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Up and down, depends what you want

A Review On: Pure i20 iPod Dock

Pure i20 iPod Dock

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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $40.00
Andymaxwell
Posted · 2921 Views · 1 Comment

Pros: Slight reduction in treble harshness, slightly better soundstage

Cons: Doesnt' do much more than using the apple dock and a good amp

 

**I won't be commenting on the build quality or the features of the DAC, this is a sound quality vs the Apple dock review only.**
 
The Pure-i20 is a very well priced product COMPARED to the other Ipod dacs out there BUT the sound quality upgrade is small compared to a normal apple dock and it could be a waste of money depending on what you are buying it for.
 
This was test rig:
 
Rega Ear headphone amp
Audioquest Golden Gate interconnect (£60)
[a very 'clear' revealing interconnect, used for both docks]
Cambridge Audio Pacific interconnect (£40-ish?)
Apple dock
Pure i-20
Ipod Touch 2g
Senheisser 439 closed back headphones
 
Testing method
--------------
Using one interconnect for both docks (Audioquest - with an adapter for the apple dock) and then different cables (Cambridge Audio Pacific)I swapped between the Apple dock and the i-20. All the time using the same amp and headphones.
 
Findings
--------
1)Simply using the Apple dock and plugging it into a good amp improves the sound HUGELY, clarity, soundstage, dynamics, the lot.
 
2)Using the Pure i-20 gives only around 20% more quality on top of that imho.
So, you will get a greater improvement in sound quality from your Ipod simply by plugging it into your hifi or headphone amplifier! I couldn't believe this either. I had assumed it was the DAC in my iPod Touch 2g which was poor, not at all, the amp driving the headphones is the weak link!
 
But don't be to enraged if you've just bought an i-20 and not listened to it yet. There is a noticeable difference between the normal apple dock and the i-20 but it's not huge, just incremental. 
 
Imho, using the i-20 you get 20% better..
- clarity, space around the instruments.
- reduction in treble harshness, which you may only hear with the normal dock if you have a good quality interconnect anyway.
 
But on the downside..
- you get a more laid back sound.
Laidback sounds ok right, well maybe not. The Apple dock's sound involves me in the music, using the i-20 I had to turn up the volume just to feel slightly excited.
 
In Summary
---------
-You may wish to demo a i-20 before buying.
- There are advantages with the i-20 over the Apple dock for example the number and types of connections on the back of it.
-Compared to many of the other DACs out there it's a steal. You just may not need it.

1 Comment:

20% improvement?!? Well worth $40 then...
I find your review surprising and confusing in equal measure. If the i-20 does indeed provide '20% more quality', as you state, then it is a triumph. I actually agree with you on this; the i-20 sounds much better than the most iPod line outs. But the real strength of the i-20 is the digital out. The ability to play lossless files through a quality external DAC makes the humble iPod a serious audiophile 'transport'.
For the price the i-20 is brilliant value. And yes; you do need one!
;-)
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