iPad Pro 9.7 vs iPad Pro 12.9 HQ audio chip missing?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by stevey69, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. stevey69, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016

    stevey69 macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    In the teardown of iPad Pro of 9.7 vs 12.9 I noticed an audio chip was missing that is for DAC I presume but am not sure and am curious as to what are the differences in audio between two devices if any audiophile can compare n what the chip does. I am a lossless head myself and exclusively listen to ALAC/FLAC/WAV

    iPad Pro 12.9 teardown

    Apple (Cirrus Logic) 338S1213 Audio Codec

    iPad Pro 9.7 teardown

    no such chip

    Source: ifixit

    please check the uploaded picture.
    top pic - iPad pro 12.9
    bottom pic - iPad pro 9.7

    Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.51.34 AM.png Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 12.51.44 AM.png
  2. stevey69 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
  3. phillyboy82 macrumors regular


    Oct 27, 2015
    Not from Philly
    No clue, but good catch on the difference. I see four speaker amplifiers on the 9.7, but nothing that looks like a DAC. I'm not sure how high quality it is... did someone measure it on a previous iPad device as it looks like it has been used on a mini before.
  4. stevey69 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    The cirrus audio codec is missing from 9.7 given it has 4 amps but that doesnt tell us anything regarding the sound quality. Why does the pro 12.9 have the audio codec while 9.7 doesnt...?

    Need an audiophile with equipment to put both of the models to test. Im looking to make decision as to which one is superior for lossless listening because I cant justify keeping both the iPad Pro models haha

  5. Mascots macrumors 68000


    Sep 5, 2009
    Very bizarre, I have a hard time believing that Apple would leave it out, especially since there is room.

    There are a few chips on the front of the board that aren't pointed out by ifit, so it could have been repackaged when placed into the 9.7 board. I don't see it myself, though. Maybe shoot them an email directly and see if they noticed it?
  6. Kal-037 macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2015
    Depends on the day, but usually I live all over.
    I thought it was already established the 12.9" was better quality audio in bass and fullness. At-least comparing the two that's what I noticed, but I don't know if one (me) can consider themselves an Audiophile. All I know is the iPP 12.9" is very loud, full and crisp, and also has a fair amount of bass, while the 9.7" is loud and clear but not AS loud or full, and has essentially no bass in comparison.

  7. MacDevil7334 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2011
    Austin TX
    Possibly a stupid question, but are the speakers on either model really good enough for "lossless" listening? I don't currently own either iPad Pro model nor am I an audiophile. But I think the question you are going to have to ask is whether these improved speaker are really going to compare to a real stereo system or good set of headphones when listening to music? I'm guessing the 12.9 inch model is going to have better sound due to the larger size, truly symmetrical speaker setup, and possibly this audio codec chip. But at the end of the day, both have small speakers crammed into a thin tablet chassis. There is a physical limit to how good they can sound, and I doubt either will really do justice to your lossless media. If you're just going to end up plugging in headphones anyway, what difference does it really make which has the better speakers?
  8. MetalCores macrumors regular


    Apr 30, 2015
    Mosinee, WI
    The speakers on both iPad pros are not up to audiophile quality but built in tablet speakers wouldn't be expected to be. I have however noticed to my ear that the larger iPad does seem to have a larger bass sound when compared to the 9.7 inch. This would make sense because it is a larger enclosure. Both iPads speakers sound amazing tho for being tablet speakers. Better than a lot of the little Bluetooth speakers out there.
  9. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    You really think this chip is going to make a perceptible difference on an iPad? Even with headphones, I would be hesitant to believe there's a significant difference. If you're looking for audiophile quality equipment, you're going to want a digital output running to an external D-A converter and a discreet headphone amp, aren't you? If your headphones are good enough to hear the difference, you shouldn't be using an iPad as a source.
  10. TheRealAlex macrumors 68000

    Sep 2, 2015
    My guesses are.

    #1. A useless chip that no one can tell is missing by listening to Speakers on a Tablet.
    #2. Its wasting too much battery to justify its existence in the 9.7 battery envelope
    #3. Since we know the 12.9 Pro was Rushed to market Apple used the extra time to find a way to accomplish the Cirrus Logic Codec in software.
    #4. Why can't we just have losses Wifi Audio or aptX HD Bluetooth Audio by now Apple's just gonna do away with the 3.5mm Jack and Do losses Audio Via Bluetooth or the Lightning Connector. So its an irrelevant chip I for one am Glad its one less chip wasting power and the A9X is more than up to the task.
  11. Derived macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2015
    Not sure if serious....
  12. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
  13. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    I think op is referring to audio output from the jack
    There can be a possible that listening to your pro home speakers or headphones to be a difference between those two
    So not tablet speakers
  14. stevey69 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    Like Serban said, the audio that im concerned with is the audio output and NOT the speakers on the tablet (lets get real, they are good but far from audiophile standards).

    The 12.9 ipad pro has the CIRRUS chip while 9.7 ipad pro doesnt so, rushing a product in november versus march would mean they should have included the chip rather than omitting it.

    Having aptX codec on board means you would be able to stream the lossless quality over the wifi/BT I presume? Correct me if wrong.

    Why does one ipad pro have it and other doesnt? Is the 12.9 geared towards musicians/video enthusiasts and the 9.7 for colleges/business use where one wouldnt notice the difference anyway?

    Im deeply curious about this chip and google has nothing to add

  15. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    Maybe the apple staff's logic was that the big ome is for in house/work/office use and the other for traveling. Since the camera is better for the traveling one.
  16. jamesrick80 macrumors 68020


    Sep 12, 2014
    Quite frankly, it doesn't have the HQ audio chip like the bigger pro. If it did have it, the teardown would have revealed it. For those smaller pro owners, just be satisfied that you have the better camera and more colorful screen. The larger pro owners should be happy that they have the 4 gb of ram, faster processor, faster gpu, better resolution, and the better audio chip. We all got our money's worth maybe......
  17. hausen macrumors newbie


    Jun 5, 2016
    The codec probably belong to CS42L family. You can zoom in the photo and see it's next to the cpu. According to a chinese headphone forum, the latest apple devices share almost the same sound signature.

  18. RadioGaGa1984 Suspended


    May 23, 2015
    I've reached the conclusion all of their posts are tongue and cheek.
  19. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Jun 6, 2015
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    I used to be an audiophile, all into lossless, etc... then I did several a/b automated blind tests on myself, iPhone to Dacmagic, with my SR325i headphones, and I couldn't consistently pick the lossless tracks from the 256kbps mp3's. And my hearing is excellent, I can consistently hear 20kHz tones.

    It's kind of eye opening. I used this app:
  20. TheRealAlex macrumors 68000

    Sep 2, 2015
    Apple realized no one could ever tell the difference so why bother having the chip at an extra expense. If you really care about audio quality why are you even bothering with an iPad.
  21. Vyas Chady macrumors newbie

    Vyas Chady

    Nov 17, 2016
    --- Post Merged, Nov 17, 2016 ---
    I have both the 12.9 pro and the 9.7 pro and there is a very noticeable difference depending on the external DAC that I use. I use 3 DACs one is the Sound blaster e3 for when I'm on the go, on my PC desk I have an e5 that is connected to some M Audio studio monitors and my living room a Denon AVR X2300w. I have had multiple previous devices mostly androids with amazing sound, but none compares to the IPad Pro 12.9. I have only had the pro 12.9 for 5 days, and I was right now sitting in my lounge with the smaller e3, already tested the rest before, I have various headphones, but this one was the JBL s700, then started to download all my purchased old songs, because right now i only have a few as the rest are being streamed or downloaded. Then was the moment of truth, when I finally decided to have a go with my large speakers Klitsch RF7s full setup. I never intended my 12.9 to be for music because it's too big, i dedicated my phone for that but this just blows out all my other dedicated music devices, period. That's why I decided to check IPad Pro 12.9 DAC and came to this site. I got the Pro 12.9 to be a kitchen Netflix device. Lol.
  22. cibonak macrumors 6502


    Oct 15, 2014
  23. jumpingjackflash macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2016
    I think iPad or iPhone is not that bad audio/video source IF u just keep the output signal digital and do the DA conversion in a good external DAC.

    I like to use my iPad air2 and iPhone 6S Plus as a source and use airplay to the apple tv4, and from apple tv4 i output the signal digitally via hdmi to my external DAC. When using studio headphones at high listening levels for a longer periods I found the external DAC to be a lot smoother and easier for my ears. Theres a lot less listening fatigue than plugging the headphones straight to the iPad or iPhone. But im not sure is that because of ampfilication or better DAC for my headphones. This is apparent regardless the quality of audio source.

    I also think using Airplay helps keeping the signal digital as long as possible and there is no extra DA or AD conversions in between the devices?
  24. ABC5S Suspended


    Sep 10, 2013
    I turn on my iPad Pro 12.9 inch, audio just fine, no further inquiries needed.
  25. bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    I do not know this difference existed...very interesting.

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32 April 20, 2016