Can I use an Amazon Fire tablet to stream to a DAC?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by vegafleet, May 7, 2019.

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  1. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Listening over the weekend, the tablet's headphone output still sounds better than the dedicated Fiio. Imo.

    Now I wish Amazon would put out a device, tablet or not, that could take full advantage of their new hi rez service, without dumbing down the sample rate or the sample word lenght.
     
  2. TimM

    TimM Senior Member

    The Fire HD 8 can output to my AudioQuest Dragonfly Red, but I have to agree that the headphone jack output sounds at least as good.
     
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  3. dachasin

    dachasin Active Member

    Location:
    usa
    I'm chasing this same dream and was led to this thread.

    When you hooked your DAC up to the fire 7 with microusb-microusb, I assume used the Amazon Music app to play music. Since you signed up to HD, when you play a track it will have a gold badge with the words "ULTRA HD". Did you tap it, and see the info regarding the quality the song was streaming at?

    I'm wondering because I have the Amazon HD music service. I have a fire hd 10 (2018 gen).
    Playing HD music on my PC which has a 24/192 capable soundcard is great and easy.

    I'm trying to get the higher res audio to my living room stereo. Out of the 3.5mm jack on the tablet we are limited to the onboard DAC outputting 24/48.

    My overall question is, could I buy a Fosi 24/192 dac and run it: microUSB from tablet ---> USB DAC, DAC to my analog mixer, and have the tablet output greater than 24/48 quality? Will the amazon app on the tablet recognize the usb audio out, and will it show the correct capabilities?


    Thanks for any help. If this doesn't do it I think I'm going to build a cheap PC or find a old craptop or something for getting amazon HD audio and my own collection to this stereo, but would much rather put this tablet to work.
     
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  4. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I know what you mean and the answer is no. The tablet (nor for that matter an iPhone 6) will not recognize (or even check?) that they are digitally connected to an outside DAC with better capabilities and output anything higher than their maximum playing capability. When connected to the portable (but very able) Fiio E17K 2 or to a Marantz HD-Dac1, both which can take 24/192, the Amazon HD Music app stays at the device's more modest rates (regardless of the track's streamed or downloaded resolution).

    If I download, say Machine Gun (the album) by Hendrix, it downloads it in glorious high rez, but plays it at CD quality in these portable devices. Which brings me to my next question: is the Amazon app doing all this rate and bit conversion (downwards) in real time? Isn't that very wasteful in terms of resource (CPU and memory) allocation? Probably not a problem running on a PC, but seems to be a problem with less powerful devices. And many tracks where you will not get the full benefit of the higher resolution. Maybe another explanation for the constant rate shifting when streaming? The app chokes itself down-converting to match the device?

    Again, I would not mind an Amazon proprietary device that could take full advantage of the service's potential. Right now we are throwing out a lot of information.
     
  5. dachasin

    dachasin Active Member

    Location:
    usa

    Thanks for the answer.

    Well. What now? I still have this great living room stereo and no way to get my library or amazon HD to it.

    I'm currently considering this on a flash sale that will probably will repeat black friday: https://www.amazon.com/ACEPC-T8-x5-...s+Mini+PC&qid=1573880285&s=electronics&sr=1-4

    Just spit balling at this point, but if it can play 4k video it should be able to push to a usb DAC , eh? I'd have to plug it into the nearby TV for visual control, seeing as the Amazon Music app on the tablet will send music to everywhere but a PC running the app, it seems.
     
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  6. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That looks pretty nifty. I think it would solve your problem but wouldn't you also need a keyboard and mouse plus the connection to the TV (and a switch for the HDMI input if your TV has its inputs taken)? But at the same time you would be getting the equivalent of a music server to stream all kinds of digital files into your stereo. Me, I carry a USB stick back and forth between my computer and the stereo when I want to play a digital music file or download. There is no one right way to do these things.

    Connecting to my stereo, using the Marantz HD-Dac1, I am making do with an iPhone 6 (max capability 24/48) for now. It all depends on how much effort and $ you want to put into getting the full output possible out of the Amazon HD music app. And hope that Amazon does not pull the plug on this come the first quarter of 2020, when all the free initial trials would expire and they get a good read on the number of paying customers remaining.

    Please let us know what you do.
     
  7. dachasin

    dachasin Active Member

    Location:
    usa
    I currently use a Steam Link box wireless (aka, tons of wonky compression) to get everything from my PC to my living room so i have a decent wireless BT keyboard/mouse combo and an open HDMI so no worries there.

    However, doing to A/B listening on my PC that I previously thought was working ezpz lead me down another rabbit hole - this time leading me to conclude this Amazon HD service was even less thought out than I think we all were already accepting.

    There's no Asio/Wasapi support in the Amazon Music PC app. I'm running through shared mode and everything is "tinny" since I'm dealing with windows resampling depending on what combination of Amazon's audio file and my shared audio quality setting. I think its called being "bit perfect", and I'm currently am nowhere near it without the asio/wasapi support.

    So for my purposes of playing my own HiFi content from my library, the miniPC will certainly work. It won't do much for Amazon HD besides get the visual badge to lie to me that I'm playing at the correct rate/depth while going through the hidden windows re sampling tumbler of doom.

    Found a thread @amazon regarding the topic:
    Amazon Music HD Wasapi / Asio / etc - Amazon Music - Digital Content - Amazon Digital and Device Forum
     
  8. dachasin

    dachasin Active Member

    Location:
    usa
  9. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Socially distant and unstuck in time

    Location:
    Tralfalmadore
    I can verify that the Fire HD 8 2018 version will output with a OTG cable to my Shanling M0 when in DAC mode. However, there seems to be a limit of 24 bit 48 khz. I am trying to see if there is a workaround to that and am open to any suggestions.

    Amazon HD does sound pretty good through the Shanling. But as noted 24 bit 96 khz files get downsampled. The Fire says it is playing at 24 bit 48 khz and the M0 says it is at 24 bit 44 khz. I have no idea which is correct but I presume the Shanling has the last word.
     
  10. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Can you please check your Fire 8 capability again? My Fire 7 says it is 24/44,1 and I am wondering if they are different in that respect. It might be a big deal. Let me give you an example.

    Regarding device capability, my Fire 7 says it is 24/44.1. My iPhone 6 says it is 24/48. If I try to play Frampton Comes Alive from Amazon HD, both devices say it is a 24/96 file, which neither device can play at its native resolution, so they both have to downsample.

    But the Fire 7 says it is playing it at 16/44.1 and the iPhone 6 says it is playing it at 24/48. Please see if you can recreate this in your Fire 8 to see if it does the same.

    Note: I downloaded the file before playing to avoid the rate-jumping that sometimes happens when streaming.
     
  11. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Socially distant and unstuck in time

    Location:
    Tralfalmadore
    Well the Fire 8 seems to have downloaded the file at whatever resolution it was stored at. But it plays them back at no better than 24 bit 48 khz. That is most definitely the reported device capability. Just checked it again.

    When connected to my DAP in DAC mode the Shanling M0 said it was coming down to it at 24 bit 44 khz via the USB cable. Why the discrepancy? I have no idea.

    Keep in mind that the Fire 7 may well have a different architecture than the Fire 8 (2018 edition).
     
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  12. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That is exactly what I am thinking. But I am also out of sorts because I now realize that not all the Frampton Comes Alive tracks were downloaded at the same resolution. In particular, (at least) "Do you feel..." was downloaded at 16/44.1. Don't ask me why. Maybe that was what I saw when I asked you the question, so now I don't know. This is another known Amazon HD bug.
     
  13. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Socially distant and unstuck in time

    Location:
    Tralfalmadore
    On many albums individual tracks seem to have different resolutions. This is a common complaint on Head-Fi. I hope they fix this eventually. I think that some tracks come from different compilations and are cross indexed which explains variability within albums.
     
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  14. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    I use both an iPad Mini 2 and iPad Air first version to stream jazz stations, pandora, and spotify from the headphone out to RCA ins on a couple systems and use a lightning to usb connection to my Marantz CD6004 on my living room system. It runs through the CD's DAC rather than the onboard one in the tablets. Not sure I really hear much difference.

    I would guess any tablet that has a headphone out will work fine so long as the onboard DAC is OK and if it isn't, get a standalone. But I'm streaming music with mine, not controlling things.
     
  15. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    For familly reasons, I have had to be away from home for the last 4 months, so away from my main system, and only have had the ipads and fire tablets to listen with Senn Hd599 headphones. I have to say Amazon Hd came in at the right time for me, as I am away from all my Cds, sacds and Brs. Its not ideal but that Fire tablet sounds pretty good.
     
  16. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Socially distant and unstuck in time

    Location:
    Tralfalmadore
    The Fire HD 8 sounds to me like my old Sansa clip. Kind of a dry sound but acceptable. I like my portable DAP units better and fortunately I can stream from the Fire unit to them.
     
  17. scottabs

    scottabs Forum Resident

    I have a related, but slightly off topic question. I'm using my Fire HD 8 with a Schiit Fulla 2 connected. I then have a 25' cable going to my AVR so I can change songs from my listening position. Should the length of the cable make a difference? I initially had a 3 foot cable connected, but I got tired of getting up to change songs. At first I thought I could tell a difference, but when trying to A/B test, by the time I swap around cables my "memory" has faded...
     
  18. originalsnuffy

    originalsnuffy Socially distant and unstuck in time

    Location:
    Tralfalmadore
    I am sure somebody here will come up with a reason why a longer cable hurts the signal somehow. In my view, if it sounds good to you then it in fact sounds good.
     
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  19. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I get what you mean that you don't want to get up every time to change songs on your tablet or phone. So I run a long 15' Apple lightning cable from my chair (where I sit with the phone or tablet) to my Dac, which seats a foot away from my amp. Since the signal on the long cable is digital and not analog, it should be ok. Whatever signal degradation (if any) should be easily ignored at the USB input of the Dac.

    But it sounds that you are running the analog signal out of the Dac thru the long cable to your AVR. Probably not optimal, as you are stuck with whatever signal degradation (if any), audible in the form of distortion, that the long cable run causes to the analog signal.

    Not to start a cable-war here, but I would do it my way, run the digital signal thru the long cable run, and everything should be ok.
     
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  20. dachasin

    dachasin Active Member

    Location:
    usa
    The general issue of "well, how do I get the good sound out of Amazon HD" led me in loops and circles but I think I've reached a good place of understanding a couple of products that will do what we want without breaking the bank and felt I should share:

    The Hiby R5 has been updated to support MQA and Amazon Music HD, R5, a new Android DAP by Hiby.

    The Bluesound Node 2i
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  21. dachasin

    dachasin Active Member

    Location:
    usa
    I was excited to use the iphone Amazon Music app to control my fire tablet 3.5mm to my reciever, but quickly realized that doing so forces lossy audio.

    This whole service is so close to being cool and smooth and affordable, but its trying really hard not be.
     
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  22. scottabs

    scottabs Forum Resident

    Thanks, I didn't even think about making the digital signal the long run. I'll try that as well.
     
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  23. Brenald79

    Brenald79 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Anyone know if you use Tidal with Fire Tablets?

    I just ordered the Fire Tablet 8.
     
  24. vegafleet

    vegafleet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I am now using a Fire 8> Fiio Q1 DAC/headphone amp> Senn HD599. So I basically upgraded all the components and I am very happy with the result.

    It is not the same as a full in-house system but it is very much OK for casual listening, or in my case, a long stay away from home.
     
  25. Brenald79

    Brenald79 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I just got the new 2020 Fire Tablet HD 8. I’m pretty disappointed with it so far.

    I have a Tidal account on my Apple devices that I created with my Apple ID. There is a Tidal app on the Fire Tablet but I was unable to log in with my Apple ID. So I created a new account a signed up for a free Tidal trial to test out in the Fire Tablet. The subscription payment was through Amazon and cost $25.99 /month rather the $19.99/month I currently pay with my original account. It seems Amazon is increasing the price of Tidal if you register through the Fire Tablet.

    So now if I want to have Tidal account that I use on my Apple Devices and the Fire Tablet I will have to register another account and remember to not do this on the Fire Tablet so I can get the regular price.

    I though the direct sound of Tidal high resolution into my Seinheisser HD 599 was horrible, where my IPhone and IPad sound great. It’s not bad through my blue tooth speakers but not as good as the Ipad and IPhone.
     
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