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Best way to improve an Ipod based system?

krish123

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2012
59
1
18,545
Hi guys, i recently revamped my system in my bedroom and my system now comprises of the following - Musical fidelity a3 integrated amp, mordaunt short aviano 6 speaker and ipod touch 5th gen as the source. I feel i could achieve a better sound and feel my ipod is the limiting factor. For instance if i had a cd player i feel the sound would be better. Now i know one option available to me would be to buy a DAC do you guys think i would benefit in buying a decent DAC? Or are there any other options you guys can suggest? bearing in mind my system will be ipod based.

cheers.
 

krish123

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2012
59
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18,545
thanks for the reply chebby. the arcam dac seems very impressive but is slightly out of my price range, i doubt second hand ones are going much cheaper. That said would something like the arcam dac make a noticable difference from my ipod?

Is there any other DACs with similiar capabilities that are slightly cheaper?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
See if you can find a Spitfire II DAC from Firestone Audio. I had one a couple of years back and it was terrific. One each from Optical, coax and RCA connections. New was around £250, but they crop up from time to time. Very underrated at the time, but sound quality was peachy. You should get one for a good asking price now and reviews on the web are generally very positive.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
I'm not sure what you mean by "compatible with 5th gen iPod". Can;t you just take the appropriate connection from your audio out headphone jack into the optical input on the DAC and off you go? Has Apple futzed around with that too? All you need is a cable with the jack at one end and the optical at the other (Fisual make a very good one for very little outlay - in fact I have one unused, 5m long). I used my 3rd gen Touch in this way for a while.
 

krish123

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2012
59
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yh this is wat im not so sure on m8, as iv read not every dac will work with the ipod touch 5th gen. im actually unsure how i will connect the dac up. atm i use an aux cable straight from ipod to rca inputs on my amp. Now if i have a dac i would use from what your saying the 3.5mm output on ipod to connect to the dac using a optical cable, but then how does the dac connect to the amp? via rca conections on the dac and amp?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Yes, so what I'm saying is, to connect your iPod to the DAC, use one of these:-



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fisual-Install-Series-Mini-Toslink-Optical/dp/B003NT1R84/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388069594&sr=8-1&keywords=fisual+optical+3.5

And that gets your signal to the DAC. Then just use the RCA analogue out to your amplifier. Job done. I'd be astonished if Apple removed that functionality. I know they introduced the Lightning pin connector that made the old style redundant, but not the headphone jack.
 

krish123

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2012
59
1
18,545
thanks for that , makes sense tbh i dont see y this wudnt work either although would be nice to get confirmation. If this way of connection does work i have some good options with various dacs. one i heard mentoned was epiphany e dac, anyone got experience with this?
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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the record spot said:
Yes, so what I'm saying is, to connect your iPod to the DAC, use one of these:-



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fisual-Install-Series-Mini-Toslink-Optical/dp/B003NT1R84/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388069594&sr=8-1&keywords=fisual+optical+3.5

And that gets your signal to the DAC. Then just use the RCA analogue out to your amplifier. Job done. I'd be astonished if Apple removed that functionality. I know they introduced the Lightning pin connector that made the old style redundant, but not the headphone jack.
Errr, What optical output?
 

chaz91

New member
Nov 22, 2013
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I'm not sure about that optical cable, haven't heard about that functionality before. Your iPod has a lightning connector? The reason I ask is because the Pure i20 (check the WHF review) is a nice dock with a built in DAC, but it uses the older 30pin connector.

It's possible the official apple adaptor (and maybe other cheaper options...) will work with this.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
649
96
18,970
If I'm correct, RecordSpot means connect the iPod to laptop, and connect laptop to DAC. In which case ditch the iPod and just use iTunes on the laptop? You'd then probably want to use USB to the DAC, as I'm not sure if all laptops' headphone out double-up as digital optical output either.

Back to the OP - your best bets would be 3 choices:

1) Get an Arcam drDock and a lightning to 30-pin adaptor - but ask your dealer to let you test it first. The drDock is excellent sounding but a bit pricey at 200 quid - official price - but I'm sure haggling/warfare with your dealer could bring that down a bit.

2) Get an external DAC like the Arcam drDAC - which has a USB port just for your iPod. Pricey at 400 quid. Haggle.

3) A cheaper option to 2) would be chips-cheap Pure i20 dock, and get a DAC of your choice. This may well be your best option. The Pure i20 has a built-in DAC to bypass your iPod but WHF did not cop it much. Luckily for you it has a digital out - so you can use it with any other DAC.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
You take the left jack and put it in the headphone input of the iPod. You run the cable all the way to the DAC and plug in the optical connector on the right into the DAC. The audio stream runs from your iPod, via the cable connected to its headphone jack, all the way into the DAC and thereon to the amp.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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chaz91 said:
I'm not sure about that optical cable, haven't heard about that functionality before. Your iPod has a lightning connector? The reason I ask is because the Pure i20 (check the WHF review) is a nice dock with a built in DAC, but it uses the older 30pin connector.

It's possible the official apple adaptor (and maybe other cheaper options...) will work with this.
There has never been an optical out on an iPad, primarily because of copy protection. Digital output is available from the multi pin connector but requires an Apple licensed 'reciever' chip in the accepting dac.

Digital docks have this facility, check out the Pure and Cambridge models and it is possible that some products with a usb input may have it to, however you need to check as the multipin also outputs a fixed level analogue.

Needs to be carefully checked.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
manicm said:
If I'm correct, RecordSpot means connect the iPod to laptop, and connect laptop to DAC. In which case ditch the iPod and just use iTunes on the laptop?
Nope, I don't mean that. I used to connect my iPod to the Spitfire II I had this way a few years back. It went straight into the Spitfire II DAC, then straight into the AUX of the Sansui AU-217 amp. I used the Touch to access Spotify or iTunes files as a source. Nowadays, I just connect it up wirelessly via the ATV3, or very occasionally to the USB in of the 818 amp and use the onboard Burr Brown DACs.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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the record spot said:
manicm said:
If I'm correct, RecordSpot means connect the iPod to laptop, and connect laptop to DAC. In which case ditch the iPod and just use iTunes on the laptop?
Nope, I don't mean that. I used to connect my iPod to the Spitfire II I had this way a few years back. It went straight into the Spitfire II DAC, then straight into the AUX of the Sansui AU-217 amp. I used the Touch to access Spotify or iTunes files as a source. Nowadays, I just connect it up wirelessly via the ATV3, or very occasionally to the USB in of the 818 amp and use the onboard Burr Brown DACs.
That's a very clever trick........... :?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
What's up Dave? Rear of Spitfire II DAC below - optical in, analogue cables out to amp's AUX (or whichever line in you want to use).



This is the current HD model, but the connectivity is the same.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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the record spot said:
What's up Dave?
As I said above, iPods do not, as far as I know, have an optical digital out.

If you know different, please tell, I want one....!
 

krish123

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2012
59
1
18,545
thanks for the replies guys. my ipod does have the lighting connector so does that mean i have to be careful in which dac i use? also i dont want to use my laptop to play music off as its less convenient than using my ipod which is always in my room ready to use. firstly i need to confirm the way in which record spot suggests to connect the dac up will work, then i can go from there and start looking from a wider selection of dacs.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
krish123 said:
thanks for the replies guys. my ipod does have the lighting connector so does that mean i have to be careful in which dac i use? also i dont want to use my laptop to play music off as its less convenient than using my ipod which is always in my room ready to use. firstly i need to confirm the way in which record spot suggests to connect the dac up will work, then i can go from there and start looking from a wider selection of dacs.
Nah, unless you're using a dock, you need to make sure it's the right fit. If you use the 3.5" jack, then you've no issues. Far easier and you can cherry pick the DAC you want to use. Easy peasy.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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the record spot said:
You know Dave, I wouldn't have the foggiest. I only used one this way for a couple of years.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2167
That is an analogue connection.

The 3.5 mm jack on iPods is analogue only, always has been.

You need and Apple authorised dock to extract a digital signal from the multipin on the base of the iPod.
 

krish123

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2012
59
1
18,545
so dave are u saying that using the analogue method of connection that record spot refers to is not the best method of connection. atm from what iv read this would be the best option for me personally as i wll get to pick from a wider range of dacs and dont need to buy a dock on top of that either.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
the record spot said:
You know Dave, I wouldn't have the foggiest. I only used one this way for a couple of years.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2167
That only talks about analogue connections for car and home systems. (3.5mm analogue minijack - 2 x RCA)

You were describing (and displaying) an optical cable with standard Toslink at one end, and Mini-Toslink at the other end, which implies a direct optical connection to your iPod Touch was possible. (As with the dual-purpose 3.5mm minijack/mini-Toslink equipped MacBooks and iMacs.)

I was also not aware the Spitfire DAC was Apple licensed for use with iPads/iPods/iPhones or had the required hardware/software to talk to such devices.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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chebby said:
the record spot said:
You know Dave, I wouldn't have the foggiest. I only used one this way for a couple of years.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2167
That only talks about analogue connections for car and home systems. (3.5mm analogue minijack - 2 x RCA)

You were describing (and displaying) an optical cable with standard Toslink at one end, and Mini-Toslink at the other end, which implies a direct optical connection to your iPod Touch was possible. (As with the dual-purpose 3.5mm minijack/mini-Toslink equipped MacBooks and iMacs.)

I was also not aware the Spitfire DAC was Apple licensed for use with iPads/iPods/iPhones or had the required hardware/software to talk to such devices.
As far as I know this is correct.

Apple limit the access to the digital data as part of it's agreement with record companies re copy management.

The only way to extract a digital output that I know of is via an appropriate and Apple authorised dock. A conventional multipin to USB cable does not, I believe, work irrespective of the recieving device. I believe this connection can be used on a iPad using the Camera Connection Kit though I have not tried it but does nor work on a touch or iPhone.

To the OP.

The simple solution is to use a Pure i20 and take the analogue outs direct to your amp. You are using the i20's onboard dac which can be upgraded with an outboard dac or dac/amp at you leisure.
 

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