iPhones have a digital out, other than lightning port, which consumers can use? You sure?I'm very much in the "bits are bits" camp where one competently designed DAC will sound like the other (at least those designed to be neutral).
However I have had the occasional puzzling experience. We bought a volvo something like 8 years ago. It came with two different inputs for external audio devices, e.g. ipods at the time: a digital connection and an analog (where you could just plug the ipod in via the headphone jack). I was excited about the digital connection - cleanest most direct connection I figured.
But I found it unlistenable! Everything sounded unnaturally "hard," steely, aggressive. Back in the CD vs vinyl wars, anti-digital audiophiles would talk about "digititus" - the claim that digital sound was anti-musical, artificially hardened, bright, mechanical sounding. Most of those claims were bogus and based on technical ignorance (I adopted CDs very early). But if anything actually fit that description, the sound through the digital connection to my car did. I kept having to turn the volume down because it bothered my ears that much.
Whereas if I used the analog connection, mini-jack out from the earphone connection, it was like "aaaahhh" normal, smooth, enjoyable sound.
I tried the digital connection occasionally over the years, only to suffer the same thing. It reminds me of badly compressed audio.
I'm wondering what the explanation could be. Maybe a crappy converter used by the car's digital system?
"It reminds me of badly compressed audio."
Well typically the audio in iTunes is compressed: AAC.
On my Yamaha AVRs the default mode on some digital inputs is "(Cockamamie) ENHANCER ON" and only if you have an advanced understanding of their stupidity would a consumer know there's a need to turn that off for digital inputs. Similarly in some