Friday, 1 June 2012

The Samsung Galaxy S III: USB audio confirmed!

Can it really be?
Readers will know that here at AndroidNZ we really care about audio quality, as in we really, really care.

We've written before about the sad lack of USB audio support for Android, so naturally you can understand that Supercurios analysis of the S III revealing the presence of USB audio drivers got our hopes up. When I got handsie with the S III a couple of weeks ago one of the first things I tried was connecting my E17 USB DAC to it, only to have my hopes dashed

Although that was pre-release software I honestly didn't expect a lot to change in relation to USB audio between then and the S III hitting retail, but happily I can report that I got this dead wrong.

If USB audio interests you, or you're just curious, hit us up after the break for more information on this development

(Oh, and please keep your expectations in check here, it's not all good news!)

I'm not sure what most people first when they get a new phone, but I'd imagine that checking whether USB audio works probably doesn't rate very highly? Anyways, despite my disheartening experience with the pre-retail S III software, it was one of the first things I tried.

When I re-visited this the first thing I noted that sounds were no longer routed to the loudspeaker as they were previously; unfortunately though there was no sound emanating from my headphones either. When  I connected the E17 via an externally power hub things changed a little, there still wasn't any sound, however the progress bar in the music player was behaving strangely which suggested that the E17 was at least interacting with the S III in some fashion (hope dies last eh?).

Fortunately I wasn't the only one trying this out, and XDA forumer ma10 gave his Topping TP30 USB DAC a whirl with his brand spanking new S III. You can see the results below:

What we can take from that is that some USB DACs are working, the real question though is which ones, and, in particular, which portable ones?

We'll keep you guys updated on this as more user reports come to light, and I'll be personally be testing the  FiiO E7 very soon, as one is winging it's way to me as I type this. In meantime head here and star the issue to help bring it to El Goog's attention, because as laudable as it is of Samsung to include their own homebaked support for USB DACs, it'd be nice if it was a stock feature in Android and we weren't reliant on specific manufacturer solutions.