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Discussion Starter #1
I currently have a headphone to RCA cable which I use to play my Ipod over the stereo receiver, but was curious....would an Ipod dock will have a sound improvment or does it just add bells and whistles?


If so why would the sound be better with the dock? Is there sound quality lost by using the headphone plug?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Another related question I had.....


When I connect my ipod to my Xbox 360 via USB does anyone know wheather this uses the DAC in the ipod or does the Xbox act as the DAC?
 

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i have a fairly decent audio system in my car and i don't hear any significant difference in SQ between the iPod dock & the headphone output. the dock will have a stronger signal and will never clip. using the headphone output you have to play around with the volume to get the perfect balance between volume and without clipping.

i cannot vouch for other docks though. i had a DLO dock that has a very poor line output, both level- and quality-wise.

apple is very touchy about anything digital that comes out from the iPod. a connection thru the iPod's port does not necessarily indicate a digital audio signal; in fact, i would say 99.5% of the products out there will be just tapping into the analog audio pin outputs from the iPod's port. the only things digital interfacing with the iPod is control and metadata. one example of a truly digital audio interface with the iPod is Wadia Digital's $350 dock. i think some alpine headunits also have a digital audio interface...
 

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I agree with memnoch. There shouldn't be any noticeable difference in quality alone because most docks just use the analog pins. But a dock would be more convenient (balance) and doesn't clip.
 

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Supposedly if you use the right dock, and are playing uncompressed files, you get the most pure signal from the dock, rather than have the ipod do the decoding, then amplifying the signal thru the headphone jack.
 

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Supposedly if you use the right dock, and are playing uncompressed files, you get the most pure signal from the dock, rather than have the ipod do the decoding, then amplifying the signal thru the headphone jack.

This is only true for the Wadia product, mentioned above. The Wadia bypasses the iPod's DAC and provides a digital output. See a review in the current issue of "Playback" magazine (which is an online magazine).
 

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Wouldn't there be a possible improvement in SQ even though both methods are pulling an analog signal? If the majority of the amplification is done by the external amp versus the internal headphone amp, it seems like there would be a possibility of improved SQ.


Then again, I don't know too much about amplification of audio signals, maybe once it's been amplified to a line level output the damage is done.


I would think the convenience of the line out signal would be justification alone, otherwise you're using trial and error to try and get the best balance.


On a related question, does anyone want to weigh in whether they think that using a dock's line out mini jack to RCA would be better or worse than an equivalent interconnect that goes from the USB plug on the dock to RCA? I'm wondering if I should put together a DIY mini to RCA cable or buy an ipod connector and build a DIY cable that way. Third option is to buy a male connector and a female connector and build a custom dock bypassing any possible weak links in the original Ipod dock. Intuition says they'd be the same but I'd like to hear some opinions before I go forward with any one of those.
 

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Intuition says they'd be the same but I'd like to hear some opinions before I go forward with any one of those.

I can't imagine there's going to be a significant difference.
 

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My understanding is that by using the LOD of iPod you would be getting a cleaner unamped signal. Using the HP out is using the iPod's internal amp and then amping it again once it gets to your receiver. The model of iPod also plays a role - some generations/models have been known to have worse sound quality than others when using the HP out. The new 2G Touch supposedly has better SQ than the previous generation thru the HP. I learned all this over at head-fi.org when looking to upgrade my DAP.


Of course, SQ is very subjective and if you can't tell the difference who cares?
 

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Originally Posted by krusty20874 /forum/post/14724912


My understanding is that by using the LOD of iPod you would be getting a cleaner unamped signal. Using the HP out is using the iPod's internal amp and then amping it again once it gets to your receiver. The model of iPod also plays a role - some generations/models have been known to have worse sound quality than others when using the HP out. The new 2G Touch supposedly has better SQ than the previous generation thru the HP. I learned all this over at head-fi.org when looking to upgrade my DAP.


Of course, SQ is very subjective and if you can't tell the difference who cares?

wouldn't this approach be similar when you use those $100++ mini headphone amps? it's also working with the amped HP out and amplifying it again to your headphones. people swear by an increase in SQ when using those headphone amps, so i would imagine it is not necessarily a bad thing working with an already amplified signal...

i do agree with the differing SQ between iPod generations. there is a noticeable increase in SQ from my older iPod Mini to my current iPod Video 3G. there is an existing debate whether the Touches & Nanos are worse because of all that miniaturization...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So I was originally excited about this wadia digital ipod dock and still may purchase it, but I have to say, this seems like a bit of a rip off. It really should not take a sophisticated piece of hardware to simply take a digital audio file and transport it to a receiver. Right?


That being said, I was wondering how this device might sound compare to one of those extremely expensive media servers. It would seem to me like it's serving the same purpose(as long as you've got your ipod song in apple lossless) by transporting high grade digital files to a high quality DAC.
 
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