Day 40: Portable HiFi

Here’s how I took my music with me, while away from home and HiFi. Note: most advice assumes your music is stored on the iPhone, but I’m assuming we need a huge library stored OFF the iPhone!

  • Headphones: wired B&W P7
  • Headphone DAC/amp: Chord Hugo2
  • Controller: iPhone + USB Adapter
  • Player: VLC & Mconnect Apps
  • Source: 128GB RavPower FileHub Plus

FileHub Server capacity is limited by the 128GB SD card to about 300 to 400 albums of (mostly) 16bit 44.1kHz FLAC files. They are organised for UPNP file & folder browsing. Not as an IDV3 indexed DLNA UPnP source which sadly doesn’t work. But the device provides its own WiFi where the iPhone can sign in and access the UPnP Service.

The “Heath Robinson” style inconvenience of the cables and the UI is significant compared to a high end portable (e.g. A&K) but the Hugo2 with it’s remote volume control is also my HiFi Pre-Amp when it’s at home, saving the cost of a digital pre-amp. Also the extra total cost (approx £40%) may be worth it only for the sound quality of the Chord FPGA DAC? I haven’t compared them.

The Versatile Hugo2

On the iPhone, VLC or Mconnect apps discover the RavPower FileHub as a Wireless UPnP Server (browsable ‘by folder’).

The RavPower FileHub is still a very versatile source, as it can be picked up by other wireless users and can forward traffic onwards to an internet router, or simply act as a portable charger.

HD Playback:

I found that both VLC and mconnect can read my few *96/24 and 192/24 FLAC files and send them to the iPhone’s digital output. However VLC Down-Samples the huge files and sends 44/16 (only 25% of the data!) to the external DAC whereas Mconnect changes the light on the Hugo2 through:

  • red (44.1/16 0.14 MB/s )
  • green (88.2/24 0.24 MB/s)
  • blue (196/24 0.6 MB/sec)

Happiness! Portable HD sound, and yes, you can hear the difference!

Missing Sleeves:

As the player is a smartphone, one can then browse Wikipedia for the ‘sleeve notes’ missing from medialess systems.

To do this (or concurrently use the Internet on your iPhone) the FileHub can be configured to route traffic onwards to the local wireless router.

*96/24 – 96 kHz frequency, 24 bit samples

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