Disclaimer: Well, this method *should* work for using Fiio Q1 Mark II as Android external DAC (theoretically), but I could make it work only with Samsung Galaxy S8 as I don’t have any other Android phone. So try at your own risk if you have another Android device. I will not be responsible if anything happens to your phone, TV, refrigerator, coffee machine or girlfriend after following this workaround.
I got the Fiio Q1 Mark II on my hand a few days ago. It’s one of the best DAC + AMP at around $100 price tag. Most of the people gave a positive review about it. So I decided to get one. Since I got it, I’m in love with this little piece of beauty. It has some awesome features. According to the Fiio Official Website:
The Q1 Mark II is capable of decoding up to 384 kHz /32 bit PCM as well as up to DSD256. The DAC employed is the AKM AK4452, which decodes high sampling rate formats with a high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion. The headphone amplifier chip in the Q1 Mark II is the audiophile-approved OPA926 with extremely low noise output. Finally, low-pass filter duties for line output are handled by Texas Instruments’ OPA1662.
In brief, the Q1 Mark II is an affordable product that punches well above its weight in terms of versatility and performance.
What is DAC and AMP?
If you found this article by searching for this exact solution, then most probably you know better than me what a DAC is and what an AMP is. But if you came to this article from other articles on this site, you might be wondering what DACs and AMPs do. Let me try to explain.
A DAC [Digital-to-Analog Converter] is a device that converts digital audio information (comprised of a series of 0s and 1s) into an analog audio signal that can be sent to a headphone. An audio power amplifier (or power AMP) is an electronic amplifier that reproduces low-power electronic audio signals such as the signal from radio receiver or electric guitar pickup at a level that is strong enough for driving (or powering) loudspeakers or headphones.
Enough with technical mumbo-jumbo. Let me describe the problem I faced after getting it.
Fiio Q1 Mark II is MFI [Made For iDevices] certified. That means, apple devices recognize it without any problem and it comes with a Micro USB Male to Apple Lightening Male cable. But I use Samsung Galaxy S8 which has a USB-C port. As I don’t have a USB-C Male to Micro USB Male cable, my first try was using a Micro USB OTG Cable (which was a sh*tty idea) and the USB C charging cable that comes with the phone.
As the OTG cable was connected to the DAC, the DAC became the host. And the connection didn’t work (I really should have thought about that earlier).
Then I found a USB-C to regular USB dongle in the S8 box. I connected that to the phone and then connected just a regular USB to Micro USB cable in that dongle and the DAC. This time the DAC started charging and was showing a red LED indicating that it’s being charged. So I became sure that the connection is done properly this time.
Though connection was good, still the sound was not being processed through the DAC and it was not working as Android External DAC. Rather, the music was coming from the phone speakers.
Then finally I bought the Fiio CL06 cable. It’s a very short one and charging lines are completely disconnected. So that resolved my cable problem but the sound was still coming from the phone speakers, not through the Fiio Q1 mark II DAC.
After searching on the Internet for a while, I found a workaround (can’t remember where) which solved the issue for me.
Here is the workaround. Please note, this is for Android Oreo. Not sure if the following options are available at lower Android versions.
- At first, you will need to enable the Developer Options on your phone. For doing that, go to the Android system settings. Now scroll down all the way until you see “Device information” – Tap on it. Next, select “Software info” and you will see the “Build number” entry in the next submenu. Tap the “Build number” entry several times until you see the “Developer options enabled” message.
- Go back to your Android system Settings. Scroll down and enter in the Developer Options section.
- Scroll down and look for the “USB configuration” option. Tap on it and select “Audio Source“. Make sure your DAC is not connected to your phone before selecting this option.
Aaaaand you are done. Now connect your DAC to your phone and it should work as an Android External DAC. At least, it did for me.
I hope it will help someone having similar issue like me. Please let me know in comments if you have any questions or suggestions. All the best 🙂