Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

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Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JoeyGS » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:12 pm

In my exploration with the world of audiophile digital source, I have currently created 2 digital sources, mainly, from the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone and the desktop/laptop computers (Mac or WIndows). Both have different digital signal chains as follows:

for the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone:

Ipod/Ipad/Iphone ---> Onkyo ND-S1 Ipod dock -----> coax cable -----> dac -----> preamp/amp

for the desktop/laptop computer:

desktop/laptop computer -----> USB cable -----> Onkyo ND-S1 Ipod dock -----> coax cable -----> dac -----> preamp/amp

OR

desktop/laptop computer -----> USB/SPDIF converter -----> coax cable -----> dac -----> preamp/amp


Now, with the above I would like to retain both sources (Ipod/Ipad/Iphone & desktop/laptop computer) but would like to reduce a component in the digital chain. The Ipod dock and the USB/SPDIF converter are 2 separate gadgets which handles the digital signal and outputs it into the coaxial cable going to the dac.

I am happy with output from the USB/SPIF converter than the Onkyo Ipod dock. Now, the questions are:

1. To get rid on the Onkyo Ipod Dock, and just connect the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone via a LOD cable into the computer's USB port and play via Itunes, will the sound quality be the same as compared to the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone connected to the Onkyo Ipod dock? That means I will play songs in the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone by using Itunes and the computer.

2. In the following digital connection chain,

Ipod/Ipad/Iphone -----> LOD cable to USB -----> desktop/laptop computer -----> USB/SPDIF converter -----> coax cable -----> dac -----> preamp/amp

Am I extracting pure digital information from the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone which is being fed into the computer?
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby camotecue » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:30 pm

joey,

have you tried this > Ipod/Ipad/Iphone ---> preamp/amp against your present set-up? if your preamp can handle direct connection with the source, i think this might sound better.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JoeyGS » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:51 pm

Yup I have done that and that means you are using the internal dac of the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone.

What I am doing is to by pass the internal dac of the Ipod/Ipad/Iphone and get that digital signal into a better outboard dac.

If you have the older Ipods with the Wolfson dacs then it might be ok but with the newer ones, the outboard dac will do better


camotecue wrote:joey,

have you tried this > Ipod/Ipad/Iphone ---> preamp/amp against your present set-up? if your preamp can handle direct connection with the source, i think this might sound better.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:19 pm

Nope. Only a few apple authorized components can access the digital out from the ipod/iphone. Lod connectors simply bypass the inferior op amps of the headphone out, but still output an analog signal.

If you want to access the digital out you can get:

1) Wadia ipod dock
2) Luxman ipod dock
3) Naim network players
4) Cambridge ipod dock
5) Pure audio dock

Some other companies i can't remember.

Or you can just use the optical out from the headphone output of any mac computer, or the airport express.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JoeyGS » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:34 pm

Even Ipod Lineout to USB = Analog?
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:25 pm

JoeyGS wrote:Even Ipod Lineout to USB = Analog?


Digital yes, but you will still be using the ipod's internal DAC.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby carbondated » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:14 pm

muypogi wrote:
JoeyGS wrote:Even Ipod Lineout to USB = Analog?


Digital yes, but you will still be using the ipod's internal DAC.


I think it depends on what you plug the USB into. Apple is licensing the digital out more freely now, so more companies than the 5 mentioned above can access the digital out, and those that to can either dock the iPod with a male 30-pin connector or access it via USB (like the Naim DAC). I think if even the HRT iStreamer gets the digital out and bypasses the internal DAC
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:15 pm

carbondated wrote:
muypogi wrote:
JoeyGS wrote:Even Ipod Lineout to USB = Analog?


Digital yes, but you will still be using the ipod's internal DAC.


I think it depends on what you plug the USB into. Apple is licensing the digital out more freely now, so more companies than the 5 mentioned above can access the digital out, and those that to can either dock the iPod with a male 30-pin connector or access it via USB (like the Naim DAC). I think if even the HRT iStreamer gets the digital out and bypasses the internal DAC


Yes , but the question I think is will the ipod output pure digital when using just any ipod LOD to USB to just any DAC or AVR or streamer? And the answer is no. You need a special license from apple to bypass the internal dac. So you need to get a dock/cable/equipment that is certified by Apple to get true digital out.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby fld » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:19 pm

the HRT i-streamer can make good use of ipad/ipod and iphone. it bypasses the i device dac and uses its dac.
i've been using the i streamer for quite sometime now with my ipad and ipod and the sound is very good even on a revealing system (a.k.a ATC SCM19 speakers).

Hope that helps.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:26 pm

fld wrote:the HRT i-streamer can make good use of ipad/ipod and iphone. it bypasses the i device dac and uses its dac.
i've been using the i streamer for quite sometime now with my ipad and ipod and the sound is very good even on a revealing system (a.k.a ATC SCM19 speakers).

Hope that helps.


Apologies for hijacking this thread, pero boss fld what streamer would you recommend for a small office system that uses an ipod as its main source? How much ?
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby fld » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:23 am

muypogi wrote:
fld wrote:the HRT i-streamer can make good use of ipad/ipod and iphone. it bypasses the i device dac and uses its dac.
i've been using the i streamer for quite sometime now with my ipad and ipod and the sound is very good even on a revealing system (a.k.a ATC SCM19 speakers).

Hope that helps.


Apologies for hijacking this thread, pero boss fld what streamer would you recommend for a small office system that uses an ipod as its main source? How much ?



hi sir muy, there is only 1 model for the i-device and that is the HRT i-streamer. Its P10,000 for the unit. Thanks
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby carbondated » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:07 am

Okay, because I'm such a geek I looked it up and found this: http://pinouts.ru/PortableDevices/ipod_pinout.shtml

So it looks like any old 30-pin connector can access the audio, but if you're connecting using USB you're getting *data* -- which by definition in this context is digital... :geek:
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby sweetsound » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:05 am

muypogi wrote:Nope. Only a few apple authorized components can access the digital out from the ipod/iphone. Lod connectors simply bypass the inferior op amps of the headphone out, but still output an analog signal.

If you want to access the digital out you can get:

1) Wadia ipod dock
2) Luxman ipod dock
3) Naim network players
4) Cambridge ipod dock
5) Pure audio dock

Some other companies i can't remember.

Or you can just use the optical out from the headphone output of any mac computer, or the airport express.

mga Sir, where po nakakabili ng Cambridge ipod dock o kaya onkyo nds1. tnxs
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:14 am

carbondated wrote:Okay, because I'm such a geek I looked it up and found this: http://pinouts.ru/PortableDevices/ipod_pinout.shtml

So it looks like any old 30-pin connector can access the audio, but if you're connecting using USB you're getting *data* -- which by definition in this context is digital... :geek:


Yup, technically correct. But that data is still being processed by the ipod's internal DAC, so you don't get the pure unprocessed bit stream. My car's AV head unit can access the ipod's album art and music via USB as well. Pero it is the internal ipod DAC that does the processing. What manong joeygs (and fellow audiophiles) is interested in is getting the unprocessed data from the unit and into an external DAC processor. And based on what I know, there are only select (but ever-growing) number of units that can access it. :geek:

Here's a quote from an HRT streamer review:

http://www.witchdoctor.co.nz/index.php/ ... -ipod-dac/

Digital sources don’t get much simpler than HRT’s iStreamer: plug one end into an iPod (or iPhone or iPad) and connect the other to your audio system using RCA cables. Push play, music comes out the speakers and that’s all, folks.

Or at least that’s the way it seems on the surface. This deceptively basic little device has a trick up its metallic sleeve – unlike almost all other iPod docks, it’s got a direct line to the digital data stored on the Apple device. So instead of getting an analogue signal passed to it by the bits inside the iPod, it takes the digital stream and converts it internally using its own digital-to-analogue converter before handing it to the audio system via its own output stage. If these components are more capable than the iPod’s own internals, then the results will logically be better.

Wadia was the first to convince Apple to grant access to the precious digital stream with its 170iTransport. The technology has become more common but it’s still not exactly all over the place as yet. Naim does it with its UnitiQute music system, Yamaha offers it on a couple of CD players and other manufacturers are getting in on the act, but the iStreamer has to be one of the less expensive ways of breaking into your Apple devices and getting the good stuff to your hi-fi. At a mere $375, it’s not a huge ask but then again, it is quite limited in its functionality. Forget about plugging in anything besides one of Apple’s gadgets or a computer.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JoeyGS » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:31 am

When I hook up my Ipod to the computer via USB cable, I am able to play the Ipod's music via Itunes. So, the question is...... in doing this, is the Ipod sending pure digital music data into the computer via the USB cable and then Itunes send its either to the computer's sound card or to another USB so its gets processed by an external DAC?
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:04 pm

JoeyGS wrote:When I hook up my Ipod to the computer via USB cable, I am able to play the Ipod's music via Itunes. So, the question is...... in doing this, is the Ipod sending pure digital music data into the computer via the USB cable and then Itunes send its either to the computer's sound card or to another USB so its gets processed by an external DAC?


That one I honestly don't know. But if Apple is to be consistent, then you are still using the iPod's internal DAC. You can feed the music that the iPod sends to the laptop via USB to an external DAC, but I'm assuming you're sending a stream already processed by the internal iPod DAC.

If you're using a PC/Mac anyway, why not play directly from the computer, which is sure to output a digital signal via toslink or USB depending on whether you use a mac or PC?
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JoeyGS » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:37 pm

Not all of my music are present in both itunes and in the ipod. Sometimes, the Ipod can be simply hooked up into the main rig via the dock and you need not go into booting up your music server when you need a quick listen. And also, during music sessions with friends, they can just plug their Ipods into the PC music server and listen to their own music material.

I am trying to get rid of the dock to simplify the source supply chain. If pure digital music data is streamed thru the USB cable connecting the iPod and the PC/Laptop, then I can get rid of the dock. Actually the ONKYO ND-S1 digital transport which both handles the Ipod connectivity and as well as the PC/Laptop interface, is a brilliant idea and should simplify the connectivity. However, being in this hobby, we want the Onkyo ND-S1 to become a high performance transport which can rival hi-end audio gears to output audiophile grade sound/music data. Unfortunately, it does not measure up...that's why I am looking for other options.


muypogi wrote:
JoeyGS wrote:When I hook up my Ipod to the computer via USB cable, I am able to play the Ipod's music via Itunes. So, the question is...... in doing this, is the Ipod sending pure digital music data into the computer via the USB cable and then Itunes send its either to the computer's sound card or to another USB so its gets processed by an external DAC?


That one I honestly don't know. But if Apple is to be consistent, then you are still using the iPod's internal DAC. You can feed the music that the iPod sends to the laptop via USB to an external DAC, but I'm assuming you're sending a stream already processed by the internal iPod DAC.

If you're using a PC/Mac anyway, why not play directly from the computer, which is sure to output a digital signal via toslink or USB depending on whether you use a mac or PC?
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby muypogi » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:20 pm

Then you may have no choice but to buy the Wadia Dock, as that one has been reviewed extensively and has proven to be a very reliable "high-end" DAC that has access to the pure digital stream of an iPod. Why not get one on demo and try it out with the DAC that you're using?

AFAIK, I know of no Apple or third party ipod LOD cable that is capable of bypassing the internal DAC. Even the Red Wine LODs and the iPod mod still use the internal DAC of the iPod.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JoeyGS » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:47 pm

Per my experience, the Onkyo is better that the wadia....sonically, that is. :lol: ....and cheaper din pala :clap:

muypogi wrote:Then you may have no choice but to buy the Wadia Dock, as that one has been reviewed extensively and has proven to be a very reliable "high-end" DAC that has access to the pure digital stream of an iPod. Why not get one on demo and try it out with the DAC that you're using?

AFAIK, I know of no Apple or third party ipod LOD cable that is capable of bypassing the internal DAC. Even the Red Wine LODs and the iPod mod still use the internal DAC of the iPod.
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Re: Digital Signal from Ipod/Ipad/Iphone

Postby JackD201 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:31 pm

The ND-S1 does what the Wadia does. It has SPDIF out via both Toslink and Coax. Why is everybody saying that it is only giving out analog via the iPod's internal converter?
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