Best USB-C DAC Dongle ?

DigitalDreams

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Currently enjoying very high quality 24bit 2410 Kbps FLAC files via my Samsung Galaxy S10+, Poweramp app and Soundmagic EllC wired earbuds. The sound is exciting, clear, noise free and rich. It can send shivers through my spine with tingling bells. The rich bass is good too (yet not quite as deep as my old four speaker JVC HA-SZ2000 LiveBeat headphones).

Now the dilemma. Mobile phone upgrade time (probably S23 Ultra), headphone sockets have sadly gone. Hence I'm forced down the external DAC route and prefer the dongles to stand alone amps for portabilty. First searches reveal the Dragonfly Cobalt and Helm Audio Bolt as the front runners for quality and ability to drive larger headphones ?. The latter preferred due to its usb-c connector and short cable to help avoid USB socket damage if knocked.

Thoughts ?, what is the best USB-C DAC dongle ?, any issues in real use ?, will Android Poweramp still work really well and give full control with pre-amp, graphic equalizer etc ?. Can I achieve the same audio quality or exceed it ??. I've also heard of some recommending a USB-C filter to help cut out supply line noise (especially if charging while listening) ?

HELP ! (knowledgeable/admin replies only please)
 
Currently enjoying very high quality 24bit 2410 Kbps FLAC files via my Samsung Galaxy S10+, Poweramp app and Soundmagic EllC wired earbuds. The sound is exciting, clear, noise free and rich. It can send shivers through my spine with tingling bells. The rich bass is good too (yet not quite as deep as my old four speaker JVC HA-SZ2000 LiveBeat headphones).

Now the dilemma. Mobile phone upgrade time (probably S23 Ultra), headphone sockets have sadly gone. Hence I'm forced down the external DAC route and prefer the dongles to stand alone amps for portabilty. First searches reveal the Dragonfly Cobalt and Helm Audio Bolt as the front runners for quality and ability to drive larger headphones ?. The latter preferred due to its usb-c connector and short cable to help avoid USB socket damage if knocked.

Thoughts ?, what is the best USB-C DAC dongle ?, any issues in real use ?, will Android Poweramp still work really well and give full control with pre-amp, graphic equalizer etc ?. Can I achieve the same audio quality or exceed it ??. I've also heard of some recommending a USB-C filter to help cut out supply line noise (especially if charging while listening) ?

HELP ! (knowledgeable/admin replies only please)
Welcome to the forum.
Unfortunately, once you have posted, you cannot specify exactly who can reply....
 
Currently enjoying very high quality 24bit 2410 Kbps FLAC files via my Samsung Galaxy S10+, Poweramp app and Soundmagic EllC wired earbuds. The sound is exciting, clear, noise free and rich. It can send shivers through my spine with tingling bells. The rich bass is good too (yet not quite as deep as my old four speaker JVC HA-SZ2000 LiveBeat headphones).

Now the dilemma. Mobile phone upgrade time (probably S23 Ultra), headphone sockets have sadly gone. Hence I'm forced down the external DAC route and prefer the dongles to stand alone amps for portabilty. First searches reveal the Dragonfly Cobalt and Helm Audio Bolt as the front runners for quality and ability to drive larger headphones ?. The latter preferred due to its usb-c connector and short cable to help avoid USB socket damage if knocked.

Thoughts ?, what is the best USB-C DAC dongle ?, any issues in real use ?, will Android Poweramp still work really well and give full control with pre-amp, graphic equalizer etc ?. Can I achieve the same audio quality or exceed it ??. I've also heard of some recommending a USB-C filter to help cut out supply line noise (especially if charging while listening) ?

HELP ! (knowledgeable/admin replies only please)
The iFi Audio GO Link comes well recommended and is cheaper than the Helm Bolt
 

DCarmi

Well-known member
Bluetooth LDAC was subsumed into Android so, in theory, all recent Android phones have that codec. This does include the S23 Ultra, though I think you may have to turn it on in the developer settings. But this is not what you asked.

If you want to go the DAC route, The Ifi Go Link, which is fairly cheap and very portable and does 32bit/384kHz and drive the E11Cs just fine. I'd start there and then look to upgrade if you feel the need.

I'd probably look to compare the Ifi Go Link with a more expensive device to see what benefit you might get, for your outlay. I suspect you won't unless you upgrade the IEMs to something a bit bigger and more demanding.

Poweramp, which I do use, will be fine with whatever you connect to the USB-C port or wirelessly via Bluetooth or Chromecast. This includes the equaliser.
 

Timbot

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I borrowed a relatives Dragonfly Red a while back. It made a lovely job of the music library on my phone. I used USB Audio Player Pro as the app on my phone and it worked a treat. Doesn't half hammer your phone battery though!
 

singularity6

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Anker makes a good one, if you don't need any extra power. The Fosi Audio DS1 is a pretty solid choice, and you can get it for like $60 new on Amazon (it can drive most common headphones, even if they're higher impedance.)
 

RobSys

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Poweramp, which I do use, will be fine with whatever you connect to the USB-C port or wirelessly via Bluetooth or Chromecast. This includes the equaliser.
A great alternative to Poweramp is Neutron (by Neutron Code)! It has an endless list of adjustments for the player as well as for the hardware (DAP, phone, etc.) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.neutroncode.mp&hl=en

Having used many, many music players over the years, this is i=by far the best I've come across...
 

Timbot

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Just a note of caution...

I found out the hard way that from the S21 onwards Samsung phones have no expandable storage options. My S20FE had a Micro SD card slot built into it but after my 5 year old dropped it I went for an S21 FE. It didn't advertise that it had a Micro SD slot when I went back and checked the specs but it didn't also advertise that it didn't. Just thought I'd mention in case you want to store all your music files on Micro SD rather than the phone... or you may wish to get the version with more memory. Your current S10+ will, of course, have this option at the moment.
 
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SteveR750

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Just a note of caution...

I found out the hard way that from the S21 onwards Samsung phones have no expandable storage options. My S20FE had a Micro SD card slot built into it but after my 5 year old dropped it I went for an S21 FE. It didn't advertise that it had a Micro SD slot when I went back and checked the specs but it didn't also advertise that it didn't. Just thought I'd mention in case you want to store all your music files on Micro SD rather than the phone... or you may wish to get the version with more memory. Your current S10+ will, of course, have this option at the moment.
I've just upgraded from my LG V50 (an audio oriented phone if ever there was one) to an S23 Ultra, and had to get the 512Gb version for that reason. Adding to the list of good quality cheap dongles I've just bought a Truthear Shio. Will be interesting if it's as or more capable than the V50. As always I use UAPP as my music player.
 

Rodolfo

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That is quite an impressive device: Enjoy your new phone! I've kept an LG V30 as a backup dedicated music player (Also have one or two larger V20s stored -last to have a replaceable battery). I still need SD-card expansion and audio jack. It'll be interesting to read how well your S23/Shio/UAPP works for/compares to you -both usage- and sound-wise.
 

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