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Old 06-24-2009, 12:46 PM
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Default Samsung YP-P3 DIY Line Out Dock (LOD) - lots of pics warning!

Part One: Complete noob guide.
Part Two: Some more basic question & answers.
Part Three: The 'how to' guide.



BEFORE PROCEEDING PLEASE READ MY DC OFFSET WARNING!!!!

Part One
"What is a P3 LOD?"

LOD stands up line out dock, but in this case it is really a line out cable. It allows the user to take audio from the USB connection port at the bottom of the player instead of the headphone jack. The main advantage of this is to get a 'line out' signal rather than a standard 'headphones out' signal. This would be most advantageous when using an external headphone amplifier, or plugging the P3 into a home stereo.

"What is a line out signal?"

Basically there are three things required to make any MP3 player work. These three things are a digital audio file, DAC and amplifier.

Firstly the music has to be stored in some kind of file, such as an Mp3, Wav, Flac, Ogg, Wma etc. Secondly, you need something to turn that digital audio file (Mp3 etc) into an analogue signal our ears can hear (IE: music). The DAC, or digital to analogue converter does this. Finally you need something to make it louder / quieter (volume control), add EQ effects like bass boost (DSNe) etc. This is where the amplifier steps in.

In theory, the P3 LOD would be taking the audio directly from the DAC (digital to analogue converter) effectively bypassing this internal amplifier. This is normally called a 'line out' connection. The line out would then be plugged into an external amplifier, as mentioned earlier. The idea is you will get a more 'pure' sound by avoiding having the music amplified twice.

"But my P3 sounds great, why bother with an external amp / LOD?"

You bet the P3 does sound great on its own. However like any Mp3 player, it can sound even better when used with a quality external amp. A small percentage of people will always look for the best sound quality they can get, even if it means slicing up a cable. Although the P3 sounds great, the tiny little surface-mounted built-in amp can't quite compete with a quality external amp. It pushes the sound quality to the extreme.

Part Two:

"Who should / can build this?"

Firstly you'll need access to a spare cable. In theory any cheap aftermarket cable will do. I got mine for £2.50 on eBay. Don't do this unless you have a spare cable. Secondly it requires some pretty tricky soldering, although the actual idea is quite simple. De-solder 3 pins, slide pins into appropriate slots, re-solder pins to cable. But all three pins are extremely close together and very small. I would consider this an 'intermediate' project, but really about the worse you can do is mince a cheap aftermarket cable.

"Is it true line out?"

Well the short answer is I don't know. The slightly longer answer is 'probably not' - for starters you can still use volume and DSNe effects, which is a pretty good sign its not coming straight from the DAC. Also as mentioned below, I see no difference in DC output. It does sound different, but its not a gigantic difference. So unless someone with some knowledge is willing to do a tear-down, or unless someone with some influence finds out direct from Samsung (*cough cough, hint hint*) I guess probably not is the best answer.

It should be noted that the Sansa Fuze is said to have true line out yet it allows you to access volume and EQ when using a LOD, something to do with the chip configeration or something. So who knows?

Part Three:

Okay, a couple of things first.

One: So far I have not been able to detect any DC offset. This actually makes me a little more worried than actually detecting some, because I'm starting to think I'm not measuring it correctly. Anyway, many LODs produce potentially headphone damaging amounts of DC offset, so you're external amplifier will need DC protection, such as input capacitors. To learn more about this try clicking here:
http://www.rock-grotto.co.uk/dcoffset.htm
Please make sure you understand this before proceeding.

Two: I was a bit of an idiot and used the official Samsung cable instead of the cheap aftermarket cable because I didn't think it had the right pins. Turns out it did (I'm pretty sure). These instructions are a general guide only, there are probably much smarter ways of doing this. My method involved dosoldering / resoldering each pin individually to the cables; however please bare in mind I was doing this for the first time, without any help from guides etc so I did the best I could. Feel free to comment with improvements though. Also the pictures of my cable will probably look different from your cable, but the general idea will be the same, so don't stress it.

I used this
http://*********.com/files/P2/Servic...P2-e-6-pcb.pdf
and this
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/san...de-56k-421318/

as my basis for building the cable. May make for some interesting reading if my guide is too vague for you.
EDIT: Ok, its editing a URL, so just google Samsung P2 PCB layout. I used this assuming (correctly) they would use the same pin outs as both the P2 and P3 cable are the same!


Okay, lets go.

First of all you'll need to disassemble your cable. Both my cables simply required two screws to be removed, and then I used a stanley knife to pry it open: it may have two clips up the top which should open with a little pry.



Inside there should be about 7 'pins' which stick into the connector. You'll need to get three of those pins into pin numbers 17, 18, 19. Look at the picture below.





The view is 'from behind' the plug. Pin number 1 is on the far left and pin 24 is on the far right. It is easier to count back from 24 IMO. You can see below I removed the little PC board altogether, removing the pins and placing them individually into the slots. However, soldering them this way to the cable is very difficult. In retrospect disoldering the entire pin from the board (not just the end bit) and resoldering them back onto the board may have worked better. The cable will probably have 4 smaller coloured cables, you will only need three.

Pin 17 is audio right.
Pin 18 is audio left.
Pin 19 is ground.



Think really carefully about how you are going to solder the pins so close together, and count very carefully. You will need to remove the metal bit on the outside of the plug to access the pins properly.

When you have inserted the pins, in the right light you should be able to see them from the 'front view' of the cable. They need to be pushed in fairly far.



Okay, now hook up each pin to a cable. Write down which colour is connecting to which pin. Try to keep the wires at an even length so there is no 'pull' on a particular pin. You may or may not omit the little PC board, its up to you. It may be easier to keep it. Any spare pins don't throw out, your soldering may come loose and a pin may break. You may need spares.



Once the wires are soldered to the pins you've done the hardest part. If you want to test your connection reassemble the connector with the metal bit and the outter shell if you like. Insert into the P3, make sure your in headphone and not speaker mode, and see if you can get some weak audio signal from the left and right channel. Without ground connected it will be very quiet, but you should get a weak signal. Don't bother trying to touch the wire to your headphone stereo jack, it will need to be pressed against the input jack on your amp or something. Once your happy, solder the three wires to a stereo jack and clean it up a bit. I used some heatshrink near the P3 connection to try to stop the cable from swiveling at this end. If you don't stop it from swiveling your soldering will come loose, trust me!









How does it SOUND!????

Good question. I would love to hear some other peoples opinions, so I'm not going to say too much here. Basically to my ears its a shade louder, maybe 10%. Also its a bit fuller sounding, not as 'dry' as the headphone out. Maybe sound-stage is a tad wider, not as 'mushy' - no particular part of the music really changes, maybe the bass is a tad fuller. Overall, to my ears, it sounds glossier, fuller, richer. And yes, better. But we're talking about pushing the last 5-10 percent out of an already great sounding player. But yeah, its good.

One little side note, I was having problems with the cable and my LM4562 op amp, it was only playing when I used my fingers to 'ground' the channels - no other op amp had that problem and I didn't have this problem when using the headphone jack. So I am using my OPA2277 now, which sounds good, but is not as detailed or intense. A really detailed op amp may show some more differences between the LOD and headphone out!

So what are you waiting for. Crank out that soldering iron!
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Last edited by robjrock; 06-25-2009 at 02:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2009, 01:46 PM
Mr C Mr C is offline
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I'll try to build one when I'm less busy with work.
Thanks a lot for trying this, I gave up on doing one for the P3 after I saw that there was no real line out via the dock connector on the P2.
Btw think caps could help?
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2009, 01:48 PM
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robjrock, Nice job, made as sticky
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:50 PM
EowynCarter EowynCarter is offline
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Intersting. So there is a sound signal in that connector.
That makes making a dock possible. .
Why are the ipop monopolising the market for this kind of things
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  #5  
Old 06-24-2009, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr C View Post
Btw think caps could help?
While adding caps to the cable certainly can't hurt, I'm not actually reading any more DC offset then comes from the headphone jack (virtually nil in both cases) so assuming my readings are correct, caps technically aren't needed. I would like someone else to corroborate this though, after all I'm not incredibly experienced with audio / electrics and I am using a cheap £5 multimeter! However adding some caps would be a good 'better safe than sorry' type idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
robjrock, Nice job, made as sticky
Cheers!
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Last edited by robjrock; 06-24-2009 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:31 PM
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Nice, Rob - good on you for taking the time to explain and post with photos.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:53 PM
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really nice job there
really well presented also, nice pics and very good all round
this stands good for what i was wanting to do.
I like docks for my player where they can be sat in and not have them rolling about on the desk, i am desperate for a dock for the P3 but seeing as samsung dont seem to care mush about things we will never see it

anyway thanks for all this, well done
BTW what are all the pins in the connector actually for ???
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Old 06-25-2009, 04:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maderin1 View Post
BTW what are all the pins in the connector actually for ???


This is for the P2 pin outs, but I'm pretty sure they are the same.
The two on the far left I think are to power the little light that is built into the aftermarket eBay cable (its a bit different from the standard cable) - other than that I suppose the remaining pins are simply data transfer + - , power / charge transfer + - , and probably cradle detect so the P3 knows to go into connection / charge mode. To be honest I haven't really analysed all the pins, I just picked out the ones I needed

Also, I do believe the Fiio E5 has DC protection at least according to this thread http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/q...gerous-412139/ but the E3 does not! So I prolly won't test the LOD with my E3, but any E5 owners should be safe..!
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  #9  
Old 06-26-2009, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robjrock View Post


Also, I do believe the Fiio E5 has DC protection at least according to this thread http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/q...gerous-412139/ but the E3 does not! So I prolly won't test the LOD with my E3, but any E5 owners should be safe..!
Thanks will try it out tomorrow for sure. Has no one else tested this? Have you fried anything yet?
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2009, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinobi00 View Post
Thanks will try it out tomorrow for sure. Has no one else tested this? Have you fried anything yet?
Haven't managed to fry anything yet, but I have had a couple of issues with my cmoy and the ground (sometimes called 'common' or 'earth') on the LOD... basically as mentioned at the end of my guide a couple of Op Amps were only working when I 'grounded' the left / right channels with my fingers ...

I tested the LOD with my Fiio E3 using a pair of 60 pence eBay earphones (boy do they sound good ) and I had no issues - sounded fine.

Op Amps that had the grounding problems were OPA2111, LM4562 & LME49860... as I said no such problems with the Fiio (plastic case!) or OPA2132 or OPA2277... go figure...

EDIT: Actually upon some further inspection, the OPA2111 instability issues were probably caused by lack of voltage, not a shonky ground channel. Maybe the LOD doesn't get along with National Semiconductor chips so much? (LMxxxx - LMExxxx)

EDIT 2: Ok, ignore all the posts about grounding issues, turns out it was an impedance issue. Shouldn't effect anyone, it was just an issue with my Cmoy, not the LOD.





Quote:
Originally Posted by DAVEYRAVEYGRAVEY View Post
Do you think that the pins would be the same for the K3? Since I just can't get left audio out of the jack anymore, even after attempting to repair it.. Would be great to get that working again becasue it had excellent battery life compared to my P2.
If the P3 cable fits your K3 (& if it works, IE. charges it or whatever) I'd think it has a good chance of working.
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Last edited by robjrock; 06-28-2009 at 11:40 AM.
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  #11  
Old 06-30-2009, 08:14 PM
shinobi00 shinobi00 is offline
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In my 1000th classic stoner moment, I left my fiio at a friends house Friday. I finished the mod, I'm just not testing without the fiio. will pick up and listen Friday, and have impressions prob sat morning. Why are you other people so lazy?
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:24 PM
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Real nice. Once I get better with toying with electronics, I may give this a try.

Really like the altoids box too heh.
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2009, 11:19 PM
shinobi00 shinobi00 is offline
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Wow Nice! I have a spare cable, but all I have is an e5 so I'm not sure I want to mess anything up. Probably gonna give it a shot tomorrow anyways.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:33 AM
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nice job, good information
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:20 AM
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really fantastic job, robjrock!
this makes me wonder what all the pins are for, and if the video out cable it technically feasible...
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:09 PM
DAVEYRAVEYGRAVEY DAVEYRAVEYGRAVEY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electron
this makes me wonder what all the pins are for, and if the video out cable it technically feasible...
I don't think the P2 or the P3 have a video out and I can't check since the PDFs are not available from Samsung anymore AFAIK... anyone?

If this will work for the p2 as well maybe it should be stickied in the p2 forum too.
Thanks for the tutorial!
Do you think that the pins would be the same for the K3? Since I just can't get left audio out of the jack anymore, even after attempting to repair it.. Would be great to get that working again becasue it had excellent battery life compared to my P2.
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:12 PM
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Yes I got it. My headphones have some bass now I didn't get a chance to listen last night, so I'll have something up in a couple hours. So far so good though.

Edit: Arg got it working fine with a t10 cable. It's a lot more difficult with the cables that come with the mp3 player. Got it working for about 30 minutes. I noticed a volume increase and better quality overall, but I was just listening to a talk show in mono. Will try a some music a bit later after I re solder it(not now). Hopefully I can get this done before I go see fireworks.

Edit2: Listened to some trance last night, and everything is much better. Sound stage is wider, Treble has more sparkle, bass is punchier, etc. Everyone with an amp should do this mod. I Love my re2s even more now even though my right channel is going out. Can't wait to get a better amp.

Rob have you Had the headphone jack and the line out in use at the same time? I wouldn't think it would cause any problems but I'm not 100% sure.

Last edited by shinobi00; 07-05-2009 at 01:27 PM.
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  #18  
Old 07-05-2009, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinobi00 View Post
Rob have you Had the headphone jack and the line out in use at the same time? I wouldn't think it would cause any problems but I'm not 100% sure.
I have sort of. I had my LOD plugged into my cmoy and the headphone jack plugged into my Fiio to do some comparisons, but I didn't have more than one set of headphones plugged in at a time, if you know what I mean.

They do seem to work simultaneously.

Nice to see you've had positive results. I agree on the improved soundstage and generally bigger sound. The headphone out sounds a little 'compressed' by comparison.

My LOD + Cmoy reminds me a lot of having the DSNe 'Clarity' settings turned on, but better. As in it produces a similar difference in sound, but just does it better!
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Old 07-06-2009, 12:59 AM
shinobi00 shinobi00 is offline
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I just sat outside for an hour listening to the same album I've heard 1000 times(good a/b) and i'm noticing different things. I was thinking my fiio has finally burned in but it was over 120hrs a week ago. It's just that the lod is that awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robjrock View Post
Nice to see you've had positive results. I agree on the improved soundstage and generally bigger sound. The headphone out sounds a little 'compressed' by comparison.

My LOD + Cmoy reminds me a lot of having the DSNe 'Clarity' settings turned on, but better. As in it produces a similar difference in sound, but just does it better!
Have you used your clarity settings? I'm trapped on +1. 0 Isn't worth my time. Which makes me think it's not a true line out. Could just be my equipment though.

I'm wondering how you would compare the sound to your clip.

All in all it definitely improves sound quality, and it's pretty much a must if you appreciate sound in general. I wish walkgood or some others would give it a try.

Last edited by shinobi00; 07-06-2009 at 01:10 AM.
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  #20  
Old 07-06-2009, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinobi00 View Post
Have you used your clarity settings? I'm trapped on +1. 0 Isn't worth my time. Which makes me think it's not a true line out. Could just be my equipment though.

I'm wondering how you would compare the sound to your clip.

All in all it definitely improves sound quality, and it's pretty much a must if you appreciate sound in general.
I'm not surprised you like clarity settings on 1. My Cmoy (which uses a LME49860 op amp) adds a lot of brightness to the sound (treble basically) so it sounds somewhat similar to having the clarity settings on, but marginally better.

The FiiO (I haven't heard the E5 mind, but I have the E3) adds bass and rolls off the treble, making the sound a little darker. So clarity settings would counter-act this, I guess

Its not that one sounds is better or worse, just a matter of personal taste.

Although it seems unlikely it really is true line out, because sound straight from a DAC shouldn't have effects / EQs & stuff on it, MP3 player circuits are realistically much more complicated than a simple MP3 > DAC > AMP set up. Difference chips serve multiple functions, DACs have amps built in, and all kinds of crazy crap!

Oh, IMHO -

Sansa Clip (no eq) better Sammy P3 > No DSNe > Headphone Out
Sansa Clip (no eq) equals Sammy P3 > DSNe on > Headphone Out
Sansa Clip (no eq) equals Sammy P3 > No DSNe > LOD > Basic Headphone Amp
Sansa Clip (no eq) worse Sammy P3 > DSNe on > LOD > Basic Headphone Amp
Sansa Clip (no eq) worse Sammy P3 > DSNe on > Headphone Out
Sansa Clip (no eq) worse Sammy P3 > No DSNe > LOD > Good Headphone Amp
Sansa Clip (EQ on) worse than all above combo's (Clips EQ sucks!)

I gave my Sansa Clip to my g/f. I still use it occasionally, its a great little player. YMMV of course.
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