Is it possible to get hifi sound out of an IPOD? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 03-09-2008, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone,

Is it possible to get high quality sound from an IPOD hooked up to a moderately priced stereo system? I never thought I would be asking this question on the board here. A couple of years ago i laughed at the notion of hooking an IPOD up but I do see the value in running Itunes playlists and gapless music while entertaining guests at the house. Is there a better way to do this other than using the IPOD? I really do not wish to use the Ipod DACs but am wondering if there is anyway around that. All my music is stored in Apple Lossless format. I experimented with an Onkyo Ipod doc and ran RCA out to my Rotel processor and was very unhappy with the sound. The music just sounded lifeless to me coming from the Ipod. Even some of my non audiophile friends could readily hear the difference between the apple lossless music from the Ipod and the CD playing in my rotel 1072. Any suggestions out there?

Here are my components: Rotel 1095 Amp (200watts per channel x 5), Rotel 1068 processor, Energy Veritas speakers 2.4i, Dedicated rotel 1072 CD transport, MIT AVt-1 cables throughout system.

Thanks for your help,

Ken
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post #2 of 34 Old 03-09-2008, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spkerguy View Post

Is it possible to get high quality sound from an IPOD ?

Audiophile quality?? No.

Acceptable for background music?? Yes.

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post #3 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 01:24 AM
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Yep, Wadia just introduced an iPod dock that bypasses the internal DAC. You'd simply buy an external DAC and use the iPod as a transport. The other option, one that I found to my liking, would be to buy an iPod-to-RCA cable from Audio Line Out. This cable bypasses the crappy headphone output jack and allows you to connect to the main port of the iPod, and then run the RCA inputs into your stereo. I was actually pretty pleased with the results. Another option would be to get a squeezebox. I picked one up last week and it reads my iTunes library and all my apple lossless files perfectly. It's a fantastic product.
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post #4 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 05:35 AM
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I say no ....at least not to my standards. You can get 'good enough' for many people.

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post #5 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 07:58 AM
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yes, you can. The Wadia dock mentioned by Summa is exactly that, you get a pure digital stream that you can use with any digital decoder of your choice. Now all you need is a Lossless rip of your music and it could even sound better than some dedicated CD players.

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post #6 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 08:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

yes, you can. The Wadia dock mentioned by Summa is exactly that, you get a pure digital stream that you can use with any digital decoder of your choice. Now all you need is a Lossless rip of your music and it could even sound better than some dedicated CD players.

By using compression,an ipod can hold a lot of songs. I wonder how many minutes of lossless one will hold? My guess is not a lot. I agree that the sound could (at least in theory) be excellent, though.
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post #7 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your valuable input. The Wadia itransport looks like a product worthy of consideration. Over the weekend I auditioned the Onkyo DS-A2X ipod doc (running L&R RCA out to my processor). The sound was noticeably bad. Everything in my library is stored in apple lossless format but i'm wondering what else could be contributing to the less than acceptable sound. I noticed that the apple error correction box was checked (when importing music) and was wondering if this could explain the sound i'm hearing. When importing music is it better to have the error correction on or off?

Thanks,

Ken
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post #8 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

By using compression,an ipod can hold a lot of songs. I wonder how many minutes of lossless one will hold? My guess is not a lot. I agree that the sound could (at least in theory) be excellent, though.

Apple Lossless *is* compressed and you save about 50% of the space compared to uncompressed Lossless. So a whole CD can be stored in 300MB on average using Apple Lossless.

Take a $349 160GB iPod, use Apple Lossless, doing the math, that's 533 CD's, or say 5000 songs. Plenty for most purposes and a very real replacement for most people's music collection.

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post #9 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 09:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

Apple Lossless *is* compressed and you save about 50% of the space compared to uncompressed Lossless. So a whole CD can be stored in 300MB on average using Apple Lossless.

Take a $349 160GB iPod, use Apple Lossless, doing the math, that's 533 CD's, or say 5000 songs. Plenty for most purposes and a very real replacement for most people's music collection.

That is more than I would have expected. Will the ipod dock on a typical receiver accept lossless, or is the extra hardware required?
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post #10 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 09:49 AM
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To the original question, take a look at John Atkinson's assessment of an early-generation iPod in Stereophile. He notes a somewhat elevated noise floor attributable to the output section, but concludes, "The iPod's measured behavior is better than many CD players..."

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post #11 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

That is more than I would have expected. Will the ipod dock on a typical receiver accept lossless, or is the extra hardware required?

It is output the same way, through the headphone jack or through the audio out in the iPod optional dock. Both are analogue connections so you still are limited by the quality of the iPod's internal circuits. For some this still means the sound quality is compromised (as seen in the OP's post)

There is a third way which has everyone excited, which is using the Wadia iTransport, which sends the pure digital stream out from the iPod. This means that ALL the iPod's audio processing circuitry is bypassed, so you are getting the exact same digital bits as what is stored on the hard disk and what you are getting exactly the same copy as what was on the original CD. This is the first time anybody has been able to get at the digital data on the iPod without modding the hardware.

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post #12 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

That is more than I would have expected. Will the ipod dock on a typical receiver accept lossless, or is the extra hardware required?

I assume that the dock represents nothing more than a place to put the thing and an analog connection to the receiver, doesn't it? The Ipod would do the analog conversion, I would think.
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post #13 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

I assume that the dock represents nothing more than a place to put the thing and an analog connection to the receiver, doesn't it? The Ipod would do the analog conversion, I would think.

Since I know zip about ipods, I thought the dock might provide a digital connection and use the receiver's DAC. Now I know otherwise.
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post #14 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

Since I know zip about ipods, I thought the dock might provide a digital connection and use the receiver's DAC. Now I know otherwise.

Nope, few MP3 players have a digital out. The Wadia solution at $349 is the only way anybody has ever gotten digital out of an iPod. Not sure how they did it, but somehow they cracked the code but with approval from Apple (since it's an Apple approved accessory)

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post #15 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 11:59 AM
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Man I was thinking of getting a Squeeze box but I only use a laptop at home and don't have the storage capabilities. But now with the Wadia 170 and a 160 gb Ipod with lossless music on it my mind has been changed.
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post #16 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Man I was thinking of getting a Squeeze box but I only use a laptop at home and don't have the storage capabilities. But now with the Wadia 170 and a 160 gb Ipod with lossless music on it my mind has been changed.

Well, you still need 160GB of HD storage if you're going to keep that iPod fed.

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post #17 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 01:23 PM
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Just to address a few things:

The iPod's DAC is not all that bad.

The iPod's own analog headphone jack output is actually better than using the (standard) dock's analog headphone jack output.

Using Apple Lossless, I can get ~3 CDs per GB. Of course, this number varies with the complexity of the music and the length of the CDs, but I have found that 3x the number of gigabytes is a good average figure. So, that means you can get ~240 Apple Lossless CDs on an 80GB iPod.

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post #18 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 01:41 PM
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I already own a squeezebox. My g friend has an Iphone with alot of music and she is always wanting to play the songs on my system.

Question, I am not familiar with mac products. How do i download songs to my computer or external drive? I use an external toshiba 200gb.
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post #19 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 02:11 PM
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Quote:


I already own a squeezebox. My g friend has an Iphone with alot of music and she is always wanting to play the songs on my system.

Simple to do. You need a cable with a miniplug on one end and 2 RCAs on the other. Just connect the iPhone to an available audio slot on your receiver or preamp and you're good to go. As noted above, this may not be ideal, because of the noise floor of the phone, but given that you're (probably) only playing lossy files, that's not a big deal.

Quote:


Question, I am not familiar with mac products. How do i download songs to my computer or external drive? I use an external toshiba 200gb.

If you mean, how do I get songs from the iPhone to my computer, that's tricky. There's probably some shareware somewhere that'll do it. This may not be legal, BTW.

If you mean download from online, one way is to download the Windows version of iTunes from Apple's Web site, and then start shopping at the iTunes Store.

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post #20 of 34 Old 03-10-2008, 02:45 PM
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Why not just get an Airport Express (about $80 or less if you look around) and use its optical digital output into your Rotel processor? This will sound MUCH better than the analog output of the ipod itself (or any of the ipod "docks," excepting the Wadia mentioned above).
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post #21 of 34 Old 03-14-2008, 05:11 AM
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iLink dock brings digital output to iPod, with a catch

Posted Dec 28th 2006 5:16AM by Conrad Quilty-Harper

There's no doubt that the audio industry loves audiophiles: a group of people searching for high fidelity who happen to pick up a whole lot of expensive kit on the way (that's where the love comes in). A company called MSB Technology is attempting to tap into this lucrative and exclusive demographic with its iLink Docking System for the iPod. On its own the iLink isn't particularly special, but when it's coupled with an MSB-upgraded iPod it can output true digital audio, something the analog-only iPod has never been capable of doing. You can either opt to send your own 5.5G iPod to MSB -- where they'll upgrade it for you for $199 and provide their own warranty -- or you can go for the full $1995 iLink system -- which includes an iPod upgrade, and an iLink dock that taps into a digital audio enabled iPod's dock connector. Although we don't claim to be audiophiles ourselves, we see a couple of potential problems here, not least the issue of the iPod being an inherently flawed device to market to audiophiles (compressed music = bad). The other little niggle is the two grand price tag, which isn't too far removed from the asking prices of the high-end CD players it's designed to replace.

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post #22 of 34 Old 03-14-2008, 05:13 AM
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portable line-out and FireWire adapter for iPod, iPod photo and iPod mini. line level audio output provided via right angle stereo mini plug. perfect for connecting to portable headphone amplifiers or other equipment with line level input.

features:
  • 6-pin FireWire port (female) on 7-inch cable
  • line level audio output (right angle 1/8-inch [3.5mm] stereo plug) on 7-inch cable
  • works with iPod nano (FireWire charging only - syncing not supported by nano,) iPod color, iPod photo, Click Wheel iPod, iPod (with Dock Connector) and iPod mini
  • available in black or white

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post #23 of 34 Old 03-14-2008, 05:17 AM
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Wadia Digital to debut iTransport digital iPod Dock

By Charles Starrett

Senior Editor, iLounge
Published: Friday, January 4, 2008
News Category: iPod Accessories


Wadia Digital, maker of high-end digital audio products, has announced that it will demonstrate its new iTransport iPod Dock at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. According to Wadia, the iTransport is the “first digital player dock to retrieve a direct digital signal from an iPod.” The dock bypasses the iPod’s internal D/A conversion and output stage, allowing for output of pure, bit-perfect digital audio from full-resolution file formats (such as .WAV and Apple Lossless) stored on the iPod. “Until now, there has been no real bridge between the convenience of an iPod and the high-end audio listening experience,” said John W. Schaffer, president of Wadia Digital. “The goal of making the player a true high-end media server has been hampered by the need to send the digital signal through a portable player’s D/A converter rather than that of a high performance audio system. Instead, we designed iTransport to bypass the player’s converter and output stage altogether. When used with an iTransport, the iPod becomes a digital music source equal to some of the finest sounding transports in the high-end audio market.” In addition to S/PDIF digital audio output, the iTransport will also feature component outputs for DVD-quality video, as well as analog audio and video outputs, and will also feature compatibility with Apple’s standard remote control. Wadia Digital’s iTransport is compatible with all latest-generation, Dock-enabled iPods, including the iPod touch and iPhone, and is expected to be available in February for $349.

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post #24 of 34 Old 03-14-2008, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longfellowfan View Post

Man I was thinking of getting a Squeeze box but I only use a laptop at home and don't have the storage capabilities. But now with the Wadia 170 and a 160 gb Ipod with lossless music on it my mind has been changed.

Get bigger hard drive for a couple of hundred bucks. The iPod is a portable music device. Why not use it that way. What's the point in trying to turn it into hi fi component.
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post #25 of 34 Old 03-14-2008, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Get bigger hard drive for a couple of hundred bucks. The iPod is a portable music device. Why not use it that way. What's the point in trying to turn it into hi fi component.

That is true, but it's nice to have the choice if you actually do want a true hifi transportable device. What if you have a summer cottage and need to bring your music, or you want to bring your music to store to audition equipment. Basically, the Wadia dock can give you true audiophile quality source without the hassles of setting up those Squeezeboxes, running a computer 24/7, or buying a lot of other boxes like a Sonos system.

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post #26 of 34 Old 03-14-2008, 11:16 PM
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What is the ETA on the Wadia iTransport? I posted a thread in the Dedicated Transport Thread with no response. Wadia, keeps saying there online preorder will start in a few weeks, then a few weeks pass by and nothing. I thought it was originally supposed to start shipping in Feb?
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post #27 of 34 Old 03-15-2008, 06:26 AM
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It is intersting that you can now get digital output from an ipod. I didn't think they'd allow that. I wonder if future ipods will also be supported.

If you really want to get audiophole output from an ipod it is probably not too hard.
Ipod -> Mac mini (running itunes) -> good dac -> good stereo
The mac mini probably costs a little more than the dedicated devices, but is perhaps more future proof. Me, I just connect my mac to my stereo via benchmark dac1.
No ipod can hold all my music, but it does make a nice portable device.

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post #28 of 34 Old 03-15-2008, 11:41 AM
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Anyone hear or own the Krell Kid....it is a $1200 dock that digitally controls the analog out. In this regard its approach is different than the Wadia dock.

It would be interesting to compare the two.
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post #29 of 34 Old 03-17-2008, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavu View Post

Audiophile quality?? No.

Acceptable for background music?? Yes.

+1
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post #30 of 34 Old 03-17-2008, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porsche951 View Post

+1

-1

See above discussion

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