Author Topic: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE  (Read 599 times)

Offline humfr33

DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« on: January 13, 2022, 05:07:10 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to get some thoughts and opinions on possible options for an affordable DAC for use with a 2020 iPhone SE as a source (predominately using Lossless Apple Music) into a Hi-Fi system.

The SE only has a lightening port and I have read that one can use the apple camera connector to connect it to the IFI Zen DAC V2. I can then use the RCA out on the IFI to connect to my system. This comes with the caveat that apple could alter their firmware and this solution may no longer work.

Another option would be to use the IFI Stream as well, but this adds to the cost and (to my understanding) reduces the quality as I have to use Airplay to stream and that for now is capped at CD quality (although open to being corrected).

Would love to hear other ideas!

Offline johan.pretorius

DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2022, 05:17:22 PM »
I use the official Apple camera connector on an iPhone 6 (connected to the lightning port), and it works very well.  There is the additional benefit that you can charge the phone whilst using it.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 05:19:41 PM by johan.pretorius »
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Offline shikra

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2022, 05:26:24 PM »
Cheapest, with good performance, is probably the Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter -> 3.5 mm to RCA Adapter -> Hifi
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 05:30:22 PM by shikra »

Offline chrisc

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Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2022, 09:48:33 PM »
Yes, but the headphone adapter uses the phoneís DAC, which isnít the best.  Iíve used the camera adaptor with an iPad and it provided a much better quality signal
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Offline Drifter

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Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2022, 11:23:37 PM »
Yes, but the headphone adapter uses the phoneís DAC, which isnít the best.  Iíve used the camera adaptor with an iPad and it provided a much better quality signal

+1

Using a lightening to RCA cable will simply move an analogue signal - something that a DAC cannot use.

The OP requires to transfer of digital signal to the DAC. There are a few ways of doing this:

1) Via the Apple camera adapter, plugging a USB cable into the camera port which is then inserted into the DAC's USB input. (remember if you get the iFi that you will need to buy a separate power adapter). The Audioquest Dragonfly is another possible DAC to consider.
2) Via a DAC with a lightening port - there are not many of these around. Something like this: https://us.amazon.com/FiiO-i1-Amplifier-Lightning-Microphone/dp/B071R7DYHD?language=en_US

Another option is to get a bluetooth DAC like the iFi Blue V2 https://ifi-audio.com/products/zen-blue-v2/ and stream from your phone to the DAC via bluetooth. The Zen Blue supports aptX Bluetooth (which transmits 24 bit hires files), unfortunately iPhones SE 2020 has bluetooth 5 but does not support aptX (no iPhone does). You will have to research the max lossless bitrate that bluetooth 5 will give you. Apple HD music is mostly 24/48 I think. It is another option similar to using Airplay - with the same type of limitations but an option never the less.


Offline shikra

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2022, 08:03:59 AM »
The lightning cable actually has a built in DAC that measures pretty well, so it is still a valid budget option. Obviously, the camera adapter with a better USB DAC would be nice, so it depends on the budget.

Offline XL1000

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2022, 08:17:43 AM »
I have a HiRes Audio Player that can act as a DAC for the iPhone and supports probably all formats.
Send me a DM and I will WhatsApp you some photos.
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Offline Raffs

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2022, 09:03:53 AM »
I use a lightning to USB adapter like this https://www.incredible.co.za/apple-lightning-usb-camera-adapter-md821 , try to stick with original apple product here the fong kongs are iffy  , then USB A to B like so or similar https://www.loot.co.za/product/lindy-36643-usb-cable-3-m-usb-2-0-usb-a-usb-b-grey/tlvt-5713-g4a0?referrer=googlemerchant&gclid=Cj0KCQiAuP-OBhDqARIsAD4XHpe27h2hUUf09EpzFCRmRlKlAx3V5GYZNjb6ZMnb15r8EvI5aTajz4YaAqUIEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds to DAC then RCA/ balanced cable to Amp. Works well depending on the spec of the DAC HiRes Lossless plays without a hitch
Trust your senses !!

Offline humfr33

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2022, 10:01:23 AM »
+1

Using a lightening to RCA cable will simply move an analogue signal - something that a DAC cannot use.

The OP requires to transfer of digital signal to the DAC. There are a few ways of doing this:

1) Via the Apple camera adapter, plugging a USB cable into the camera port which is then inserted into the DAC's USB input. (remember if you get the iFi that you will need to buy a separate power adapter). The Audioquest Dragonfly is another possible DAC to consider.
2) Via a DAC with a lightening port - there are not many of these around. Something like this: https://us.amazon.com/FiiO-i1-Amplifier-Lightning-Microphone/dp/B071R7DYHD?language=en_US

Another option is to get a bluetooth DAC like the iFi Blue V2 https://ifi-audio.com/products/zen-blue-v2/ and stream from your phone to the DAC via bluetooth. The Zen Blue supports aptX Bluetooth (which transmits 24 bit hires files), unfortunately iPhones SE 2020 has bluetooth 5 but does not support aptX (no iPhone does). You will have to research the max lossless bitrate that bluetooth 5 will give you. Apple HD music is mostly 24/48 I think. It is another option similar to using Airplay - with the same type of limitations but an option never the less.

I actually totally spaced on the Dragonfly! Thatís another good option to consider!

Offline humfr33

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2022, 10:04:42 AM »
Yes, but the headphone adapter uses the phoneís DAC, which isnít the best.  Iíve used the camera adaptor with an iPad and it provided a much better quality signal

Iíve read the DACs inside the iPads are actually pretty good! Have you tried just using the 3.5 mm output of the iPad? Iím not sure if it will handle lossless though.

Offline chrisc

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Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2022, 12:03:05 PM »
Yes, I can play 24bit 192KHz music files from an iPad
The 3.5mm socket is fine
Bluetooth not so good, it sounds muffled

I use VLC Media player by choice, but there are many
Scylla works well
Vox also good, but complicated interface
Music is the shorthand of emotion

Offline chrisc

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Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2022, 12:07:50 PM »
Whatever you use, a quick wipe of this is better than snake-oil.....

Music is the shorthand of emotion

Offline simpletonion

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2022, 12:09:23 PM »
Edit: redundant post.

Offline Zilch

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Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2022, 08:43:39 PM »
Iíve read the DACs inside the iPads are actually pretty good! Have you tried just using the 3.5 mm output of the iPad? Iím not sure if it will handle lossless though.

@humfr33 Apple handles lossless just fine.  Install VLC from the App Store and connect your iPhone/Pad to your PC/Mac and just drag n drop your FLACs to VLC over iTunes.

iirc the built in DACs (and even their Lightning/USB-C to 3.5mm dongle DAC) goes up to 24/192, which is fine for most lossless files.  And even if you have some 32/768 files in your library, downsampling to 24/192 will almost be impossible to differentiate.
If you don't understand the difference between "their", " there" and "they're" then your a idiot.

Offline humfr33

Re: DAC for use with 2020 iPhone SE
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2022, 01:10:36 PM »
@humfr33 Apple handles lossless just fine.  Install VLC from the App Store and connect your iPhone/Pad to your PC/Mac and just drag n drop your FLACs to VLC over iTunes.

iirc the built in DACs (and even their Lightning/USB-C to 3.5mm dongle DAC) goes up to 24/192, which is fine for most lossless files.  And even if you have some 32/768 files in your library, downsampling to 24/192 will almost be impossible to differentiate.

This is really helpful! Thanks @Zilch! Where did you find information on the DACs they use? I searched but couldnít find anything.