Clipping when playing 44.1/16 content to iPhone w/ no DSP

I was listening on the Roon app on my iPhone today with no DSP or volume leveling enabled and noticed the clipping indicator was red (I have Headroom Management enabled with 0 dB adjustment to enable the clipping indicator).

I thought it might be a badly-mastered track and tried a different track from a different album - same problem, clipping indicator turning red over and over.

I tried playing the same track on my Windows laptop with no DSP (other than the 0 dB headroom adjustment) and it did not clip.

The only difference in the signal paths was that the signal path on my phone showed that Roon was upsampling from the 44.1/16 source (Tidal, not MQA) to 48/24, I guess due to how the iPhone handles audio. On my computer there was no upsampling happening. Just Source>RAAT>System output.

So I went into the DSP options and enabled Sample Rate Conversion from 44.1>48khz on the laptop to try to mimic the signal path from the iphone. After doing so, it showed the same signal path as the iPhone, and lo and behold, the clipping indicator started turning red on the Windows playback. Disabling the sample rate conversion stops the clipping.

So the bottom line is that on the iPhone, with no DSP or volume leveling enabled, lots of tracks are clipping. Presumably this could be solved with a headroom adjustment, but it seems weird to expect everyone playing back to their iPhone to implement a headroom adjustment when listening at baseline settings with no DSP/leveling enabled.

I tried this with 44.1/16 FLAC content from my own library and am seeing the same thing - lots of clipping when playing to iPhone with no DSP enabled.

Can anyone reproduce this? Is this a known issue?

For reference, the tracks that I used on Tidal (and both showed clipping under the conditions described above) were:
Iris Dement - Our Town (Infamous Angel album)
Cornbread and Butterbeans - Carolina Chocolate Drops (Genuine Negro Jig album)

Hello @GuacParty and welcome to the forum.

Reasons for this are documented in DSP Engine: Headroom Management.

So I guess yes, anyone can reproduce this and it’s even documented (so must be known too).

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