USB Audio

Forum to discuss the quad core MK902 II Android PC

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USB Audio

Postby rlube » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:08 am

I purchased an MK902ii to stream music into my hi-fi (NAD amp, KEF speakers). I also got a DAC for it, a Hifimediy Sabre U2 Asynchronous DAC. Most of the time I stream Spotify, which sounds good but not terrific. I admit that I am under-whelmed. Well-recorded reference CD tracks played on my NAD gear are generally more lively and crisp than their corresponding Spotify versions.

Android 4.4 Kitkat in the MK902ii is set up to play 16 bit / 44.1 khz and will apparently down-sample playback sources presented at a higher resolution. I think Spotify tracks come through at 16/44.1 which matches Android. This is equivalent to 1411.2 kbps, so it still has to be compressed to the 320 kbps stream that I receive.

So now I am exploring lossless tracks stored in FLAC files, including some stored at higher resolution (e.g. 24 bit / 96 khz). The USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP) app comes with a driver that sends high resolution streams directly to a DAC. This has produced the richest playback experiences so far. However, it is quite expensive for an Android app ($10) and its UI is agricultural at best.

Worse, installing UAPP takes over USB audio and forces all other sound to be heard on the TV via the HDMI connector. I have to freeze UAPP with Titanium Backup and reboot to get back to listening to Spotify on my hi-fi. This is unacceptable.

I use the Neutron player which can load hi-res FLACs, but I don't think it is driving the DAC directly. I have also started experimenting with the Viper4Android app.

At the end of the day I want Spotify, and later HDTracks or Tidal when they actually gain worthwhile catalogues, to drive the DAC directly.

My understanding is that Android 5 Lollipop includes a better USB Audio driver that can do this. What plans does RKM have to put Lollipop on the MK902ii? Is there a custom ROM in the works anywhere?

What are others doing to stream audio?
-- RonL
rlube
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:16 am

Re: USB Audio

Postby rlube » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:37 am

The Niby music player is the second app I have found that drives the DAC directly, without downsampling to 16-bit/24 khz. It has a nicer UI than USB Audio Player Pro, is stable, but could use some feature improvements. Unfortunately, it suffers the same plight as UAPP in that it takes over the USB audio port and all other apps end up playing back through HDMI unless you reboot the device. I have been informed by the brain behind UAPP that Android offers no way of re-starting its own USB audio subsystem after it has been disabled.
-- RonL
rlube
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:16 am


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