IPad Pro as Digital Source?

I’ve messed around with connecting my IPad Pro directly to my SGCD with a USB C to B cable. Using Tidal HiFi. The SGCD doesn’t tell me what sample rate it’s being fed as it does when I play CDs via my transport via the coaxial input.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Anyone know what I’m actually getting?

I’m interested in purchasing a dedicated streamer but I’m most willing to wait for a Stellar Streamer if it’s in the works. I could be content to use the iPad direct in the meantime if I knew that I was getting a reasonable rate.

Looks to be pretty good


I’m not on board with the end bit where Ken says it’s basically better than anything out there and don’t bother with external DAC, etc. But it’s a solid source for SGCD.

It’s likely output at 16bits and 48kHz

Tidal’s iOS app already supports Master quality, and I haven’t done a detailed test yet.

But iOS has always had good support for USB Audio. When using Onkyo HF Player, I can follow the original file to get up to 24bit/384kHz or DSD128.

As long as Tidal makes no mistakes, you don’t need any additional settings to get at least 24bit/96kHz at Master Mode (MQA).

I will test it later after work.

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Those are measurements of the iPad as a DAC.

I think the OP is asking about the digital output (USB) of the iPad (per the thread title).

@matthew.vanover the iPad’s USB output can support DSD256 (DoP) and PCM768kHz for me (to a Chord DAC), using it as a Roon endpoint…

There is no ‘exclusive mode’ in iOS (for obvious reasons - incoming calls for example) but you can kind of make the app that you’re using kind of exclusive for audio playback…

If you switch to ‘do not disturb’ mode then the only thing that can interrupt the audio is a call.

A while ago, using it as a Roon endpoint I was able to confirm playback is bit perfect using Ted’s bit perfect test files - as long as a call doesn’t come in (Facetime call for example).

I’ll test later but I think the iOS Tidal app now does the 1st MQA unfold? So you should be getting up to 24/96kHz. For 16/44.1kHz, it will be that.


Tested with Tidal app:

Hifi = 44.1kHz @ 24bit

Master = 88.2kHz @ 24bit

Quite good result!

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Thanks so much. This is really, really helpful.

Is the Stellar GCD supposed to show the rate like that? It does with my transport but not when I plug anything into the USB?

Mine shows the sampling date only…from my mac mini via usb.

Rate… not date.

This makes a lot of sense. We made a hardware revision recently and the rate stopped showing when feeding the signal with USB. All other digital inputs will display. Our team is actively working on a fix for this.