Using ipad to play HR audio via headphones

Need to update my old android tablet and considering purchase of ipad 2021 256Gb.
I wondered if I could use it to play HR audio files (FLAC) listening via headphones.
I have received various advice/information and wondered if a Naim forum member had used such a set up?
Some information I have already:

  1. In order to copy across to ipad from hardrive or USB stick - use of the Files App is required. (a “Consumer Store” representative said I would need a computer to do this AND I would loose quality of HR audio file - this I believe is incorrect?)

  2. It looks as though I can use the ipads own “app/system” to listen to a FLAC file, but this may be limited to 24/48 (ASSUME anything above this will be compressed down?)

This limitation 24/48 comes up when searching on Google - perhaps I am misunderstanding this?

  1. To listen to FLAC files above this quality ie. 24/96 or above, I would require an App such as “Neutron” or “Poweramp” on the ipad which can “play” files in various qualities. It is known that the ipad will output 24/96 using lightning to USB connection on a DAC (not clear above 24/96? But because the ipad is dealing with this signal/amplification for headphone use - is it compressed back down for its internal amplification?

  2. For someone who may use the ipad for “playing” HR audio either to a DAC or using headphones - How user friendly is the ipad (itself or with the Apps above) ie. Is it easy to set up a track play list or would you have to select from scratch each track from the ipad’s stored files (single selection). That would make it a bit cumbersome.

If someone is conversant in the use of the ipad in this mode, I would be grateful for their experience.
Many Thanks

Don’t bother with Apple Music/iTunes. There are third party apps such as VLC or Onkyo HF Player which do a good job of handling HiRes music on iOS devices.

Thanks for your advice on apps. Sounds as though I’m not going down a pointless route then. Any knowledge regarding the quality questions & possible compression?

I use Roon with a portable dac a xdsd gryphon, you can use high res with qobuz, tidal, Apple Music and a dongle dac or any other type of dac, with Roon it passes to the dac max DSD 256 with no problem, and if you have Roon can opt to use Roon ark on the iPad, download your music on Wi-Fi and listen on the go.

To get the most of high resolution files you will need a dac, even Apple does not support it without a dac.

You can also do the same with an iPhone, with the same apps and same requirements.

If you have a collection of high res files it’s simple to load then into an app that can handle them and see how they sound.
For best sound quality I would be more concerned with choice of headphones and a suitable DAC/headphone amp to drive them.
Personally I prefer to keep portable music away from phones and tablets and use a dedicated portable music player, and there is plenty of choice out there from the likes of Sony, Fiio, A&K etc.
If you prefer to use an iPad you may want to investigate separate DACs such as an Audioquest Dragonfly.
There are many different options out there.

Thanks for reply. I have Sennheiser 660 to utilise (reasonable set of phones - my opinion). The A&K route was considered (additional box and outlay) but for the times it would be put to use currently (perhaps once a week for short period), an extravagant route.
As the tablet was on the list to buy it seemed an attractive alternative use.
Regarding comment on an additional DAC/Amp to run the phones, (assume ipad battery driving phones for a 1-2hr stint, not an issue) - You have concerns on an App such as Neutron to deal with the processing of the HR file and relying on the ipads amplification? Thanks J

Thanks for comment

Another Naim option would be a V1. Designed to run straight from a computer over USB so no network issues to consider. I reckon this would be a better performer than a Unitiqute. The only problem is that you would need a power amp or powered speakers.

Chris thanks for comment (not sure if it should have been linked to some other question?) - But just for clarification - I have a listening system already HGC3 Benchmark feeding ATC Actives - The ipad/headphone use, was for the odd occasion I get to sit else where in the house and want a to listen.

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