External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible? - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 09-23-2017   #1
 
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Default External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Hello, and nice to meet this community (this is my first post). I was looking into buying an Android head unit for my car, because I love the connectivity options and gadgets I could attach to the head unit. Also, I could use lots of Android apps and connect to the internet. My stock old Audi A4 can't even connect my phone through bluetooth properly.

As we all know, these head units have poor sound quality, and I was thinking to use a good quality external USB DAC to fix this issue. I would connect the DAC to the head unit through the USB port, and then, through the RCA cables, I would connect the DAC output back to the head unit input.

A regular android phone knows how to output digital audio signal through USB. Would this also work for my head unit. Did anybody try doing this?
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Old 09-23-2017   #2
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Yes people do it, certain usb DACs are android compatible however now all audio will be directed to tje DAC... Like Bluetooth.

I recommend looking on the xda forums and sticking to the brands joying and Whitson... Or Something like that.

It's amazing how well these cheep Chinese android integrate perfectly like stock in looks and functional and speed/power... Compared to the awful standard rectangles sold by the established head unit companies.
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Old 09-23-2017   #3
 
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

There is an Android music app that bypasses the factory Android dac and uses it's own dac. I'm sure someone can mention the name. For the life of me I can't think of it. Plenty of external dacs compatible with Android however. Not to expensive these days either
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Old 09-23-2017   #4
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Huh? Apps don't have DACs. A DAC is hardware, not software.

What are you referring to?

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Old 09-23-2017   #5
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

You can use Neutron Player App or USB Audio Player Pro... They play audio via USB.
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Old 09-24-2017   #6
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weightless View Post
Huh? Apps don't have DACs. A DAC is hardware, not software.

What are you referring to?

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He may be referring to soundabout where you can chose what output for each app
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Old 01-02-2018   #7
 
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

The Chinese Android units do not allow for what you are asking. The Rockchip and Allwinner chipsets are chip "SETS", meaning they have a DAC chip built into them and that's how the Chinese are designing these.

They haven't figured out how to entirely bypass the internal DAC which destroys your audio quality...EXCEPT the Joying Intel Sofia units. A few years back Intel was looking at making an acquisition (of Rockchip I believe) so they partnered with them and offered the Sofia chipset as an entree into the Android HU market. Unfortunately, that relationship quickly fizzled in 6 months (for reasons I do not know.)

There are some threads on XDA that detail how you can use a Sofia-based unit to extract a clean digital signal into an external USB device capable of hi-res audio. But those are Android 5.1 only and you will be limited to what apps are still functioning at 5.1 when the handset world is running at 7.0 and higher going forward. Some apps already do not work so the Android functionality is lost.

I do know this market...invested in it and traveled to Shenzhen multiple times to visit factories and establish sourcing relationships ("cooperation" as they refer to it in China.) Little problems continued to plague our product line. For example, we launched with a cheap BT 4.0 module for handsfree but in China they still drive with their handsets to their ear - no handsfree laws yet. So my design engineer cheaped out on BT design rather than going Parrot or aptX because why not he has no concept of what we do here in the USA even though I explained just how important this was.

We were as good as anything out there but audio-wise we were still garbage compared to Japanese OEMs. Our "Phase II" plan was to pursue the QCOM line and revolutionize the HU market with hi-res audio via BT, all optical, Android-based functionality with no boot delays, and a host of other upgrades. That would take the average company $10M and a 2-year development cycle to build but we could have for maybe $2M and done in 1 year. Sadly, I ran out of capital and my engineering resource in Shenzhen won some big OEM deals so we became a lower priority.
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Old 06-24-2018   #8
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

hello people,
So just to be clear, if I connect a USB dac (that supports Anderoid) to a 'Chinese HU' it won't play through it?

My specific issue is that I'll need a dac with 2in 6 out to do a normal car + sub(s) but I'm not sure how to control fade and balance, at the moment I believe it's using the analogue outputs from the HU which are probably not very good.

ideas welcome
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Old 07-30-2018   #9
 
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dunksalot View Post
The Chinese Android units do not allow for what you are asking. The Rockchip and Allwinner chipsets are chip "SETS", meaning they have a DAC chip built into them and that's how the Chinese are designing these.

They haven't figured out how to entirely bypass the internal DAC which destroys your audio quality...EXCEPT the Joying Intel Sofia units. A few years back Intel was looking at making an acquisition (of Rockchip I believe) so they partnered with them and offered the Sofia chipset as an entree into the Android HU market. Unfortunately, that relationship quickly fizzled in 6 months (for reasons I do not know.)

There are some threads on XDA that detail how you can use a Sofia-based unit to extract a clean digital signal into an external USB device capable of hi-res audio. But those are Android 5.1 only and you will be limited to what apps are still functioning at 5.1 when the handset world is running at 7.0 and higher going forward. Some apps already do not work so the Android functionality is lost.

I do know this market...invested in it and traveled to Shenzhen multiple times to visit factories and establish sourcing relationships ("cooperation" as they refer to it in China.) Little problems continued to plague our product line. For example, we launched with a cheap BT 4.0 module for handsfree but in China they still drive with their handsets to their ear - no handsfree laws yet. So my design engineer cheaped out on BT design rather than going Parrot or aptX because why not he has no concept of what we do here in the USA even though I explained just how important this was.

We were as good as anything out there but audio-wise we were still garbage compared to Japanese OEMs. Our "Phase II" plan was to pursue the QCOM line and revolutionize the HU market with hi-res audio via BT, all optical, Android-based functionality with no boot delays, and a host of other upgrades. That would take the average company $10M and a 2-year development cycle to build but we could have for maybe $2M and done in 1 year. Sadly, I ran out of capital and my engineering resource in Shenzhen won some big OEM deals so we became a lower priority.
I'm a little bit surprised because it works with a simple cheap Android 5.1 Tablet but don't with an android 6.0 HU. I really don't understand why a so simple thing doesn't work.

I heard that it is only a problem of sound drivers (modules) not included in kernel:
snd-hwdep.ko
snd-rawmidi.ko
snd-usbmidi-lib.ko
snd-usb-audio.ko

So for you it is really complicated to do and need a lot of R&D?

It is not only a problem of drivers?

Thanks
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Old 05-23-2019   #10
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Just pumping a thread what about a phoniex unit? I want to do a dac sense I'm feeding either my 3sixty.3 or bitten.

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Old 05-29-2019   #11
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Bump found an app called USB Audio Player Pro which stated it's configured to bypass the internal dac and use a external one.

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Old 05-31-2019   #12
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Default Re: External DAC on Android head unit, is it possible?

Bump

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