Best android tablet for USB DAC audio out for under $200?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Wombat Reynolds, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    any ideas?

    I've got an old Samsung but its days are numbered..... plus its only android 4 and I read that USB DACs are not fully supported until Android 6. Dont know if thats true, however, music app Neutron MUST be able to use a Dragonfly DAC with tablet. My old Samsung cannot use it properly, it works but makes horrible sporadic noise.

    suggestions? thanks!
     
  2. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    I don't know if the USB DAC / Android 6 thing is true or not. I might suggest a different player. I used Neutron for a few years and it is good but there are now better players. I use Foobar. It's free and a really strong player though it isn't the prettiest to look at. I used this with my Dragonfly reliably though I have a newer player. I am currently using USB Audio Player on my Android phone with the Dragonfly and it's a fantastic interface soundwise. It's specifically for use with a USB and there is a small cost but the upgrade in sound was well worth it for me. When I don't use my USB I go to Foobar. Hope you get your issue cleared soon. There is nothing worse than bad sound that used to be good.
     
  3. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    pretty to look at is imperative. I'm a freak about it, I've mentioned this on other threads... I make custom album art, full screen size, for a great many of my music files. Its a hobby I enjoy. Neutron displays the art full screen, controls all hidden if I want that.

    My Samsung phones, both of them, are android 6 and they use the Dragonfly and it sounds great. Screen is too small to be enjoyable however... hence a tablet.

    I might download Foobar on my old tablet and see if it will run, what does it look like, etc, so thanks for the tip.
     
  4. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    I downloaded foobar onto the tablet. not pretty. so far cannot find any way to make the album art display in anything except a small square with these relatively huge controls.
    perfect for most people I guess...
     
  5. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    If youre able to find an Android tablet for under $200, the software will be ancient. Regardless of ones overall preference in mobile operating systems Apple is the only game in that town.
     
  6. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    uh, no. there are more than a few Android tablets under 200 dollars that run system 6 or 7. The idea that I have to go Apple... that sounds like fanboi talk.

    back to Foobar on my tablet, it wont output to the DAC. Neutron does, even tho its bad, so I know the DAC is at least working... and Foobars menu is thin on the tablet, theres no way to tell it to play thru the DAC.
     
    anorak2 likes this.
  7. thelonius munk

    thelonius munk New Member

    Location:
    New York NY
    I still use an Android tablet every day but it is challenging to buy one these days. The safest buy is something from Samsung but you will need to buy used or refurbished if you want to spend less than $200. Monitor swappa.com

    I don't particularly like Samsung tablets although they are the clear market leader now. Their higher end tablets tend to be expensive and very high resolution; I find the fonts in almost all apps to be too small. I also prefer a smaller tablet.

    The last time I went through this exercise I ended up with an 8" LG tablet (G Pad X 8.0) which was exclusive to T-Mobile and AT&T. T-Mobile gave them away at very low promotional prices so there are a lot of them on swappa that have never been used. LG has updated Android to Nougat (7.0) although that is likely to be the last update. The resolution is a usable 1900x1200. The T-Mobile version is coming gsm unlocked and is preferable to the AT&T version (more of them are available so price is lower).

    I'm very happy with it. It is unique in that it has a full-sized USB port as well as a mini USB port. Whether both ports support USB audio depends on what you connect to the tablet. I only connect an external speaker via USB but I can't see why a DAC wouldn't work as well as it does with your phone.

    It's a very good buy at around $100.
     
  8. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I use an Android phone, so I'm not sure where the "fanboi" talk comes from. But you have me curious. Let's see these great tablets you have in mind.
     
  9. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
  10. rfs

    rfs Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    You can get a Surface Pro 3 used for under $400 on Amazon, running real Windows. Then you can run any USB DAC and any Windows music player. This is the i5 128 GB version. It is superior to any Apple ios or Android tablet.
     
  11. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA

    I've thought about that a lot. Many of the refurb versions available have an operating system called RT, which isnt a full version of Windows and therefore wont operate a lot of programs. Still, there are some with the fill windows version.

    The other issue is I cant seem to find a Windows media player that I like the look of. Bee is alright. Complicated to get the panels the way I want to see them. Its even more complicated in that the surface is slightly too large to fit in the area of the car where it would need to sit.

    I'm still thinking about it tho, if theres a way to make it work.

    I'm also thinking about the LG tablet, suggested above.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  12. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I've been looking at the Amazon Fire series for awhile Wombat, mainly as a cheap controller for my SBTouch, they can easily be outfitted with the Google Play Store. The latest OS is based on 7.1 Nougat.
    They do utilize a micro usb port, I planned on trying it with my DC-1 DAC.
    Now to figure out a way to get Alexa to control the Touch :laugh:
     
  13. rfs

    rfs Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lansing, MI USA
    Just be sure it is a "Pro" and you won't get the weird RT OS. I use MediaMonkey and like it a lot.
     
  14. npc210

    npc210 Forum Resident

    Not sure there's many quality options. If you insist on decent sound out of an Android tablet, get an external portable DAC/headphone amp and an OTG cable.
     
  15. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    I have mediaMonkey on my big desktop.

    I havent experimented with it yet, thats a good idea. Basically I want full screen album art. I'm almost able to do it with Bee, not quite full screen but close.
     
  16. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA

    I suppose my initial post was not worded correctly. I have the Dragonfly DAC. It will not work properly with my current tablet because, I suspect, the android system is too old.
     
  17. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA

    the latest thing I read about the Fire series is that they SAY it supports DAC but in many cases it doesnt work. Please try and report back and soon as conveniently possible.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  18. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Will do, my local Meijer (walmart competitor) had a 7 on sale last week, I might pop in today and check it out.
     
  19. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA

    question about this LG tablet. There are some on amazon and they claim to be unlocked or whatever.

    I have no plans on using it as a phone, at all, ever, so I dont need that or a contract - however, I will need WiFi to download programs. Did you have to sign a contract or anything, enable the phone etc, to be able to use Wireless? I'm guessing no but thought I would ask
     
  20. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    The tablet is not a phone. Why this is relevant has to do with cellular data (optional built in on some Android tablets). Wifi only tablets don't have this issue.
     
  21. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Is this for headphone use, or plugged into a stereo? If it's for a stereo, an idea I've had for a while is using a raspberry pi with a hifi-berry coax adapter as a Roon Bridge. You could control it from anything that can run Roon and their DAC capabilities wouldn't matter. Just a thought. I really enjoy the desktop app and the android app is improving all the time.
     
  22. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA
  23. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA

    car audio. The car stereo has an AUX line in, which would be the headphone out from the DAC. This works like a champ on my samsung phone, however, the screen isnt big enough for my tastes, hence the tablet. My old tablet cannot use the Dragonfly. Period. No matter what app I try. The phone uses Android 6, the tablet, Android 4. Both use the same music apps. The apps work fine in either... the DAC only works on the system 6 phone.

    Currently I'm using Bluetooth from my old tablet to stream to the car, its ok, but the phone, using DAC into the aux line in is a significant improvement. Thats why I want to get a system 6 tablet that can use the DAC.
     
  24. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    It's not anything special, but I don't think I paid much more than $200 for my Galaxy Tab A 8.0. It's running Android 7.1.1. Might be good enough for your uses. Have not tried it with USB DAC.
     
  25. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs. Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, USA

    that one is on the short list.
     

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