Stream/download music via Qobuz -> DAP or Phone?

Hello there!

With the current sales going on basically everywhere i was debating with myself on what to buy for music on-the-go. A DAP comes to mind and i am undecided between Shanling M3X and HiBy R5, i like them both.

But the issue that arose is the following: what happens to those expensive DAPs if providers like Spotify or Qobuz decide to update their apps away from older Android versions? I mainly use those Apps, i have no FLAC collection of my own. Will the DAP be an expensive brick then?

That’s why i was also looking at phones and dongle DAC/AMPs. But here’s the next issue: some phones (Android?) seem to resample the music that goes through their built-in USB-connections. Doesn’t that make a DAC/AMP basically useless and DAPs superior?

I’m stuck on deciding where exactly i should go.

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haha! excellent question! I’m in the same boat as you, I don’t own any FLAC and I just stream with Tidal an Qobuz. When I decided that I want HiFi on the go I asked the same question you are.

And the answer is :man_shrugging:

I wouldn’t stress the Android obsolescence thing too much. Many cell phones and DAPs run on old versions of Android. I would be surprised if a streaming service like Qobuz or Tidal decided to give up that piece of market share. And you could always go with apps like UAPP (USB Audio Player Pro) to stream Qobuz or Tidal if either of those apps dropped support for your specific version. To me the bigger issue is usability of the DAP. Older DAPs with older versions of Android are a little slow (compared to modern cell phones). By the time they drop support for your version of Android, the DAP is probably ready to be replaced (battery age, older processor, limited memory, etc).

This definitely raises the question of your personal tolerance for Android resampling and Bluetooth codecs. If you want bit-perfect playback you’ll need an app like UAPP to connect a dongle via USB. (But on the go you’ll need local FLAC files, UAPP doesn’t allow for offline playback of Tidal or Qobuz.) So then you get into Bluetooth from your phone, which is very good (IMHO), but your tolerance / patience for this may vary.

Something to consider is your use cases, are you looking for “portable” or “transportable”. The distinction here is ease of mobility and ease of use while moving around. A little BTR5 in your pocket is very “portable”. A Chord Mojo isn’t very pocketable, and to me fits more in the “transportable” category: take it to the office or coffee shop, pull it out, and use it. DAPs try to be somewhere in the middle. An R5 is very “portable”, whereas the R6 is starting to edge towards “transportable” (although some would be willing to pull a wagon behind them with a battery bank and tube amp to get “portable” HiFi, so this is very user dependent).

Good Android based DAPs (ie HiBy R5 that you mentioned) are really sweet to use. They internally work around the resampling issue, so all of their playback is bit-perfect. The native Qobuz and Tidal (and any other app) supports offline content, you just need a big SD card. And they double as mobile audio sources for other DACs and Amps (digital out and analog line out).

At the risk of shilling my own shit too hard, I have a BTR5, iFi xCAN, Chord Mojo, and HiBy R5 up for sale on the Buy/Sell thread. They are all great in their own ways. I’m selling them to streamline my setup, now that I know what my personal use cases really benefit from: “good” bluetooth true wireless IEMs (Sony WF-1000xm4) for portable, and one nice DAP for “transportable” (seriously considering a HiBy R6 given my good experience with the R5). I would be happy to give you a good deal if you would like to try any of these. (okay, shill complete)

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Thanks for clearing up some of my concerns. I can’t really say that i’m closer to making a good decision, but you’ve helped a lot.

As for use-cases, i want portability as transportability is basically covered.

At the risk of shilling my own shit too hard, I have a BTR5, iFi xCAN, Chord Mojo, and HiBy R5 up for sale on the Buy/Sell thread.

Tempting, very tempting. Been looking for a Mojo for a while now. But you’re in the US, and things like delivery and toll fees are simply annoying to deal with and usually make it not worth it sadly.

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I’m surprised there’s not more posts about this topic. I have a Galaxy S10 plus and UAPP is spotty at best when on cellular, which is often the case when you are truly mobile. I don’t have a DAP. Do you have to download the songs or is there a streaming option?

Usually i‘d have to go with downloaded songs. Either limitations in bandwidth or no network at all are the main factors for downloading

How much are you asking for the R5?

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@Evilswine beat you to it, sorry. I do still have the xCAN if you want a good deal on that.

What is your recommendation for DAPs?