Using OTG Cable for Audio Output in Android

What is an OTG Cable?

OTG stands for On-The-Go, and an OTG cable is a USB cable that allows you to connect external devices like a keyboard, mouse, or external storage to Android smartphones and tablets directly. OTG support allows the USB port on your Android device to act as a host, so you can plug in peripherals without needing a separate USB hub.

An OTG cable has a micro USB or USB-C connector on one end to plug into your Android device, and a standard USB-A port on the other end for connecting peripherals. Many peripherals like keyboards, mice, or flash drives use a USB-A connection, so the OTG cable allows you to connect them directly to your Android device’s USB port which normally only accepts a micro USB or USB-C cable for charging and data transfer.

Benefits of Using OTG Cable

An OTG cable provides several benefits over standard charging and data cables (Source:

One key benefit is the ability to connect accessories and peripherals that aren’t supported over Bluetooth, such as certain keyboards, gamepads, or external storage devices. The OTG cable provides a wired connection to these accessories that isn’t possible wirelessly.

Another advantage is that you can charge your Android phone and simultaneously use peripherals connected via the OTG cable. This isn’t possible over a regular charging cable. So you can power your phone while accessing peripherals, eliminating battery drainage concerns.

Finally, OTG cables enable quick and easy data transfer between your Android device and connected peripherals like flash drives or external hard drives. You can rapidly move or backup files in both directions between devices via the direct wired connection.

Enabling OTG Support

The first step is to check if your Android device actually supports USB OTG functionality. This allows the phone to act as a USB host, rather than a device. Most modern Android smartphones support OTG, but you’ll want to consult your device specs or user manual to confirm.

Once you’ve verified OTG support, you need to enable it in your Settings menu. The exact steps vary by device manufacturer, but you’ll typically find the option under Connections, Network, Advanced Settings or Developer Options. For example, on a Samsung Galaxy you would navigate to Settings > Connections > USB Accessories. Check the box next to “USB OTG” to toggle it on. Refer to this Reddit thread for steps on specific brands.

Enabling OTG support allows your Android device to detect when an OTG cable and connected peripheral are plugged in. It essentially grants permission for your phone to supply power to and communicate with USB accessories in host mode.

Connecting Audio Devices

Using an OTG cable, you can connect various external audio devices to your Android phone or tablet, such as wired headphones, speakers, or external DACs (digital-to-analog converters) and amplifiers.

To connect wired headphones or speakers, simply plug the USB end of the OTG cable into your Android device and the 3.5mm audio jack end into your headphones or speakers. Make sure OTG support is enabled on your Android device first. Your device should automatically detect the connected headphones or speakers and route audio output to them (1).

You can also connect an external USB DAC or headphone amplifier to your Android device using an OTG cable. This allows you to use high-end audiophile headphones that require more power and higher quality DACs than built into your phone. Connect the USB end of the OTG cable to your Android device and the USB end of the DAC/amp into the other end of the OTG cable. Your phone should detect it as an external sound card and send audio output to it (2). The improved DAC and amplifier will provide higher quality sound compared to your phone’s built-in audio.



Media Apps Compatibility

Most popular media apps like Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix are compatible with audio output via OTG cables on Android devices. This allows you to listen to music, watch videos, and stream movies through external speakers or headphones connected to your Android phone or tablet via the OTG cable.

However, some less common apps may not natively support audio out via OTG. Troubleshooting steps include:

  • Check if the app has an option or setting to enable OTG audio output
  • Try using a different media app to isolate the issue
  • Update the app and Android OS to latest versions
  • Use a USB audio driver app to override default audio settings
  • Consult the app developer’s site/forum for compatibility info and possible solutions

With some additional configuration, most Android media apps can work seamlessly with external audio devices connected through an OTG cable. But the most popular apps tend to have OTG support built-in already.

USB Audio Driver

The USB audio driver plays a critical role in enabling audio output through an OTG cable on Android devices. When an external audio device like headphones or speakers are connected via OTG, Android relies on the USB audio driver to recognize the device and route audio through USB. Without proper driver support, the connected audio device may not function as expected.

There are a few key points about the USB audio driver on Android:

  • The driver is built into the Android OS and enables audio output over USB host mode.
  • Driver versions can impact compatibility – newer Android versions tend to have improved USB audio driver implementations.
  • If experiencing issues, updating or reinstalling the USB audio driver may help resolve problems. On Android 6.0+ this can typically be done through Developer Options.
  • Some OEMs customize the USB audio driver, so device-specific quirks are possible.
  • Using a powered OTG cable or hub can provide sufficient power to properly drive USB audio devices.

Overall, the USB audio driver is a key component in routing audio out through USB OTG cables on Android. Keeping the driver up-to-date and debugging issues are important for ensuring external audio devices work correctly when connected via OTG.

Power Considerations

When using an OTG cable, it’s important to consider that it draws power directly from your Android device to power the connected USB accessory. This can drain your phone’s battery faster, especially if powering more power-hungry devices like external hard drives.

According to research, OTG devices can provide up to 500mA of current, but realistically handheld devices like phones don’t have that much to spare for external accessories ([1], [2]).

To avoid excessive battery drain, consider using a self-powered USB hub between your phone and the accessory. This provides its own power source to the connected devices rather than drawing from your phone’s limited reserves.

Audio Quality Benefits

Using an OTG cable for audio output can provide better sound quality compared to the built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter) in a smartphone or tablet. Bypassing the internal DAC and outputting audio over USB allows for a cleaner, higher-quality audio signal.

According to discussions on Head-Fi (, while the OTG cable itself does not affect sound quality, using it to connect an external DAC can improve audio performance. The external DAC likely has superior components and engineering compared to the DAC built into the mobile device.

Likewise, a Reddit thread ( confirms that the OTG cable does not directly impact sound, but allows connecting an external DAC which provides higher quality audio processing.

Overall, using an OTG cable allows you to leverage superior external audio components, bypassing the internal DAC and analog circuitry of a mobile device. This results in audibly cleaner and more accurate sound compared to the standard headphone jack output.

Other Uses of OTG

OTG cables have many additional uses beyond just audio output.[2] Some other common uses of OTG cables on Android devices include:

Connecting peripherals like keyboard, mouse etc.
The USB port on Android devices can be used to connect various peripherals including keyboards and mouses, using an OTG cable. This allows for easier typing and navigation than the on-screen keyboard and touch controls.

Accessing external storage devices.
OTG cables allow you to read and write data to external USB flash drives, hard drives and other storage devices. This provides expanded storage beyond what is available on your Android device. You can easily transfer files back and forth.

Overall, OTG cables greatly expand the I/O capabilities of Android devices for connecting peripherals, accessing additional storage and more.[1] Just make sure your device supports OTG before trying to use these extra functions.


In summary, OTG cables provide an easy way to get wired audio output from your Android device. By connecting external DACs or amplifiers via an OTG cable, you can bypass the onboard DAC and headphone amp in your phone or tablet to get superior audio quality. The key benefits are higher bitrates, less noise and distortion, and the ability to drive high-impedance headphones properly.

Most Android devices running Android 3.1 or higher support OTG audio out of the box. You just need to enable OTG support in Settings, connect your DAC or amp via the OTG cable, and use a compatible media app like USB Audio Player Pro. With the right gear, OTG audio can provide studio-quality listening from your mobile device.

While Bluetooth is more convenient for portable use, OTG audio provides unmatched fidelity, making it the preferred wired option for audiophiles. As Android hardware and apps continue to improve, OTG will become an even more compelling way to enjoy high-res music on your phone or tablet.

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