With the launch "Hi-Res" support on more and more streaming services, I was wondering about the performance of many of these in-line USB-C DACs which would typically used on a mobile device to theroetically achive that level of decoding - whether due to lack of in-built dac/headphone jack or just due to limited resolution on the inbuild dac/headphone jack (16bit/48kHz for example).
The best chipset of this nature which I can find is the ALC 4050 which supports up to 32bit/384kHz playback, the Apple one with a Cirus logic chip supposedly does 24bit/48kHz, and then there are a variety in between which support 24bit/192kHz full or can switch between 16bit/192kHz or 24bit/96kHz.
Has anyone taken the time to measure and analyise the analogue output of any of these ? I'm curious how the perform where the content is mastered at 24bit/192kHz FLAC/ALAC for example vs the same content sampled or mastered at 24bit/48kHz or 16bit/44.1kHz. - Be interesting to playback a 24bit song on a 16bit DAC and see if there is any significant difference in the analogue waveform compared to on a 24bit in-line DAC limited by USB power and potential processing capability for errors etc... in addition play the same song(s) back but from 16bit mastered/source and compare again.
Double blind listening tests might be interesting as well! I have ordered an ALC4050, if anyone can suggest ways in which i can compare this against other ones (without too much hardware involved) I'd happily take some time to do those tests for the wider benefit of the community :) I haven't been on here for a while so my test mechanisms might be a bit out of date.
P.S. I don't want to start a subjective debate as to the necsesity of such hi-res content on mobile devices, and I'm particuarly not that interested in upsampling. I want to keep this thread as scientific and factual as possible!
I will make one controversial prediction though - I suspect the analogue output of these is just as good as most dedicated DACs at the same bit depths and sample rates.
Select "DAC (Thumb drive)" in the Device Type box and you get a lot of measurements.