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Crackling with USB DAC


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Hello,

I'm currently using a FiiO Q1 USB DAC with my Moto G 3rd gen (Android 6.0.1) and I've been experiencing some cracking on some files I have, mostly flac, with Poweramp alpha-build-703-play.

This happens with both the AudioTrack Output and Hi-Res Output. OpenSL ES Output seems fine, but volume output is way lower and it's limited to 16bits/48kHz, so why bother... It doesn't matter if the built-in DSP is on or off.

When it happens, the crackling is repeated for a certain period of time depending on the track, it isn't really obvious when playing the track, but when there's little to no sound at the end or beginning of a track, I can hear it clearly at normal volume, and it's really annoying.

At first I thought that this was caused by signal interferences from my Wifi or 4G, which would be odd considering the Q1 is supposed to solidly prevent this. But listening to the same track over and over again, the crackling happens everytime at the same time, in the same manner. It's not a random artifact.

I know for a fact that the cause of this cannot be from my DAC, USB cable, headphones, audio cable or files... I use my setup on my PC with Winamp with an ASIO plugin and on my phone with Hiby Music, and everything works just fine.

Also I've left the Resampler with default settings.

Any solution or any plans on fixing this ?

I hope I've been clear enough describing this issue.

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In addition : No issue with USB Audio Player PRO in Bit perfect mode either.

Just to let you know, I love Poweramp as a player, I find it really convenient on a lot of aspect, and that's the player I'd want to use daily. I'm happy that external DACs support is on its way, it just has to work properly.

PS : Please consider a bit perfect mode.

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I have some new element on the issue, and it's particularly weird.

I doesn't only concern Poweramp anymore.

Recently, I've been using USB Audio Player Pro with my FiiO Q1 a lot.

When it is not currently running, if I switch on my DAC, the app detects it and an Android pop-up asks me of I want to open the app (w/ the option of making this a default action whenever the DAC is detected, which I leave unchecked so I can use the DAC for other apps, cause USB APP monopolizes it when in use), and everything just works perfectly.

Now, if for some reason I decide to switch off the DAC, leaving USB APP on the background, switch it back on, the same issue happens as with Poweramp, so I get the exact same annoying crackling on the same tracks.

I can solve this by closing the app and its notification bar. But I have to do so to solve it. I'll probably email USB APP devs about it too.
 

I hope this can give you some more insight about the source of the issue. I  personnally don't have any clue on what could be going on.

EDIT : fyi, I mainly use a flac rip of the track "Twilight Princess Symphonic Movement" from The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestral CD to check the issue. Crackling happens clearly in the very end.

Still no issue using apt-x Bluetooth or headphones out of my phone.

EDIT2 : Seeing how much USB APP disclaimers state that the DAC must be powered on before lauching the app, my guess would be that the initialization part is crucial for using a DAC correctly with Android via USB OTG.

Although, I tried shutting Poweramp off before powering on my DAC, still crackling.

 

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Got an answer.
It seems the issue comes from the fact that the DAC doesn't completely bypass Android. From my understanding, Android outputs audio to the DAC, which then outputs audio to my headphones.

USB APP indicates whether the DAC or Android is rendering audio. It's Android with the issue I just discribed above. And the DAC when everything works fine, naturally.

I assume this is what is messing up Poweramp DAC support as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm on Huawei Honor 8 and I also hear similar noises on low volume passages.  An example would be John Preston's soundtrack to the maze runner,  specifically the first 10 seconds of the Finale track.  

 

What's strange is with the stock music player the noise isn't there.   I have actually tried other players and even bass boosting apps,  all of them has a similar noise issue so long as any sort of Eq is active.   

 

On the Honor 8 you can only output to 48khz since that's what the audio configuration exposes,  even though on paper the same dac is used in Mate 8 and P9 as well and that was listed as 24/96

I suspect it's to do with resampling,  as dither settings help alleviate some of it, but not all. 

The issue is present regardless of whether dts headphone system setting is turned on. 

If I increase play back volume then the noise becomes more of an uniform floor and less like distortion in the characteristics of the rising violin.   It almost sounds like the resampling happens post digital volume reduction,  which is really terrible if true (really like 3 bits worth of dynamic range?).   I'm not sure if this is an android issue in general,  though it happens on marshmallow and nougat beta. 

I was hoping to get high res support to custom output at 44.1khz instead and see if that works.   Still,  it's a bit a mystery to me why the stock player works if it does resampling. 

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I think it's Android as a whole. Support for external audio DACs is still pretty much ghetto.

The only app that I've bothered trying (Google Play Music, Poweramp, Hiby music) that could bypass Android completely and without too much trouble is USB Audio Player Pro, that is another paid app.

But that app doesn't have the convenience of Poweramp features. I was quite happy seeing external DAC support coming for v3.0, it does need to get fixed though. And probably when it's fixed and bit perfect playback is added, it'd be the closest for being the ultimate Android music player, for me at least.

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  • 2 months later...

Guys;

you seem pretty knowledge on the subject.

I have a FiiO Q1 connected to my S6 running Android 6.0.1.  Alpha 703 (installed quietly overnight) detects the DAC but no sound is heard on headphones.

Everything works well on Neutron and USB Audio Pro.  Now, for me as well, when the DAC is powered, Neutron is launched and starts playing (I cannot remember how to disable this feature...)

Any ideas...???

Thanks in advance. 

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On 12/4/2016 at 7:25 PM, Kosaki said:

Hello,

I'm currently using a FiiO Q1 USB DAC with my Moto G 3rd gen (Android 6.0.1) and I've been experiencing some cracking on some files I have, mostly flac, with Poweramp alpha-build-703-play.

This happens with both the AudioTrack Output and Hi-Res Output. OpenSL ES Output seems fine, but volume output is way lower and it's limited to 16bits/48kHz, so why bother... It doesn't matter if the built-in DSP is on or off.

When it happens, the crackling is repeated for a certain period of time depending on the track, it isn't really obvious when playing the track, but when there's little to no sound at the end or beginning of a track, I can hear it clearly at normal volume, and it's really annoying.

At first I thought that this was caused by signal interferences from my Wifi or 4G, which would be odd considering the Q1 is supposed to solidly prevent this. But listening to the same track over and over again, the crackling happens everytime at the same time, in the same manner. It's not a random artifact.

I know for a fact that the cause of this cannot be from my DAC, USB cable, headphones, audio cable or files... I use my setup on my PC with Winamp with an ASIO plugin and on my phone with Hiby Music, and everything works just fine.

Also I've left the Resampler with default settings.

Any solution or any plans on fixing this ?

I hope I've been clear enough describing this issue.

Hi, could you provide the name of the track that you are experiencing problem with?

I have a q1 and could test it with my note 5. During USB DAC testing with q1, I did not experienced any crackling sounds. But I can test it again for you. 

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