could use some helpful opinions for stereo upgrade - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-09-2013, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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currently im using a harman kardon avr 147 in stereo, using the "bridge" with a 160g ipod classic that contains itunes tracks and lossless tracks from my cd collection, and they play through either my Klipsch B-20's, Paradigm Atom Monitors v7 or Infinity P162's. Not to my question would i get noticably better audio from a Emotiva stereo pre-amp tied to a 125 watt Emotiva 2 channel amp topped off with a Nu Force dac......sorry i just use the hell out of my ipod. My budget idea was to get the Yamaha R-S500 so I can make use of my Yamaha YDS-12 Ipod dock. I appreciate any info i can get. Thank you all
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-09-2013, 10:38 PM
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I would avoid NuForce products.

I don't think the Classic can output a digital signal, so a DAC wouldn't do you much good, but the analog line out seems fine anyway. (while measurements via RMAA may not be 100% accurate, it's safe to say that the line out is pretty good on those iPods)

Properly designed amplifiers should not have a "sound" to them, so unless there is something wrong with your harman/kardon AVR, I don't know that I would bother to change it.
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-10-2013, 03:50 AM
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The doc connector is a usb device. I believe it is digital. Check to see if your avr has a usb input that accepts digital. My denon avr does accept digital this way.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-10-2013, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

The doc connector is a usb device. I believe it is digital. Check to see if your avr has a usb input that accepts digital. My denon avr does accept digital this way.
You can send digital or analog audio out via the dock connector, and I don't think the iPod Classic has a digital output option, only an analog line-out.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-10-2013, 05:34 PM
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I connect my iPod Classic to my AVR (Integra DTR 9.9) via Pure i-20. I'm happy with the SQ I get from Pure i-20.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

You can send digital or analog audio out via the dock connector, and I don't think the iPod Classic has a digital output option, only an analog line-out.

It's got to be digital. The songs are uploaded to the ipod in digital through the usb provided doc connector. They can be played back that way as well.
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by glangford View Post

It's got to be digital. The songs are uploaded to the ipod in digital through the usb provided doc connector. They can be played back that way as well.
Data transfers are not the same thing as digital audio.
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

It's got to be digital. The songs are uploaded to the ipod in digital through the usb provided doc connector. They can be played back that way as well.
Data transfers are not the same thing as digital audio.

Please expound further on that topic. What are the differences that you see?
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnygeezy View Post

currently im using a harman kardon avr 147 in stereo, using the "bridge" with a 160g ipod classic that contains itunes tracks and lossless tracks from my cd collection, and they play through either my Klipsch B-20's, Paradigm Atom Monitors v7 or Infinity P162's. Not to my question would i get noticably better audio from a Emotiva stereo pre-amp tied to a 125 watt Emotiva 2 channel amp topped off with a Nu Force dac......sorry i just use the hell out of my ipod. My budget idea was to get the Yamaha R-S500 so I can make use of my Yamaha YDS-12 Ipod dock. I appreciate any info i can get. Thank you all

The answer is always the same. Beyond a readily achievable point which I think you have achieved, the biggest gains in sound quality are most easily achieved with upgrades to speakers and room acoustics.

In your case the Klipsch B-20s, the Atom Monitors or the Infinity P162s are all really pretty good but small speakers that have very audible SQ issues due to their size and nature. If you want better SQ look at the room and look at the possibility of adding a good subwoofer.

If you are in a dorm or small apartment and good bass would be anathema, look at headphones.
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

Data transfers are not the same thing as digital audio.

Denon reports that the Ipod classic is compatible with the usb port on the denon 3311ci, hence it must be putting out a digital signal.

http://ca.denon.com/DocumentMaster/US/Denon_iDevice_Compatibility_060211.pdf
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post #11 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

Data transfers are not the same thing as digital audio.

Denon reports that the Ipod classic is compatible with the usb port on the denon 3311ci, hence it must be putting out a digital signal.

http://ca.denon.com/DocumentMaster/US/Denon_iDevice_Compatibility_060211.pdf

If I understand how this all works, the USB port on an iPod exposes the music storage function of the iPod to the AVR, instead of playing songs to the AVR. The AVR plays the music files using its own processing and conversions. This seems to be the better route because it means that the music is in the digital domain as long as possible and intermediate conversions to and from analog are avoided.
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post #12 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I have had a chance to read up on the replys and i greatly appreciate them, and to clarify a bit my current set-up is in my bed room of my apt, and i dont realy know the size of it. I also have a Bic America F-12 subwoofer connected as well. I guess the whole purpose of this post was to see if upgrading to a pure 2 channel amp would get me a better sq instead of using this HK hometheater reciever in stereo mode, and after exhausting research into this obsession of a great hi fi setup I've come to the conclusion that my ipod is just not going to get me what im wanting to hear. I want to hear all the details which im sure are all gone due to the compression process, again thank you very much
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post #13 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

If I understand how this all works, the USB port on an iPod exposes the music storage function of the iPod to the AVR, instead of playing songs to the AVR. The AVR plays the music files using its own processing and conversions. This seems to be the better route because it means that the music is in the digital domain as long as possible and intermediate conversions to and from analog are avoided.

You are correct Arny, you are inputing digital to the AVR and allowing its dacs and processing to do their thing. Its a much better solution. It also allows the denon remote to control basic core funcitons of the ipod like pause, play, skip selection etc. I used to do this, until Denon made the airplay update free, so now I can just stream the digital files from my computer via i-tunes.
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Please expound further on that topic. What are the differences that you see?
A DAC can only accept a digital audio stream (typically via toslink/coax) where the player (e.g. iPod) is decoding the audio files from, for example, AAC to a digital audio stream.
In the case of an AVR that uses data, it is reading the audio files off the device, and decoding the audio internally.

The iPod classic does not support digital audio out of its dock connector, so you cannot connect it up to an external DAC.
However, if a device can read the data off the iPod, then it will be able to play the files digitally, as it is reading the files, decoding them to digital audio internally, and then running them through its DAC.
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Originally Posted by johnnygeezy View Post

I guess the whole purpose of this post was to see if upgrading to a pure 2 channel amp would get me a better sq instead of using this HK hometheater reciever in stereo mode, and after exhausting research into this obsession of a great hi fi setup I've come to the conclusion that my ipod is just not going to get me what im wanting to hear. I want to hear all the details which im sure are all gone due to the compression process, again thank you very much
The analog line-out of the iPod Classic looks pretty good, but if you buy an AVR that supports digital playback via USB, such as the Denon mentioned here, you should theoretically get better sound from it.

But there is absolutely no point in doing this if you are storing compressed files on your iPod that are below 320k MP3/256k AAC, and ideally you would be using Apple Lossless.
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post #15 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post


The iPod classic does not support digital audio out of its dock connector, so you cannot connect it up to an external DAC.
There are several docks available that will let you connect your iPod to an external DAC. I'm using a cheap one myself for my Classic. I have a choice to connect the dock using either optical or coax to an external DAC or my AVR. In addition, the dock also has its own DAC if you want to use it.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-11-2013, 10:04 PM
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Sorry, I must have been mistaken. I did look around quite a bit, and I couldn't see anything about getting a digital output from the iPod classic - only people complaining that there wasn't any way to.
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post #17 of 18 Old 03-12-2013, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnygeezy View Post

I have had a chance to read up on the replys and i greatly appreciate them, and to clarify a bit my current set-up is in my bed room of my apt, and i dont realy know the size of it. I also have a Bic America F-12 subwoofer connected as well. I guess the whole purpose of this post was to see if upgrading to a pure 2 channel amp would get me a better sq instead of using this HK hometheater reciever in stereo mode, and after exhausting research into this obsession of a great hi fi setup I've come to the conclusion that my ipod is just not going to get me what im wanting to hear. I want to hear all the details which im sure are all gone due to the compression process, again thank you very much

To confirm what others have posted, any sonic problems with music played on the iPod would be in the music files themselves which can be made in such a way that their sonics are audibly degraded, or not. Playing a lossless compressed file on an iPod by means of either its analog output or via a USB mass storage interface provides sound quality that is comparable to that provided by a good audio CD player.

Usually upgrades of the electronics in a reasonably good audio system such as the one you already have do not provide the kind of improvements in sound quality that can be obtained by upgrading speakers and room acoustics.

If this is a bedroom system primarily used for solo listening you may wish to investigate a good pair of stereo headphones.
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-12-2013, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

Sorry, I must have been mistaken. I did look around quite a bit, and I couldn't see anything about getting a digital output from the iPod classic - only people complaining that there wasn't any way to.

The people making this complaint do not appear to be aware of the many existing means for doing this. Furthermore, the belief that an iPod inherently audibly degrades the music played on it is an audiophile myth. In fact any of the iPods play well-made music files with CD quality.
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