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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I know this is an old topic, but I have read all the forums and done my own testing and have a very specific question if someone has already gone down this path...


I have a near-audiophile stereo system that includes a couple of daisy-chained 400-disk CD players. I want to replace the players with a single 160GB iPod. I have done all my own testing and determined that for all intents and purposes I cannot tell the difference between the lossless formats and bit rates as low as 192, so I know I can fit everything onto a single iPod.


The problem is that the sound coming out of my speakers via the iPod is just downright terrible compared to the sound from my CD player. Even songs recorded in lossless format are flat and mushy in the middle and is completely unacceptable in the bass range.


When I just listen to the iPod through the stereo it kind of sounds OK, but when I play the same track on the CD and quickly switch between the two, the difference is obvious to everyone I ask to listen. (Although few can tell the difference in formats at 192 and above.)


I've tried connecting via the headphone jack to RCA plugs - this is just pathetic. I've tried a $150 "high end" home theater docking station from DLO that has RCA jacks. This is better but there is still no where near real CD quality coming out.


I know that the lossless format is real CD quality. I've read that if you burn a CD using it and play it on a CD player, the sound is real CD quality. So, the problem must be that the iPod hardware just cannot output anything close to CD quality sound through either of its output ports.


Am I off base? Can someone shed some light on this for me?


Thanks.


Yancy
 

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As you stated you have a 160Gb iPod, I'm assuming that is the iPod classic model. Different model iPods use different technologies like Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) which have a huge impact on your sound quality. Google is a great tool. I went to google, typed in "ipod classic sound quality", hit search and found tons of articles. Here's one you may find interesting: http://blog.wired.com/music/2007/09/...lassics-s.html


Hope this helps!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I think it goes without saying that Google is a great tool. I've spent hours reading everything that it has to offer on this subject. Unfortunately, none of them address the specific situation I am having. I guess I was hoping for too much to find someone who has actually bought a 160G iPod Classic and figured out how to get real CD quality sound out of it. There's plenty of speculation out there about a DAC problem, but no real solution offered.


More generally, I find it amazing how few people have done any simple testing themselves to understand just how bad iPod sound quality is compared to CD. It's a simple test to do yourself: just listen to both side by side. Even at lossless, the iPod just is not that good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm having a conversation with myself here, but since I have found other people posting the same sort of question in different places, maybe this will help them. I have 3 dedicated CD players and 2 devices that also play CDs in my stereo system. The key point is that they all sound the same.


When I plugged in the iPod to the system (via a "high end" DLO home theater docking station that includes RCA jacks) I assumed that since I had ripped in a lossless format I would get sound similar to all 5 CD players. As noted in previous posts, that was far from the case. However, after playing with all the various pre-set equalizer options on the iPod I have found a setting that is reasonable enough to be acceptable. So, after way too much effort, I'm satisfied enough to not return everything.


So, perhaps some user error was part of the problem, but it does seem odd that an iPod in the default equalizer setting sends out sound that is so very much inferior to 5 different CD players. It is also very much a pain in the rear to have to start worrying about proper equalizer settings and the fact that only a limited number of equalizer options are available.


But, I'm keeping it.
 

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What I see mostly is with a 160 Gig iPod, people use a LOD cable and amp it. I heard that the audio from the headphone jack in the 5 gen is lacking so people use the output from the dock.


If you can, try doing that and see if its better.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancyl /forum/post/14298389


Thanks. I think it goes without saying that Google is a great tool. I've spent hours reading everything that it has to offer on this subject. Unfortunately, none of them address the specific situation I am having. I guess I was hoping for too much to find someone who has actually bought a 160G iPod Classic and figured out how to get real CD quality sound out of it. There's plenty of speculation out there about a DAC problem, but no real solution offered.


More generally, I find it amazing how few people have done any simple testing themselves to understand just how bad iPod sound quality is compared to CD. It's a simple test to do yourself: just listen to both side by side. Even at lossless, the iPod just is not that good.

The 5g Ipod sounds extremely close in my car, I haven't tried it at home because I have no need to do so, but I would think it wouldn't quiet match my optical players for sure, so I'm waiting for a dock that bypass the DAC, and the analog section as the DAcs in the Pre/pro I own has superior quality, and so is the analog section. The Wadia dock seems to be incomplete and poorly designed, so I'll keep on waiting.
 

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 This might work.




edit:I failed to notice "thehun" mentioned it. But, the link's there if interested.
 

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One option is to stream iTunes rather than use your iPod from your stereo using an Airport Express. This assumes a PC/laptop with wireless capability, and convenient access.


You would want to go optical out from the Airport Express.


This is what I do with my living room and bedroom systems.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancyl /forum/post/14298389


More generally, I find it amazing how few people have done any simple testing themselves to understand just how bad iPod sound quality is compared to CD. It's a simple test to do yourself: just listen to both side by side. Even at lossless, the iPod just is not that good.

you can't generalize about all ipods, though. different models use different DACs, and that affects the sound quality a great deal! older ipods used pretty decent wolfram DAC's and sound darn good. I know my old ipod photo sounds a lot better than my wife's new nano.
 

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yancyl.


Here's the deal! The DLO Deluxe docking station could also be contributing to the poor sound quality you're experiencing. I have the DLO product and I've got to tell you, it's lacking when it comes to quality playback. My DLO produces a low level humming/buzzing tone. How do I mean? I have the DLO connected to my AV Receiver via Monster Cable M-Series M350 analog cables. The buzzing can be heard from 9 ft away at a volume level of -20 dB. If I'm right next to the speaker, I can hear the buzzing at as low as -35dB. I found that the low level noise is generated from the power supply. The adapter connection is positioned right next to the analog output stage. No shielding at all! I've mentioned this before in a previous post. It's totally unacceptable. Now, when I use a analog to mini cable made exclusively for the iPOD and do a straight connection from the iPOD to the AV Receiver, guess what? No low level noise at all and my lossless tracks sound almost as good as the music played from my CD players.

Now, I have a 30 GB iPOD and I know they have had their issues also. Luckily, I haven't had any. I realize that Apple uses different DAC's with each model iPOD and that too could be another problem. But, try a dedicated analog to mini cable and see if you get improvement on the playback quality.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1056049
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1019443


Regards
 
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