How to use USB as audio output Android?

USB audio allows you to output audio from your Android device to external USB speakers, headphones, or digital-to-analog converters (DACs) for improved sound quality. With USB audio, you can play music at higher bitrates and sample rates compared to Bluetooth, providing an enhanced listening experience particularly for audiophiles. USB audio bypasses the built-in DAC of your Android device and takes advantage of external DACs that offer superior audio performance. Overall, USB audio support in apps allows Android devices to play back music at higher resolutions and sample rates. If you have high-quality headphones or a premium DAC, USB audio is the preferred way to get bit-perfect output from your Android phone or tablet.

Enable USB Audio in Settings

To enable USB audio output on an Android device, you need to go into the Settings app and find the USB audio or USB peripheral settings. The exact location of these settings varies by device manufacturer and Android version.

On Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 9 or later, go to Settings > Connections > More connection settings > USB audio routing. Toggle on “Enable USB audio routing” to allow audio output over USB. [1]

For other Android devices, look for USB or Advanced settings in the Sound or Accessory sections of Settings. There may be an option like “Audio source” or “USB peripheral” to change. Select USB audio or a connected USB device to route sound through USB. [2]

On Android 12 and above, toggle on the “Enable USB audio routing” option under Settings > Sound & vibration > Audio output. This allows audio output over a connected USB headset, dock, adapter or DAC.

Once USB audio output is enabled, audio from media and apps will be routed through the USB port automatically when a compatible USB audio device is connected.

Supported USB Audio Formats

Android supports common digital audio formats like MP3, AAC, FLAC, and more when outputting audio over USB. Some key details on format support:

  • MP3 files are supported at bitrates from 8-320 kbps in either constant bitrate (CBR) or variable bitrate (VBR) encoding. MP3 is a lossy compressed format widely supported on Android. See
  • AAC files up to 320 kbps are supported on most Android versions. AAC is another lossy compressed format that provides good audio quality. Support for high-resolution AAC and other extensions varies. See
  • FLAC is a lossless compressed format supported on Android 5.0+. FLAC allows uncompressed quality while taking up less space. See

In addition to compressed formats, Android also supports uncompressed PCM audio up to 32-bit/192kHz for USB output. However, uncompressed audio requires more bandwidth and storage space. See for details.

Compatible USB Headsets & DACs

Here are some of the most popular USB headsets and external DACs known to be compatible with USB audio output on Android devices:

USB Headsets:

  • Sony WH-1000XM3
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  • Jabra Evolve 75
  • Plantronics Voyager 5200
  • HyperX Cloud Flight

External DACs:

  • Audioquest DragonFly
  • Chord Mojo
  • FiiO E10K
  • Topping NX4
  • JDS Labs Atom

These are just some of the most popular and widely compatible options. Many other USB headsets and DACs also work, but compatibility can vary across Android devices. Doing research on forums for your specific Android model is recommended.

USB Audio Apps

There are some Android apps specifically designed to take control of USB audio and bypass the default Android audio stack for improved audio quality and reduced latency. The most popular of these apps is USB Audio Player PRO. This app has several advantages for USB audio:

  • Bypasses Android audio for bit-perfect and low latency audio
  • Supports high resolution audio up to 32-bit/768kHz
  • Compatible with a wide range of USB DACs
  • Zero audio glitches and dropouts
  • Customizable digital filters and audio effects
  • Automatic fast charging control

Other apps like Neutron MP also have USB audio capabilities, but UAPP remains the most widely used and recommended option. The ability to bypass the Android audio stack is key for taking full advantage of external DACs and delivering the highest audio fidelity from Android.

USB Audio vs Bluetooth

Both USB audio and Bluetooth have their pros and cons when it comes to wireless audio on Android devices. Here’s a comparison:

Pros of USB audio:

  • Higher quality audio – USB can support lossless audio formats like FLAC which have superior sound quality compared to the compressed Bluetooth audio codecs like SBC or AAC.
  • Lower latency – Bluetooth can have up to 100-200ms of latency which can cause audio lag. USB audio has much lower latency around 10-20ms.
  • Reliable connection – USB offers a direct wired connection so there’s no signal interference or dropout issues like Bluetooth is susceptible to.

Cons of USB audio:

  • Limited range – You need to be directly connected via a USB cable, so mobility is very restricted.
  • Charging issues – Using USB audio can prevent simultaneous charging of your phone depending on your device.
  • Extra accessories needed – USB audio requires a USB DAC/headphone amp whereas Bluetooth headsets are all-in-one.

Pros of Bluetooth audio:

  • Wireless convenience – No cables required so you have freedom of movement.
  • Phone charging – You can charge your phone at the same time as listening.
  • Ubiquitous compatibility – Most headphones now support Bluetooth and pair easily.

Cons of Bluetooth audio:

  • Lower audio quality – Bluetooth codec limitations reduce sound quality over USB audio.
  • Potential for lag and interference – Bluetooth connections can experience stuttering or dropouts.
  • Battery powered – Bluetooth headsets need recharging unlike passive USB headsets.

In summary, USB audio provides superior sound quality and lower latency but requires cables. Bluetooth offers freedom of movement but sound quality and reliability suffers compared to wired USB audio.

USB Audio Lag & Latency

One common issue with using USB audio on Android is latency, which is a delay between the audio being played and heard through the headphones. High latency can cause lag and make music, videos, and games feel out of sync. Here are some tips to minimize audio delay when using USB audio on Android:

Optimize the sample rate – Use 48kHz instead of 44.1kHz if possible, as it has been found to have lower latency on some Android devices. Select this rate in your USB audio app settings. Android’s developer documentation recommends 48kHz.

Lower the buffer size – Smaller audio buffers mean less latency but can increase risk of audio glitches. Experiment to find the lowest buffer size on your device that doesn’t cause crackling or popping sounds.

Use professional USB audio apps – Apps like USB Audio Player PRO are designed for low latency audio over USB.

Check for USB audio driver updates – Keeping your Android OS and USB drivers updated may improve latency over time as fixes are implemented.

Consider wired USB headsets – Wireless Bluetooth headsets introduce more latency. Wired USB headsets connected directly to your phone’s USB port will have the least delay.

Charging While Using USB Audio

Many Android devices allow you to charge your phone and output audio over USB at the same time. However, some may require an adapter or splitter cable to enable both charging and audio simultaneously.

The easiest solution is to use a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter that supports pass-through charging. These have an additional USB-C port to connect your charger while the adapter handles the audio output. Popular options include the Apple USB-C to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter with Charging Support and the Google USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Adapter with Charging.

For USB DACs and headsets, using a USB-C splitter or hub enables connecting both power and audio. Examples are the Anker USB C Hub, UGREEN USB C Adapter, and Hagibis USB C Hub. These split the USB-C port into separate ports for charging and data.

Some Bluetooth receivers also include a pass-through USB-C charging port specifically for charging while listening over Bluetooth. If your USB-C port supports DisplayPort, you can find USB-C docking stations or hubs that split off power delivery and audio through the DisplayPort connection.

While most modern Android phones support simultaneous charging and USB audio, certain devices may not. Consult your phone’s specs to confirm if it’s supported. If audio cuts out when charging, try a different cable, charger, or USB adapter.


Common Troubleshooting

If you encounter issues with USB audio on your Android device, here are some common fixes to try:

Check that your USB headset or DAC is compatible – Not all USB audio devices will work properly with Android. Refer to the manufacturer’s specifications or product descriptions to verify compatibility. Some devices may require drivers or special setup.

Toggle USB audio in Settings – Go to Settings > Sound and vibration > Advanced and toggle the “Use USB audio” option off and back on. This may reset the audio output to properly detect the USB device.

Check physical connections – Ensure the USB cable is securely plugged into both your phone and the headset/DAC. Try a different USB cable if possible. Make sure there is no damage, dirt, or debris in the ports.

Restart your phone – A simple reboot can often resolve quirky USB audio issues. Unplug the USB headset/DAC, restart your phone, then reconnect the device.

Update Android version – Updating to the latest Android firmware can sometimes add USB audio compatibility and fix bugs. Check if any system software updates are available for your device.

Test with different apps – The problem may be isolated to a single app. Try playing audio through both the native music player and third-party apps like Spotify to isolate the issue.

Factory reset – For persistent USB audio problems, a factory reset can eliminate any corrupted settings or driver conflicts. Back up data first, then reset the phone to default factory conditions.


Using USB audio is a great way to get high quality sound from your Android device. With USB audio enabled, you can bypass the built-in DAC of your phone and output audio through an external DAC or USB headset. This allows you to get bit-perfect digital audio output and take advantage of high-end audio equipment. USB audio also has lower latency than Bluetooth, making it better for gaming or video streaming. Just make sure your headset or DAC is compatible, and adjust any required settings in your USB audio apps. With everything properly set up, you can enjoy studio-quality audio from your Android device.

In summary, enabling USB audio output on your Android phone or tablet provides an excellent way to improve your listening experience. If audio quality is important to you, using an external USB DAC and headphones is worth considering. Give it a try and you may be surprised just how good your mobile audio can sound.

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