound chiips are usually flat (that is non-distorting thru their entire range). This is easy when the
    the power requirements can be met by the media chipset without a separate power amp stage.

    You have to get to analog somewhere along the line to use any headphones. Buy some quality headphones
    and plug them in, and turn off Dolby. You might be surprised. Maybe it won't get loud enough for you, worst case.

    If going to your Stereo system, HDMI output will deliver digital audio, which you can run thru any number of components
    to get the sound and volume you want.
     
  5. Douvie

    Douvie Senior Member

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    There may be some rudimentary support but I haven't come across this. This leads me to another question, why? If you're into high quality sound, though the A500's speaker sound quality is excellent, the average PC would not comply either. Specialized audio equipment is the way to go. Just like 3D modeling and rendering and animation require a powerful workhorse PC ( i7 985 or i7 2600k or top Xeon CPU) I'd expect it would be the same will audio pros. A500 would not be powerful enough for that sort pro app - nor iPad for that matter.
    And gaming PC would not cut it either.
     
  6. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    I would rather it provide both input and output from professional sources, things like balanced microphone and line level, maybe provide phantom power to microphones. Of course then you would also need it to record uncompressed wave files. But you might also be able to get an application that would allow you to stream to something like a Shoutcast server for distribution, or maybe connect to a dedicated codec for connections to a studio for live events.

    All that said I haven't searched for a professional audio device for Android, I do know that there are a few high end codecs that snap onto an iPhone for connection back to a studio codec. Comrex has one and I can't remember the other that I've seen.
     
  7. Icebike

    Icebike Senior Member

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    Dude :
    You paid $450 for a general purpose tablet and now you want it to handle professional interfaces for recording and playback???

    How much did you have to pay for that crack you are smoking?
     
  8. jetblackstar

    jetblackstar Member

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    Oldish thread but I just had to jump to the OP's defence here.

    It's not an insane idea, its a very reasonable one. Its not demanding for the device's design. If you understood what the USB DAC/Headphone Amp devices they'd listed are designed to do and how they improve audio quality.

    The FiiO e10 and Hifiman HM-101 are mid to low range USB DAC headphone amps with a portable form factor. Although the e10 isn't designed for mp3 players more laptops it's brothers and sisters are. Their job in the audio world is to userp the devices in build audio system and replace it with better quality amplification. Partly for higher impedance headphones but it in general vastly improves audio quality. Even if you use headphone amps for line out amplification which you can already do with this tablet, it can massively improve your high fidelity listening.

    Anyway. For most portable devices it's done via the standard audio out headphone jack, some have special Line out interfaces (no volume control and cleaner more direct audio signal) which you can buy cables for. The Amp takes this and does the amplification for the headphones itself. This isn't skipping the DAC part of the android device yet but still helps lots. If you have a USB DAC Amp then it acts as a super simple single output sound card, skipping out the electrically noisy and kinda crappy sound systems build inside laptops and PCs. (Lota EM interfearance inside cases, fans, charging, etc). If you have a good DAC you can massively improve your listening quality. While the android tablet will be lower electrical noise and cleaner environment thus producing a better audio quality, it wont put a candle to what you can do with a better DAC and amp. Personally I'm a fan of the iBasso portable DAC amp products, D-Zero is tiny, and the D2+ Boa is very popular for good reason. They do weigh in at $80 and $120, some might call us audiophiles batty for spending this on just a bit better audio..but we love it and honestly, compared to what an enthusiastic audiophile will spend that's peanuts.

    If we can get android to, in USB host fashion, recognise the DAC and have usb-sound drivers included in the android Kernel we can get some outstanding quality out of almost any android device. The digital audio data will stream un messed with to the DAC and it will do its thing and make some pretty headphones sing better than any iPod ;)

    Anyone interested see the very clear post by a fella pushing for USB audio support in android. Enable USB audio - Android Forums

    Anyway, my two cents.
    Short answer OP is no, not yet. But there are some fiddles coming through and perhaps one day yes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  9. Douvie

    Douvie Senior Member

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    Jet,

    You have laboured your point. Icebike is right though a tablet is a general purpose device. I would like the tablet to do 3D design and rendering, hook up to my telescope for star gazing, use as a diagnostic tool (ie oscilloscope), A to D conversion of video and audio clips, and etc. All professionally. Anything else just doesn't cut the mustard. There are limitations and we have to accept that is the way it is.

    We all can dream but that is not reality. Even the iPad can't measure up.
     
  10. salnayil

    salnayil Member

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    Correct, it is a general purpose device. All that is being asked is that the Xoom host the music files. The actual processing of the files would be done by other devices. All this was explained by multiple posts. Asking for a Line Out is in no way asking for their tablet to be some high end system. Easy question.And yes the iPad, iPhone and iPod do have LOD'/s so it would do what was being asked by the OP. I would also like to see this in Android, but they are missing the boat on this one so far.
     
  11. Douvie

    Douvie Senior Member

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    I suppose you may say that Apple's iproducts can handle a superior quality sound. But we are all forgetting that Android may, and I say again may, support DAC through the USB. I haven't found any doc to either way on this issue.

    But all said and done, iPad,....,...., and Tablets remain general purpose equipment. There will be some manufacturer who will produce a high end sound device in tablet/iPad form and will probably cost the earth to buy. I know a few sound jocks who have paid many thousands for their sound equipment. The only use they have to their tablets/I pads is to control the song list and various other nicknacks that they have. They would not jepodize their music quality buy using a general purpose device - they would rather spend the money on a specific purpose device.

    Put a scope on the output and you will see what is really being produced - the human ear can be very forgiving to poor sound quality.
     

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