Bluetooth and DAC

Splatt

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Nov 7, 2023
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I'm hoping for some advice regarding whether a DAC would be useful. I have a high-end system, and use my Samsung S21 phone to send music over bluetooth to a Bludento receiver. This is then connected to my Quad preamp which then connects through my Quad 606 amp to the speakers , which are Quad ESL 998. The music sounds very good, but I'm always trying to find ways to enhance the experience. I have read some articles on DACs, but am not certain if it is possible, or beneficial to use one with my set up, particulary with regard to the smart phone and the bluetooth receiver. Any comments/advice would be very much appreciated. Cheers, Simon
 

twinkletoes

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Nov 16, 2021
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welcome,

Bluetooth is really not the "best" and has it limitations

A simple USB cable from your phone into a good quality dac will make quite a notable difference. The Dac doesn't need to be silly money. I used a dragonfly connected to a phone into my hifi for the longest time. There about 100quid I think (well they used to be)

Then you have brands such as topping, SML and and schitt mani all very affordable.

If you want a one box solution (streaming and DAC capabilities ) a blue sound node X would be a nice place to start.

and there are plenty of bargains to be had on eBay.
 

Splatt

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Nov 7, 2023
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Thanks for the above two comments. Certainly both will give me food for thought. Cheers, Simon
 

Vincent Kars

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Bluetooth is lossy compression. The mandatory SBC codec runs at 328 kbs. As a reference CD quality equals 1411 kbs. You might have a look at streaming solutions using the WiFi or Ethernet.
Maybe a WiiM and (if you want to improve on its analog out) a DAC will do.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Thanks for the above two comments. Certainly both will give me food for thought. Cheers, Simon
The essential difference between what you are currently doing as opposed to typical Hifi streaming is this:-

With Bluetooth, your phone is handling all the replay of the music (whether from a source like Spotify or from its own storage) then sending that music to the receiver. As Vincent explained above that is at a relatively low quality.

With streaming, your phone only acts as a remote control to the streamer, telling it where to look and what to play. But the streamer (which is essentially a customised computer specifically for music) does the heavy lifting. And it does that without worrying about phone calls, emails, alerts, diary reminders etc that otherwise occupies your phone. So it sounds better!

Your system deserves a streamer, even if you start with something modest.
 

Splatt

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Nov 7, 2023
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An update, and hopefully some advice, please.

I've bought a Topping D10 DAC. Because it doesn't have it's own power supply I've also bought a usb splitter. I cannot get it to work with my android (Samsung S20), but it does work with my laptop.

Does anyone know, or have any suggestions of how to get it to work with the android?

Cheers.
 

Vincent Kars

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I can get my DAC to work using the Samsung supplied USB-C - USB A adapter.
Probably because the adapter is OTG. This triggers the mobile to go into USB host mode instead of accessory mode. Only in host mode it will recognize the DAC.
Maybe a product like this will do the job.
 
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Splatt

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Thanks Vincent. Pardon my lack of tech knowledge (I was born in an analogue age!), could you recommend an OTG adaptor? Thanks, Simon
 

Vincent Kars

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Depends on your needs. Do you use USB-C to USB-B? If so, click on the "this" in my previous post.
If you use a USB-A to USB-B cable, try any USB-C to A adapter.
 

Splatt

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It's C to B, but the Topping is A. Because there is no power source with the Topping I bought a splitter which also has a power connection. I take it the OTG would just connect into the splitter? I store my music on the android, all FLAC files. My intention is to buy at the cheaper end to see if it works, then upgrade later.
 

Splatt

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You're right, it's a B!

Thanks for the help. The website is a wealth of information. Thanks for sharing that as well. It;s got me thinking about the WiiM as well.
 

Splatt

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Help, again!! I bought a dac (Topping) and used cables to connect my android. Sounded pretty good, especially the bass definition. However, having wires trailing across the room, and the fact I couldn't charge my phone when connected to music (even with a splitter) made me decide to get a Wiim Pro plus. Having set it all up, I have to say the sound is not as good. It all feels very flat without bass and treble definition. Is this to be expected, or should I be doing something with it that I don't know? Thanks, Simon
 

Gray

Well-known member
Help, again!! I bought a dac (Topping) and used cables to connect my android. Sounded pretty good, especially the bass definition. However, having wires trailing across the room, and the fact I couldn't charge my phone when connected to music (even with a splitter) made me decide to get a Wiim Pro plus. Having set it all up, I have to say the sound is not as good. It all feels very flat without bass and treble definition. Is this to be expected, or should I be doing something with it that I don't know? Thanks, Simon
Which output of the Pro Plus are you using?
And, presumably you're putting the same FLAC files into it.
 

Splatt

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The line out, using the same cables as I used for the Topping, and the same flac files. I've now reconnected the Topping, and, being to make an immediate comparison, it sounds far, far better than the Wiim. And that is with using pretty bog-standard usb extensions and connections.

Since I wrote the post above, I've also experienced music cutting out, forwarding to the next track, and disconnecting completely when using Wiim. I'm sure it should be better than this, especially bearing in mind the excellent reviews.
 

DCarmi

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I have a Wiim mini and a pro and they have proved to have reliable performance.

You could connect the pro plus to your topping via optical cable. That would seem a bit of waste of a pro plus but you should get the sound you need. The Wiim should be bit perfect unlike your S20, so the stream from the Wiim is unprocessed.
 

Splatt

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Thanks, DCarmi. The problem with that is that the Topping is powered by the Samsung through the same input usb, it doesn't have an independent power supply.
 

Gray

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Thanks, DCarmi. The problem with that is that the Topping is powered by the Samsung through the same input usb, it doesn't have an independent power supply.
I think there's just a bit of confusion.
The suggestion from DCarmi above was for you to use the Topping DAC to bypass the one in the Wiim....but to be using the Wiim as the streamer.
(Not the phone as the source of the streams).

The sound difference you describe, seems to be due to comparing the output of the Topping DAC with the analogue output of the Wiim - a difference there would be expected - if not perhaps, as great as the one you're getting.

Are the FLAC files only stored on your phone?
If so, how are they getting to the Wiim from the phone?
(Hopefully not via Bluetooth).
 
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Splatt

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That was my understanding of what DCarmi was saying. Because the Topping needs the power from the phone it's not possible to use both together (if I bypass the Wiim DAC by connecting the Topping it will not have a power source). The flac files are on the phone and are streamed through my wifi. The Wiim is powered by it's own supply.

Before I started looking at the way I streamed music I did use bluetooth, and the quality of that was better than the Wiim. The Topping DAC is undoubtedly far superior. I guess there is something amiss with the Wiim, as i can't believe it is worse than bluetooth!
 

Gray

Well-known member
Because the Topping needs the power from the phone it's not possible to use both together (if I bypass the Wiim DAC by connecting the Topping it will not have a power source).
In the example you've given there, the Topping was acting as the DAC for your phone.
It was getting power and data from the phone.

But using the Topping DAC instead of the DAC in the Wiim - needs no power from the phone.

So:
1) The phone, with your music, is self powered and not connected by wire to anything.

2) The Topping DAC will have its own separate PSU.

3) A digital output from the Wiim Pro Plus connects to a digital input on the Topping DAC.

4) The analogue L & R outputs from the DAC then connect to an aux line input on your amp.

5) Wiim gets your phone's music over wi-fi and plays it via Topping.

Then, there's no reason why the Wiim via Topping should sound any different to the phone via Topping that you previously had.
 
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DCarmi

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I've just looked at the specs for the Topping 10 and it's basically aimed at the PC market the only input being it USB-B which both powers and takes signal, unless I'm much mistaken.

To get the best out of the Wiim you need to stream wirelessly from the phone.

Look at Android software such as VLC, BubbleUPNP, Poweramp etc.

Android will downgrade the flac files over USB, by default.

So connect the Wiim to your amp, install e.g. VLC and stream the audio direct to the Wiim.
 

Splatt

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Nov 7, 2023
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Thank you. If I'm understanding this correctly, bypass my preamp (the Wiim acts as a preamp) and connect directly into the amp? I'll give that a go, although that means I won't be able to play my CDs unless I reconnect the preamp each time I want to use them. The vast majority of my music is on the phone in FLAC files. Thanks, I'll post how I get on.
 

Splatt

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Nov 7, 2023
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BINGO!!! That sorted it, thank you so much. I now have a Topping 10 DAC, BluDento BLT-HD bluetooth receiver, and a Quad Elite preamp for sale if anyone's interested.
 
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