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The HyperDrive: USB-C 2018 iPad Pro Edition

The HyperDrive: USB-C 2018 iPad Pro Edition

Hi everyone,

Today, I received my HyperDrive USB-C iPad Pro 2018 edition which ran on Kickstarter from December 10, 2018 to January 15 of this year.

Hyper Drive 1
The HyperDrive case.

The HyperDrive 2018 iPad Pro Edition is a USB-C Hub designed mainly for the 2018 iPad Pro, but it is also compatible with other USB-C devices. It has a USB-A 3.0 port, SD and MicroSD Card Reader, 3.5mm TRRS connector, compatible with headsets including inline buttons, USB-C Charging passthrough, and an HDMI output.

Because I backed it on Kickstarter, it was nice to have received it in a Kickstarted-branded case.

Hyper Drive 3
The HyperDrive case opened.

Immediately after opening it, we can see the HyperDrive along with another grip, USB-C extender cable, a screwdriver and some additional screws.

The HyperDrive features a grip that is removable, to make it compatible with other devices. It is attached using screws, so it makes sense to include the screwdriver. Also, since the screws are small, it comes with additional screws in case we lose the originals.

Let’s take a closer look at the HyperDrive:

Hyper Drive 4
The HyperDrive Front.

The HyperDrive Front does not have any branding in it. That’s on the back. It looks beautiful in the Space Grey color, which I chose when the project survey was sent so that we could choose our HyperDrive color.

Hyper Drive 5
The HyperDrive Back.

As I stated above, here we can see the HyperDrive branding and other regulation logos. We can see the USB-C port better since the grip didn’t allowed us to see it in the previous image.

Hyper Drive 6
One of the side.

On one of the sides of the HyperDrive, there’s nothing. However, that changes in the other side, where we can see the HDMI connector:

Hyper Drive 8
The HDMI connector.

We can plug our HDMI cable into it to duplicate or extend our screen (If we are using the HyperDrive in the PC). Now, let’s take a look at the other connectors

Hyper Drive 7
The connectors.

From Left to Right, we can see an LED, followed by the passthrough USB-C charging port, which we would use to charge our devices. We then have the SD Card slot on the top and the MicroSD Card slot on the bottom, followed by the USB-A 3.0 port and a 3.5mm TRRS jack. This is compatible with headsets and is also compatible with in-line controls.

Hyper Drive 9
The USB-C connector.

The USB-C port is pretty standard, and is centered in this Hub.

This is the other Grip that came with my HyperDrive:

Hyper Drive 10
The other Grip that came with the HyperDrive.

Altough we cannot see it in the above picture, it says that it is for use with covers. The grip that initially came with it was for use WITHOUT screen protectors. I myself don’t have any use for these grips, so I removed it from my HyperDrive.

Hyper Drive 12
The USB-C extender.

The HyperDrive came with a USB-C extender cable and grip that you can use if you’d like to connect your HyperDrive without it having direct contact with your devices.

Hyper Drive 13
The USB-C port of the USB-C Extender cable.

This way, we can simply attach the USB-C cable to our devices and the HyperDrive will fit perfectly, because when we use it without any grip or the extender, our HyperDrive will have a little gap in between.

Hyper Drive 15
The Screwdriver.

To remove the grip from the HyperDrive, we’ll use the included screwdriver.

Hyper Drive 16
The screws.

Be sure to keep the screws in a safe place! They are so tiny that they may get lost.

Hyper Drive 18
The HyperDrive with the USB-C Extension cable attached

In the above picture, I have attached the USB-C Extension cable to my HyperDrive so that you can see how it look.

Hyper Drive 17
The HyperDrive without the grip.

I have removed the grip in the above photo. The reason is so that I can use it directly connected to my laptop. I do not have the iPad and my main reason to get this is to use it in my Windows machines and other devices:

HyperDrive connected in my laptop
The HyperDrive connected to my laptop.

I attached the HyperDrive to my Lenovo Y720 laptop I purchased as my birthday gift. This laptop has a USB-C connector and you can see that the HyperDrive fits into it. You can also see there’s a bit of a gap, as I explained above. We could have solved this by using the extender USB-C cable, but I prefer to just have the HyperDrive in direct contact with it.

HyperDrive connected in my laptop with headphones connected
IEM attached to the HyperDrive.

I attached my KZ ZS7 IEM to the HyperDrive. The PC does not detect the USB Audio if there’s no headphone connected to it. Once we connect them, the laptop recognizes the audio adapter as USB PnP Audio Device.

The volume is very loud!! I always turn it down before playing back anything, and having it at just 1 or 2% was just enough.

Hyper Drive DAC 1
The Windows Audio Settings.

As seen in the above image, I have the audio at just 2%. Let’s take a look at the device settings itself:

Hyper Drive DAC 2
The HyperDrive in the Sound Control Panel.

We can see the HyperDrive audio listed as USB PnP Audio Device above. We’ll double click it and then go to the Advanced tab to see the device bit deph and sample rate:

Hyper Drive DAC 3
The HyperDrive Bit Depth and Sample Rate.

The DAC (Digital-Analog Converter) used in the HyperDrive only has a bit depth of 16-bit and a sample rate of 48 Khz. This is enough for some, but audiophiles would have preferred it to have a depth of 24 or 32 bits and a sample rate way above the 48 Khz. However, we must remember that Audio CD has a depth of 16 bit and a sample rate of 44.1Khz. Since the HyperDrive supports 48Khz, that means that Windows needs to resample the audio to 48Khz. Still, the audio quality is good.

I’m using Tidal to stream CD-Quality tracks and I’m not noticing any quality degradation. In fact, it sounds excellent, altough I do need to turn down the volume further down. Also, there’s a little background noise, but it’s barely noticeable when there’s audio playing.

Tidal using Hyper Drive
Tidal using the HyperDrive and with the volume turned down.

So, the HyperDrive does a great job handing audio. It even works in my Nintendo Switch!

Hyper Drive connected to the Nintendo Switch
HyperDrive connected to the Nintendo Switch

What does the HyperDrive looks like with its ports being used? It looks like this:

HDMI, SD Card, USB, and 3.5mm connected to the HyperDrive
HDMI, SD Card, USB, and 3.5mm connected to the HyperDrive.

It’s been less than a day using this USB-C Hub, and so far it is handling everything great. I have experienced some problems, but it’s most likely problems related to the operating system rather than the HyperDrive. My laptop sometimes would not detect the HyperDrive or would not show any image in my external monitor, but now it’s all working fine. Also, it’s worth noting that the HyperDrive heats a little. You’ll not get burned while touching it, but I would also not have my hand at it. Even with it being warm, I wouldn’t say it overheats. It’s also working fine and haven’t experienced any disconnection issues with it.

The Kickstarter experience with this project was great. It is usual of the start of the year to get some delays due to China celebrating the Chinese New Year holiday, but this was a project where the holiday didn’t affected them so much. We are just starting March, and today I received it. Delivery was quick and they sent the tracking number very fast. It was also working at the moment they sent it to me.

I’ll definitely consider backing another of their projects, supporting them while having another gadget to play with.

The Hidizs AP80 just got support for Sony’s LDAC bluetooth audio codec!

The Hidizs AP80 just got support for Sony’s LDAC bluetooth audio codec!

UPDATE 12/29/2018: Video here: https://moisescardona.me/hidizs-ap80-ldac-video

Hi everyone,

Today morning, it came to my attention that there was a new firmware update for the Hidizs AP80 Digital Audio player. I downloaded and installed it, and surprise! We have LDAC support now! This means that it can be used as an LDAC bluetooth receiver and should also work as a transmitted, altough I haven’t tested this mode yet.

To test the Hidizs AP80 LDAC functionality, I tried using my phone but for some reason it doesn’t work on either the HiBy R3 nor on the AP80. This may be a bug on the Samsung Android Pie beta software, or some sort of incompatibility in HiBy OS. Since this didn’t worked, I then proceeded to use my HiBy R3 as a transmitter and the Hidizs AP80 as as receiver. I logged in into Tidal in the R3 and tested the LDAC codec. It worked! Not only it worked, but the Sample Rate was also adjusted accordingly, meaning that standard 44.1Khz Tidal tracks will be transmitted and received at that very same sample rate. I also tested playing back one of a few Tidal albums that the R3 seems to decode in MQA and the sample rate again was adjusted to 88.2Khz

Here, you can see the HiBy R3 streaming a standard album and transmitting it via LDAC to the Hidizs AP80:

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Moises Cardona (@moisesmcardona) on

For my next test, I decided to plug in my R3 to my laptop and use Foobar2000 and Tidal in WASAPI mode. This makes the Hiby R3 a USB DAC -> Bluetooth transmitter. This also worked nicely:

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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A post shared by Moises Cardona (@moisesmcardona) on

Conclusion

I now have the perfect LDAC transmitter and receiver. There’s little delay, but the sound quality is better than using the standard SBC codec. Also it’s worth noting that when I used the HiBy R3 as a USB DAC and LDAC bluetooth transmitter in WASAPI mode, the sample rate was adjusted not only in the R3 but also in the Hidizs AP80, meaning if I’m using a sample rate of 44.1Khz in the PC, the same sample rate will be used in the Hiby R3 and Hidizs AP80. This is very convenient because there will be no downsampling performed. Also, the fact that the Hidizs AP80 also supports bidirectional USB, I could attach another DAC or Amp like the Hidizs DH1000 and enjoy high quality bluetooth sound.

Unboxing the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Headset adapter

Unboxing the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Headset adapter

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll be sharing with you my unboxing video of the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Headset adapter.

This is a USB-C adapter that allows you to use headphones, earbuds, IEM’s and headsets with compatible devices like Android phones supporting USB Audio devices or with a PC, in which this dongle is detected as “Headset Adapter”. It features an integrated DAC (Digital-Analog Converter) although it is unknown which DAC it uses.

The reason I got this adapter is to use my headphones with integrated mic with my PC. It has a maximum sample rate of 24-bit / 48Khz and it even let me use the headset buttons to change volume and to play/pause music with my favorite music player!

Here’s the unboxing video. I hope you all enjoy it:

The UGREEN USB to Micro USB Y Cable

The UGREEN USB to Micro USB Y Cable

Hi everyone,

Today, I received the UGREEN USB to Micro USB Y cable and I’m going to show it to you and also my use of it.

The UGREEN USB to Micro USB Y cable is a USB cable that splits into 2, and yes, you can use it to connect 2 devices simultaneously and transfer data to them because the cable acts as a USB Hub. This is the cable:

UGREEN Y Cable 1
The UGREEN Y Cable

Taken out of the package:

UGREEN Y Cable 2
UGREEN Y Cable taken out of the package

Now, this is where I show you my usage of it. As you may know from an earlier post, I own a Hidizs DH1000 Digital-Analog Converter and Amp. This Amp that I have has a problem with charging, and that’s where this cable comes handy. The DH1000 has 2 USB ports, One is for data and the other is for charging. This cable is the perfect solution to keep it powered on while enjoying music.

Here’s a picture of the cable connected to the DAC/Amp turned off and charging:

UGREEN Y Cable 3
UGREEN Y Cable connected to the Hidizs DH1000

Now, it’s important to know that this cable consumes around 0.05 to 0.08A (amps), so keep that in mind. This is due to its integrated Hub.

With the Hidizs DH1000 turned on, it consumes around 0.20A:

UGREEN Y Cable 4
UGREEN Y Cable connected to the Hidizs DH1000 and turned on

It works wonderful!

Here it is connected directly to a USB port of my laptop:

UGREEN Y Cable 5
UGREEN Y Cable connected to my Lenovo Legion Y720 laptop and the Hidizs DH1000

And of course, it’s compatible with my Hiby R3. Notice the USB logo on the top left, meaning it has a USB DAC connected to it:

UGREEN Y Cable connected to the Hiby R3 and the Hidizs DH1000
UGREEN Y Cable connected to the Hiby R3 and the Hidizs DH1000

And there you have it. The cable does the purpose it’s meant to do. It’s working fine with my amp, and that’s a wonderful thing. However, when it’s connected to the Hiby R3, the DAP’s (Digital Audio Player, the R3) battery will discharge more quickly. Still, it’s a very nice cable for short listening sessions.

You can buy this cable on Amazon at the following link:

Hidizs DH1000 using a USB Meter to simulate a Y cable

Hidizs DH1000 using a USB Meter to simulate a Y cable

Hi everyone,

As you may have seen from my previous posts, I’ve been developing GUI’s for FLAC and Opus, which are 2 great audio formats. This, of course, means I listen to music, and to enjoy them, I use my Hidizs DH1000 USB DAC/Amp. The sound it produces is awesome, but I’ve been having issues lately due to it charging very slow.

Because the unit charges very slow, at just 0.09A according to my meter, I needed to figure out a way I can keep using my DH1000 without sending the unit back to China for replacement. Of course, this is easy, because the unit features 2 USB, you can just connect 2 MicroUSB cables and have the problem solved. This would send power to the unit while you enjoy music, but what if you only have one USB socket available? Yes, you can use a USB hub, but I don’t think it’s recommended to use one because it would have a Hub in the middle and not a direct connection to the DAC, and also you’ll have several cables around.

To do a simple test, I purchased the PortaPow USB Meter which features 2 USB-A ports. One is for charging only and the other allows data transfer and charge, so the connection I’m using is the data port to the DH1000 data port and the No Data + SmartCharge port to the DH1000 microUSB charge port:

Using the PortaPow to provide Data and Charging to the Hidizs DH1000

With the meter, I could see that the unit is working and it is also drawing power from the USB port, which is what I initially wanted.

I also tested this with my Hiby R3 as you can see below:

Using the PortaPow with the Hiby R3

The Voltage seems to be below 5V, but it’s working fine. The downside is that the R3 battery drains faster, but for short-term music listening, this is fine.

My next step is to find a good USB-A to Micro USB Y Cable that provides charging and data to keep using my DH1000 for as long as possible.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful. I know there’s some of you that have the DH1000 Blue Light issue, and that’s why I also have the rubber band that came with my unit in the DH1000, because I also have that issue. But hey, at least the DH1000 is still working great!

See ya in my next post!

[4K Video] Unboxing Dollar Tree $1 Micro USB Cables

[4K Video] Unboxing Dollar Tree $1 Micro USB Cables

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m sharing with you my unboxing video of some Micro USB cables that can be bought on Dollar Tree for just $1 dollar + tax. These cables, while cheap, are actually very good! Of course, they require proper handling, or they may become worse after a short time, but if handled correctly, they will last a lot.

The cables work excellent with my smartphones and tablets, and they can charge them at full speed using a standard 5V 2A Wall Charger or a Quick Charge-enabled charger.

Here is the unboxing video:

Also, check out my other post where I’m unboxing Dollar Tree $1 dollar headphones here

Do you own these cables? Are they still working for you? Let me know in the comments