iPhone 5 + iOS 7 talks digital to ALO Audio International


No, ALO Audio’s International isn’t new and no it hasn’t seen any updates.  It’s still a handheld DAC and headphone amplifying combo unit.  It still promises 8-10 hours of the on-the-go DAC+amp action between charges. It still handles both single-ended and balanced connections. Its internal DAC still deals up to 24bit/96kHz. It’s still available in black or silver and it still sells for US$599.

However, a fluke (?) of Cupertino-coding in iOS 7 means the iPhone 5 can now talk directly and digitally to ALO’s handheld DAC/amp combo. Access to the phone’s digital audio is provided by the chip set embedded in the $29 Lightning-to-USB camera adaptor cable.


“Prior to iOS 7, the International was unable to take the digital stream from an iPhone, and you had to use things like this $699 Cypher Labs Solo. Now all you need is a $29 Apple Lighting to USB cable. Pretty cool to be able to use the International with an iPhone.”, says ALO founder Ken Ball.

“Pretty cool”? Damn straight it is.

You can see more on how this all cables together in ALO Audio’s rough and ready video.

This trick looks set to work with the iPad Mini and later generations of the iPad, essentially any model with the Lightning connector. However, be advised that only the iPhone 5 has been confirmed as a ‘go’ with bit depth and sample rate topping out at 16bit/48kHz.


The International’s newly-established digital dialogue with the iPhone 5 plonks it right next to the likes of Cypher Labs Theorem 720 DAC (US$899) and CEntrance’s HiFi-M8 (US$699) for portable, audiophile-quality iPhone playback.

Further Information: ALO Audio

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
Instagram: DarkoAudio
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  1. Mr. D… Just thought I would chip in.
    Reading the frenzied experiments going on over at Head-fi it looks like a number of portable amp/ dacs are now iPhone accesible. You can use iPhone 4 and 4S with the CCK and iPhone 5 with the USB adapter. Fiio, Leckerton, HRT and the Dragonfly have all been confirmed. I would not be suprised to find out that the lion share of portable amp/dacs out there have suddenly been given the same priviledge as HifiM8 and CLAS.

    I would think that this is at least an aggravating development to the Centrance’s, Peachtree’s and Cypher Labs of the world… They pay the steep licensing fees to gain access to Apple’s digital audio stream, pay the R&D to develop signature products and then Apple turns around and opens it up the spigot for free to everyone else.

    I’d be curious to know if Apple has violated terms of their licensing agreements with Centrance and Cypher Labs somehow…. and will they be forced to put a cork in the bottle when the MFI crowd starts complaining. As scary as tangling with Apple must seem, I gotta believe Michael Goodman has too much riding on the HifiM8 to let it go on… Likely to piss off some Head-fiers in the process, but it’s his/ their livelihood.