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  1. mister2d's Avatar
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       #1  
    So... I went to the local Microsoft Store to fight off the urge to impulse buy the thing. I was armed with my studio monitor headphones and a FiiO E17 USB DAC & Amplifier. I just knew Windows RT wouldn't be able to handle this, which would surely turn me away.

    First, I plugged in my headphones just to test the sound quality. To my surprise, it was what I would call excellent! It was able to drive my cans and really reach throughout the audible range of my music.

    Ok, I thought... I came here to eliminate the Surface based on whether or not I can plug in my USB DAC and use it. I plugged it in and stuck my headphones in the jack. In an instant, just pure bliss!! I couldn't believe it handled this without hiccup.

    I wasted no time buying the Surface at that point. By the way, I got so many looks from me plugging in all my gear. No lie, three people bought a Surface right after me after watching me putting it through its paces (one younger person, and two other men). When I whipped out my phone to do a bank transfer, one guy did ask what kind of phone I was using. LOL. I just said it's a "Nokia".

    I would say that the Surface is a HIT.
  2. vp710's Avatar
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    #2  
    Awesome. Audio quality's an extremely important feature for me. Thanks for letting us know!
  3. GT2010's Avatar
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    #3  
    you know its people like you who make us fans very proud thanks :) and for the nokia situation i cant believe that people dont know about them i mean seroisly nokia is the best in mobile tech for example bt 4 came from nok and some would say it came from samsung lol shame -_- but anyway good for yu buddy and go MICROSOFT :D
  4. mprebich's Avatar
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    #4  
    Our "flagship phones" need to output digital audio to use with external portable DACs.

    What is missing from my L920?

    Is it hardware, firmware, WP8, Nokia?

    Does the L1020 output digital audio through usb?


    Quote Originally Posted by mister2d View Post
    So... I went to the local Microsoft Store to fight off the urge to impulse buy the thing. I was armed with my studio monitor headphones and a FiiO E17 USB DAC & Amplifier. I just knew Windows RT wouldn't be able to handle this, which would surely turn me away.

    First, I plugged in my headphones just to test the sound quality. To my surprise, it was what I would call excellent! It was able to drive my cans and really reach throughout the audible range of my music.

    Ok, I thought... I came here to eliminate the Surface based on whether or not I can plug in my USB DAC and use it. I plugged it in and stuck my headphones in the jack. In an instant, just pure bliss!! I couldn't believe it handled this without hiccup.

    I wasted no time buying the Surface at that point. By the way, I got so many looks from me plugging in all my gear. No lie, three people bought a Surface right after me after watching me putting it through its paces (one younger person, and two other men). When I whipped out my phone to do a bank transfer, one guy did ask what kind of phone I was using. LOL. I just said it's a "Nokia".

    I would say that the Surface is a HIT.
  5. kane4fire's Avatar
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    #5  
    The external DAC support on Windows RT is the sole reason why I've kept the surface for so long. For me it's other limitations are negligible compared to the touch cover and USB/eDAC capability. Got rid of my Macbook Air because of it and Windows 8.1.

    If only the processor was faster...
  6. mister2d's Avatar
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       #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by mprebich View Post
    Our "flagship phones" need to output digital audio to use with external portable DACs.

    What is missing from my L920?

    Is it hardware, firmware, WP8, Nokia?

    Does the L1020 output digital audio through usb?
    Nope. :(
  7. air2liquid's Avatar
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    #7  
    Btw, just for those interested, the Surface and Surface 2 are both Wolfson audio codecs and can drive most headphones well.
  8. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by mister2d View Post
    So... I went to the local Microsoft Store to fight off the urge to impulse buy the thing. I was armed with my studio monitor headphones and a FiiO E17 USB DAC & Amplifier. I just knew Windows RT wouldn't be able to handle this, which would surely turn me away.

    First, I plugged in my headphones just to test the sound quality. To my surprise, it was what I would call excellent! It was able to drive my cans and really reach throughout the audible range of my music.

    Ok, I thought... I came here to eliminate the Surface based on whether or not I can plug in my USB DAC and use it. I plugged it in and stuck my headphones in the jack. In an instant, just pure bliss!! I couldn't believe it handled this without hiccup.

    I wasted no time buying the Surface at that point. By the way, I got so many looks from me plugging in all my gear. No lie, three people bought a Surface right after me after watching me putting it through its paces (one younger person, and two other men). When I whipped out my phone to do a bank transfer, one guy did ask what kind of phone I was using. LOL. I just said it's a "Nokia".

    I would say that the Surface is a HIT.
    Thanks for that. I've had similar experience attaching hardware to the RT and having it recognized and working without fuss.

    Now... what type of things do you plan on doing with your Surface and what software do you plan on using?

    I'm pretty frustrated at the dead-end that I find myself in attempting to use the Surface as a portable podcasting device. My hardware is all recognized and ready to go, but the software isn't there. But maybe I've overlooked an option.
  9. mister2d's Avatar
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       #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by WillysJeepMan View Post
    Thanks for that. I've had similar experience attaching hardware to the RT and having it recognized and working without fuss.

    Now... what type of things do you plan on doing with your Surface and what software do you plan on using?

    I'm pretty frustrated at the dead-end that I find myself in attempting to use the Surface as a portable podcasting device. My hardware is all recognized and ready to go, but the software isn't there. But maybe I've overlooked an option.

    I'm using it for note taking, learning C# (Visual Studio), browsing, streaming videos using Plex, watching TV connecting to my Windows Media Center DVR, and UNO. :)
  10. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by mister2d View Post
    I'm using it for note taking, learning C# (Visual Studio), browsing, streaming videos using Plex, watching TV connecting to my Windows Media Center DVR, and UNO. :)
    Thanks. I was hoping since you went to the trouble of bringing some of your audio gear to the Microsoft store that you were planning on doing some audio work with the Surface.

    Boy, did I overthink that! LOL
  11. azcruz's Avatar
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    #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by mister2d View Post
    So... I went to the local Microsoft Store to fight off the urge to impulse buy the thing. I was armed with my studio monitor headphones and a FiiO E17 USB DAC & Amplifier. I just knew Windows RT wouldn't be able to handle this, which would surely turn me away.<snip>
    I have been using AMB Labs DAC since I got my Surface RT, so I don't know what made you say that.
  12. azcruz's Avatar
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    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by air2liquid View Post
    Btw, just for those interested, the Surface and Surface 2 are both Wolfson audio codecs and can drive most headphones well.
    Would you know which one?
    even the Nexus S and Samsung S3 use Wolfson DAC.
  13. mister2d's Avatar
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       #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by azcruz View Post
    I have been using AMB Labs DAC since I got my Surface RT, so I don't know what made you say that.

    It's simple. There were no reports of a USB DAC working with RT when Surface was released. Did you know your DAC would work on release day for RT?
  14. azcruz's Avatar
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    #14  
    Yes, because it's USB. That's what the standard is supposed to do. Over at Head-Fi, some are using FiiO DAC.

    Sent from my Windows Phone 8S by HTC using Tapatalk
  15. mister2d's Avatar
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       #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by azcruz View Post
    Yes, because it's USB. That's what the standard is supposed to do. Over at Head-Fi, some are using FiiO DAC.

    Sent from my Windows Phone 8S by HTC using Tapatalk
    I see. So you're saying by USB's nature it's a lock to work.

    Sorry, but the world just doesn't work like that and never has. Must be new to computers eh?
  16. azcruz's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by mister2d View Post
    <snip> Must be new to computers eh?
    OMG, you are?
  17. mister2d's Avatar
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       #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by azcruz View Post
    OMG, you are?
    I see where this went. You're a kid. smh
  18. wp_rt's Avatar
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    #18  
    I'm using a NuForce uDAC-2 on a Surface 2. I find that there are some hiccups in the music stream sometimes when I am using Internet Explorer while listening to music. Has anyone else noticed this? Aside from that I have no complaints about the sound. Thinking about switching from NuForce to Schiit Modi/Magni combo. Maybe that will help .......
  19. calfee20's Avatar
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    #19  
    I realize this is off topic for this thread and I do not want to hijack it but here I go anyway. I have put a sizable music library on my desktop compiled with dbpoweramp. The library is all lossless flac and I access it with xbmc. Xbmc is not available for WinRT and the Surface doesn't have the storage to handle my library anyway. So could I expect proper sound from a Surface RT if I was using remote desktop to access my music library?
  20. wp_rt's Avatar
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    #20  
    I keep my music files in SkyDrive (200GB free for 2 years with purchase of new Surface 2). Can play a single track directly from SkyDrive but it looks like I have to download an album into the media folder to play straight thru. Not too bad with MP3 but a bit slower with flac I guess.

    It looks like MediaMonkey is the app for flac. I've never used it.
    Last edited by wp_rt; 11-25-2013 at 04:52 PM. Reason: added info
  21. azcruz's Avatar
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    #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by calfee20 View Post
    I realize this is off topic for this thread and I do not want to hijack it but here I go anyway. I have put a sizable music library on my desktop compiled with dbpoweramp. The library is all lossless flac and I access it with xbmc. Xbmc is not available for WinRT and the Surface doesn't have the storage to handle my library anyway. So could I expect proper sound from a Surface RT if I was using remote desktop to access my music library?
    My main media storage is Synology NAS where my music files are kept. MediaMonkey finds them via uPNP/DLNA. I have no issues with playback of FLAC files using MediaMonkey over Wi-Fi via my Western Digital N900 Central.

    MediaMonkey also finds music files using Open File->Network
  22. mprebich's Avatar
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    #22  
    Surface Pro (original):

    I finally got around to connecting my Surface Pro to a vintage Audio Alchemy DAC and preamp that I pulled out of my closet. I'm using a Halide Design USB Bridge, which converts the USB to coaxial RCA (as my "vintage" DAC does not have a USB input).

    This worked wonderfully. Even though it is only 16/44.1, the AA DAC still sounds great.

    I will play around some more this coming weekend, and swap out the AA dac for a Perpetual Tech DAC, which processes 24/96. Should be a fun weekend! : ) I previously tried the Surface (inplace of my HTPC) running the USB through Halide directly into my Onkyo HT setup, that works wonderfully and provides for 24/192.

    Excellent that the Surface (both RT and Pro) handle USB digital out, but as mentioned above, we would have expected them to, as Windows and USB has "always" done that.

    Now, when do we get this functionality for our Windows Phones???? Come on Microsoft!

    I'm eyeing ALO Audio's "International" DAC/headamp. Anyone with experiencing trying this with a Surface and one of the other phones OSs?


    HiFidelity4all - Enjoy the music!
  23. calfee20's Avatar
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    #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by azcruz View Post
    My main media storage is Synology NAS where my music files are kept. MediaMonkey finds them via uPNP/DLNA. I have no issues with playback of FLAC files using MediaMonkey over Wi-Fi via my Western Digital N900 Central.

    MediaMonkey also finds music files using Open File->Network
    I had thought of building a NAS and now your comment has gotme thinking about one again. I have a new micro-atx board Micro-center gave me for buying an i5 cpu a few months ago. I have most everything I need except a couple of hard-drives. Maybe this winter.
  24. Blacklac's Avatar
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    #24  
    I'm confused why you thought digital output to a DAC your familiar with wouldn't work. Lol. Digital output is all the same.

    And to those mentioning Wolfson DAC's, that doesn't mean much these days. They offer very low end DAC's too. Not saying the Surface units don't sound good, just don't judge them off the name Wolfson.
  25. mister2d's Avatar
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       #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post
    I'm confused why you thought digital output to a DAC your familiar with wouldn't work. Lol. Digital output is all the same.

    And to those mentioning Wolfson DAC's, that doesn't mean much these days. They offer very low end DAC's too. Not saying the Surface units don't sound good, just don't judge them off the name Wolfson.
    I thought I explained that well. Obviously not.

    My point was that I wasn't going to take it for granted that all my digital equipment would work and I just blindly drop $500 on a device. Not my style. I verify and test first when I can.

    Here's an example of why you just can't think things work out of the box.

    Try plugging that DAC into a Nexus tablet. Yeah doesn't work. Sure it's running a Linux kernel and it SHOULD work since it works with a few distros I tested out of the box.

    What you have to end up doing (as I did on my gen 1 Nexus 7) is root the device, meaning erasing everything you customized. Then find a custom ROM that supports USB on the go and USB audio kernel mod loading. Ahh... now my FiiO DAC works but with a caveat. You have to plug it into the USB port first before you turn on the tablet. Royal pain.

    So, no I will not just assume that it works on a new ARM based Windows that no one has touched. Understand now? Hopefully it's crystal clear. After all my post on this was over a year ago!
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