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[Android] Support USB Audio directly - bypassing the Android Driver

USB DAC/amps are less impressive on Android Spotify because the standard Android driver is up-sampling. The Dragonfly Red runs at 44.1kHz with Spotify on my PC but on Android it up-samples to 96kHz causing glitching. Other DACs have similar issues. The proposal is for Spotify to access USB DACs directly, bypassing the Android driver.


Audiophile music players already take this approach, e.g. USB Audio Player PRO (UAPP) and Neutron. Tidal works with UAPP.


This idea is a version of "Support USB Audio through the USB Audio Player PRO driver" without the 3rd party partnership. It was written in response to @meahtenoha's review. Both ideas originate from the USB audio out OTG support thread.


External USB headphone DAC/amps for Android phones are becoming a thing. What Hi-Fi has a Best DACs page that mainly lists portable audiophile kit. I would prefer to carry a phone and a DAC rather than a phone and a portable music player because it is more fun to have access to the whole Spotify catalogue.

Updated on 2019-09-18

Hey folks,


Thanks for coming to the Community, and adding your vote to this idea!


We're setting this idea to 'Not Right Now', as this isn't something we have any immediate plans to implement. We appreciate you sharing your thoughts.


If we do have any new info to share, rest assured we'll check back in here with a new status.




I guess Spotify is waiting for Android hardware to improve rather than supporting this idea. But anyway


I, like many others have looked in to this and tried to find a solution. I have found 2 (well, 3 really) viable solutions. Some of which has been previous typed but I have spent the last 12 months researching, tinkering and ended up with this.


Option 1 - Swap from Android to Apple. iPhones natively output bit perfect from the lightning port via lightning to USB cable and with a DAC you can playback the correct 16/44.1.

This has one issue and that is the iPhones battery consumption, unless you purchase the cable that allows it to be charged at the same time. Not ideal for mobile use. But ok if sat at home.


Option 2 - Stay with Android but ditch Spotify. I can not find any app similar to UAPP that will allow me to stream from Spotify whilst bypassing androids pointless up-sampling to 24/48. Tidals 320kbps service costs the same as Spotify, but UAPP doesn't allow offline use (not found a solution). So, mobile use has to be via the Tidal app which loses the ability to playback at the correct 16/44.1.

If you are using Tidal, then you might as well pay the little extra to get Masters (MQA). But you will need to use UAPP and a DAC like The Dragonflys to fully unfold the MQA streams.


Option 3 - Ditch Spotify and Android for Tidal (or Qobuz) and get an iPhone, lightning to USB with facility to charge at the same time and an external battery pack (10,000mha sounds good).


I will admit I prefer Spotifys Android app over iPhones app and also prefer it over Tidal and Qobuzs apps.


In essence, the above options are not all fool proof with opt 2 and 3 being a work around until either Android phone manufacturers stop this Android audio driver up-sampling or music streaming services start implementing what UAPP has achieved to allow direct bit perfect to an external DAC.


Whilst typing the above I have been listening to Spotify on my iPhone 8 with a dragonfly black v1.5 and comparing with Spotify on my Moto G8 plus 3.5mm headphone socket and via the dragonfly. Headphones are a pair of quite expensive IEMs I was given a few years ago and I have no idea of the make. I have also compared the same songs on each device on Spotify and Tidal. On the iPhone I was not completely satisfied to be able to say Tidal sounded better than Spotify as it was very difficult to hear a difference.


Moving to the Moto G8+ there is a massive difference between 3.5mm and the dragonfly as you should expect. Even though the dragonfly showed 16 or 24/48. This was the same for Spotify and Tidal.


Note: I used Tidal at 320kbps over the hifi or masters options.


Hifi and masters was vastly better on the iPhone with the Tidals app but sounded very close to the Moto G8+ when using UAPP.


My option is to stick with the Moto G8+ for now as although the dragonfly isn't receiving bit perfect, it sounds similar to the iPhone. It also uses less battery (yes it's bigger to start with). I have also stayed with Spotify as I find Tidal occasionally lacks some tracks and albums I like.


Another point to note is Bluetooth on android with Spotify bypasses (I think) the up-sampling and the headphones or Bluetooth receivers own DAC plays back at the correct 16/44.1. Sound is good, not great.

And if SBC it doesn't matter with Spotify as Spotify is only 320kbps to start with and SBC can handle 345kbps in stereo and 320kbps in mono.


I am a music loving audiophile and while sound replay is very important, so is enjoyment, the availability of music I like. I am 40 with mild tinnitus so my days of hearing 20khz is behind me.


But, yes, please Spotify give greater options for music playback via DACs rather than navigation integration.


Please introduce this before I move to Tidal


I bought high quality IEMs and a DAC only to find out that Spotify doesn't route the sound directly to USB but takes it through the lousy Android driver which resamples it


Very actual function I think. 

Today many people buy usb dac's for Android phones.


This idea has just become VERY important as Spotify will now provide lossless and HiRes streams. 


The target audience for this subscription level will have expensive external DAC equipment but unless the Spotify App bypasses the host system sound software, it will be pointless subscribing to lossless on Spotify.


USB DAC works just fine. I use the CA Dacmagic XS on Samsung S20+ . Had to purchase the USB Audio Player PRO to get it working. Sound is wonderful.


Please implement this before I move my monthly payments to Tidal!

There are more audiophiles using your services thank you think, and they are influencing their circles on which music services to use. Don't be left behind like Kodak, Spotify!


Afaik the Tidal native app suffers from the same issues but there are 3rd party apps that can do it. 


Have you changed your mind yet. Otherwise I'm off to tidal.  

No point in hidef Spotify if you can't get the quality out of the phone into my ears. 


Will Spotify reconsider this recommendation when they are going to provide lossless audio soon?