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Question about the quality of iRiver H120 player's optical output...

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hi there
Want to ask a question on this great forum...
My purpose is to be able to play FLACs via a DAC without a computer (through NAD C320 BEE amplifier and Acoustic Energy Aegis EVO 3 floor standing speakers). I haven't bought a DAC yet, but I am thinking about Constantine or Stello DA100 (if any one wants to sell one of these, please let me know!). I want to buy a used iRiver H120, rockbox it and use its optical output.
Do you think it's a good or bad idea in the context of the system I am contemplating to build ? In particular, I am worried about the quality of this player's optical output (jitter and so on...). Or, since it's digital, it does not matter much?
Thanks!
post #2 of 34
This is for portable use or in a stationary system?
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
The optical out will be used in the stationary system (as I described above) and the headphone output will be used when I take this player out for a walk... But right now my main concern is the quality of its optical output. Is it good enough to seriously consider this player as a source with the DACs I want to buy and with the amplifier and speakers I already have?
post #4 of 34
Probably not. I'm pretty sure that the iRiver does some re-sampling of the output, I do not believe it is a bit perfect transport. For a stationary system, I'd recommend using something like a Squeezebox instead. That won't help you for portable use though.

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post #5 of 34
Better buy a cheap DVD player to use as the desktop source. My friends verified that even cheap Onkyo DVD or Pioneer will outperform the iHP-120 as the source of data.
post #6 of 34
How's that going to help him play a flac library???
post #7 of 34
Someone on here has tested the iriver's optical out and it was bit perfect... apparently

I can't remember who though, I will have a look through some threads and see if I can find it for you.

here it is:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f15/ir...better-326537/
post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nspindel View Post
Probably not. I'm pretty sure that the iRiver does some re-sampling of the output, I do not believe it is a bit perfect transport.
This doesn't make any sense at all. Why would the player re-sample? What purpose would it serve? Hell, even ancient portable CD players have bit perfect digital outs. If it doesn't need to resample to play something, it won't resample just for a digital out.
post #9 of 34
I can't recall. I had one several years ago and there was a thread discussing whether or not the iriver was bit perfect. The consensus was that it was not, which was the main reason why I sold it. If he's looking to play flacs on a stationary rig, he'd be much better off with a Squeezebox. Flac files are big, and keeping the music on the small hard drive of the iriver will be highly limiting, whereas the Squeezebox networks back to a server where you can have as much storage as you want. And the Squeezebox is most certainly bit perfect.

Edit: I also don't recommend using flac in a portable player, even an iriver. The analog output of the iriver, plus the likely low-end portable headphones, plus the ambient street noise while walking around pretty much render the differences between flac and a lossy format unhearable. I'm the biggest flac advocate in the world, but the larger the bitrate of the file, the more disk activity it takes to read the file. Not a big deal if you've got the unit powered from the wall, but if you're using the battery, playing flacs as opposed to a lower bitrate format will result in substantially faster battery drain. Obviously something to consider in a portable.

I have my collection stored to flac for my main rig, but I transcode to mp3 for use on my iphone.
post #10 of 34
It's my understanding that the H1xx series outputs bit perfect digital.

The only barrier you would have to your proposed system is the quality of the source file and the DAC you decide to use.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by majkel View Post
Better buy a cheap DVD player to use as the desktop source. My friends verified that even cheap Onkyo DVD or Pioneer will outperform the iHP-120 as the source of data.
If only there were DVD players capable of FLAC playback... It would be ideal. Unfortunately, there are not any, to my knowledge. I cannot understand why manufacturers cannot implement such simple feature...
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfen68 View Post
It's my understanding that the H1xx series outputs bit perfect digital.
Yeah, bit perfect is fine, but how about jitter? If I buy Constantine, it's prone to be very jitter-sensitive, as far as I understand, because it's a NOS DAC.

As for Squeezebox products, it's interesting, but not suitable for me. It any of these Squeezeboxes could play FLAC from an USB flash drive (plugged directly to it, not to a computer server), it would be more useful for me.
post #13 of 34
Optical out from iRiver is bit perfect. If you worry about jitter prone Constantine DAC, maybe it would be good idea to look at DAC1.

The discussion about jitter resistance of DAC1 was beaten to death on DAC1 mega-thread.

I personally wouldn't put so much emphasis on jitter as you do, my best guess would be that with that rig you won't be able to hear jitter artifacts anyway.

BTW I'm using iHP140 via optical out as my main transport (FLACs, 320kB LAME, and Q10 Ogg Vorbis files). I don't see anything wrong with it compared to occasional use of CD's via Pioneer optical out. Needless to say my digital library is thousand times bigger than my CD library.

Don't forget - its all about music, enjoy it and don't stress too much about hypothetical jitter issues.
post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lad27 View Post
BTW I'm using iHP140 via optical out as my main transport (FLACs, 320kB LAME, and Q10 Ogg Vorbis files). I don't see anything wrong with it compared to occasional use of CD's via Pioneer optical out.
Ok, thanks.
post #15 of 34
Ah, if you're not happy with a computer server in the picture, then correct a Squeezebox wouldn't be appropriate.

Interesting that the iRiver is bit-perfect, I definitely got the opposite information a few years back.

No problem though, I love my Squeezebox. To each his own. Good luck with your project.
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