If it's just for playback, I'd save the cost of the dock and DAC and just get one of those sweet new Mac Minis.
Edited by bigshot - 8/4/11 at 10:52am
Yeah, I see no real use in a digital out. I know many people are happy with their LOD's.
Really the point is to bypass the internal iPod DAC if you have a better external one. It also allows you to extract movies off the iPod and onto a TV, but I'm sure there are resolution issues and even then it is only component.
I don't think the iPod DAC is necessarily bad (can only speak for the iPod classic here) but I do still think it is entry level and there are options that don't cost a fortune that objectively measure better, and are likely to have an impact on playback IF the system is sensitive enough to notice the differences.
As to your comment on the Mac Minis... I have decided for the price I'd rather build a computer to act as a digital source, since it offers up a lot more than just an iPod feature wise :)
I'll see if I can set up some sort of blind test running line out on the iPod v. running digital and using the internal DACs of the receiver to the external Canton towers and see if I notice anything. It'll be a few weeks :)
My gut tells me the Cantons will pick it up, but of course I'd feel that way.
Is lossless encodings worth it? Yes, like for archiving, editing, etc...
Is FLAC worth it? Or is lossless audio comrpression worth it in general? IMO: No. The less than a factor of two compression ratio is not worth the trouble. I would just store it uncompressed and buy a bigger HD. Factor of two is the boundary of what I can tolerate and what I cannot, pretty much in everything IRL. Lossy compressors, on the other hand, take an order of magnitude less space, so they are worth when they are applicable.