Old phones as streaming sources

   I'm curious how many  of you have converted old phones to streamers. I have found  that when I remove the sim card and shut off blue tooth and wire the phone to a dac with an appropriate USB adapter cable, my old iphone 6s makes a pretty good streamer. Just wondering what others experiance has been. It is a really economical way to source digital to a 2nd or 3rd system. You can even cut electronic noise further by running on battery power when listening and shutting off the screen once the music is rolling. Going one step further would be to transfer local files to the phones memory and turn off wireless altogether. I have not done this but theoretically it should help. I usually just run the Qobuz app and stream from that to my Chord Mojo. What's your experiance?


Ag insider logo xs@2xbruce19

'I have found  that when I remove the sim card and shut off blue tooth and wire the phone to a dac with an appropriate USB adapter cable, my old iphone 6s makes a pretty good streamer. Just wondering what others experiance has been. It is a really economical way to source digital to a 2nd or 3rd system.'

Good on you mate. My experience is yours. I'm using my 2 old Samsung S3 including a Cambridge XS and a Violectric Chronos DAC for on the fly listening. I am listening as well with the Samsung Galaxys Tab S 2, in this case going into integrated amps with USB 2.0. For this, I have a (now very hard to find) docking station where I connect the USB A-B cable.

In addition, I have downloaded the USB Audio Player Pro app, running all locally stored music files and Quobuz. You would pay a small amount for the USB Player Pro app and you can use it for all your android gear, paying only once. It is this app which makes a big difference, IMO.

To my ears and in my system and listening environement, the above solution is more than decent and inexpensive.

For iOS, instead of USB Audio Player Pro it could be the TEAC HR Audio Player app.



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“What I tend to scratch my head over is how some folks pay manufacturers (who avoid said due diligence) so much for devices that aren’t verifiably (audibly) different.”

@benanders  Speak for yourself.  Plenty of us have heard big improvements moving up to streamers from Aurender, Innuos, etc.  Maybe it’s time you tried something better than your Raspberry Pi and see/hear for yourself. 


@soix thats a fair suggestion. Indeed, I do speak for myself bc I don’t stipulate that the absence of [real] evidence (for streamers performing audibly differently) is evidence of absence. No indeed. Such difference may well be real, absolutely, despite how unlikely. Generally persons with concern for scientific rigor or at least a reasonable amount of prior training will speak for themselves, and I tend to remember and do just that. Insistence that something is different, let alone invariably poor, because I perceived variation in a subjective, bias-prone comparison was in your reply to this thread, not mine. 😃

Funny thing: I had some folks cycle their high-end DAC’s and streamers through my system for the fun of it. Really more for the owners’ fun - they were curious to hear snazzy source kit on speakers that out-scaled their own. They are mostly the forever high-end kit-swapping type (surely nothing inherently wrong with that interest - just a less precise, more expensive way of using DSP, IMO), so they have plenty of experience pulling out and reinserting banana plugs; I was perfectly comfortable letting them cycle through stuff while I turned my back. I didn’t want to know which device was in the chain as they sang played the A/B/C’s.

I couldn’t perceive any difference past what timing / repeated listening alone could have accounted for. On any of those fun occasions. And even in that I was still violating every expectation of a meaningfully done blind test setup. Who cares, it was just for fun. But aureckon Aurender and similar just haven’t helped me see day vs. night predictably. Kit-swapping (or pretending to) does make for difference in sound, absolutely, I just can’t do it in a way that aligns it with being due to kit in the chain. Also - each time, those devices were personal units, not sales floor units, so they didn’t likely need breaking in if that were to account for my inability.

I tend to think the more likely culprit is that I have realistic expectation and confidence in what I can hear among digital data transfers vs. folks who might be happy to inform me how untrained my listening is.

IMO. 😉

Good to read - some of - this post, esp. that by the OP.

I’d been using my daughter’s old iPhone 5 for a BT streamer for various internet radio programs like NPR’s Hot Jazz Saturday Night, Radio Bob and Bayern 3 in Germany and several others.

Lately, as I transition to an Android phone ( because I got tired of having Apple’s coders scramble my playlists, contacts and bookmarks. I have Steven Wilson album covers showing up for 1940’s Jazz LPs, for example, folders which normally hold hundreds of songs reduced to four, multiple copies of folders with only partial content in each and worse. The Apple “genius” bar and online help is no help), I’m using my most recent iPhone 13 because I changed the battery and the home button died and replacements don’t work and Apple won’t service old phones) and the sound quality is improved a bit.

While not the same resolution as my TT/vinyl setup, it’s good enough for background sound and allows me to tune into other radio stations like college radio - WTMD -  I can’t get through FM.


FWIW (YMMV) I find it pathetically laughable and sad that with every post like this here on Audiogon and on a handful of other websites the moment someone says “hey, I use this xyz gadget and” some low-T egocentric snob type (no names mentioned or implied directly) jumps in the convo with “well, MINE IS BIGGER, BETTER, the best of the best of the best and you’re a doo-doo head” - not in those exact words, but, while older, the preadolescent/preschool mentality still shines through.

Thanks for sharing, @bruce19

Not sure why so many people get their panties bunched up

by what the OP is doing by re-purposing an old iPhone? I am using an old iPhone SE at the gym by streaming tidal or qubuz on their WiFi. Sounds like my old iPod shuffle but with WAY more music to pic from than iTunes playlists. I use my iPhone 7 in my bedroom as a streamer to a shiit DAC with a Realistic old receiver to power it up. It’s music guys, we are not building rockets for space travel. Just loosen up and enjoy what you have. If you are using a raspberry pi, vanilla wafer, or chocolate cookie and getting music to make you happy, isn’t that the why we listen? Cmon!