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Pure i-20 iPod/iPhone Dock as a DAC - Page 32

post #466 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciswi View Post

Hi, I currently fed a nuforce dda-100 with an ipod Touch and a Pure i-20 through its coaxial output. 
At the time being I'm not considering any upgrade except maybe a new transport.
In particular, I'm considering a mac mini as a solution for both audio and video streaming from a NAS. 
Anyway, the Mini is rather expensive and I find its cost justified only if it can provide also serious improvements from a a SQ point of view (in combination with audirvana plus – integer mode). 
The more I look into the matter, the more it seems that  making the mini sound good requires a lot of software optimizations, power supplies substitution, etc…
From your experience, is the upgrade worth considering from a sound quality point of view?
Thx!

Purely as a digital transport (Mac Mini), no. However if you're looking for overall flexibility, i.e. streaming, external hard drives etc. then yes.

post #467 of 505

I've about had it with my Pure i-20. The thing is just so bright and harsh sounding to me, I was wondering if anyone has attempted to mod this device?

 

I run an inexpensive setup at work (because it sits in a public place):

 

iPod nano -> Pure i-20 -> Bravo V2 amp -> Sony MDR 7506 cans w/Beyer earpad mod

 

For me, I can't turn the volume up a lot before it just becomes too harsh to listen to. It also seems to depend on the genre of music I'm listening to: electronic music or rock with a lot of distortion comes across as harsh, while listening to guitar or other strings isn't so bad. I have had to replace the stock tube on the Bravo because that was also too harsh sounding. I come home from work with my ears ringing, if I listen to this source all day.

 

Basically I'm ready to go back to just using my iPod alone as the source. It's not as detailed but it's not going to make me deaf, either. I'd be really interested in hearing if anyone has found a way to tame this thing. Thanks!

post #468 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

I've about had it with my Pure i-20. The thing is just so bright and harsh sounding to me, I was wondering if anyone has attempted to mod this device?

 

 

It has digital outputs, why not hook up a DAC?

post #469 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

It has digital outputs, why not hook up a DAC?

 

I don't see the point in hooking up a DAC to another DAC. If I were to buy another DAC, I'll just get rid of this thing.

post #470 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

I don't see the point in hooking up a DAC to another DAC. If I were to buy another DAC, I'll just get rid of this thing.

not all DACs bypass the ipod's internal DAC and those that do are much more expensive than the i20. you could use the i20 as a transport using its digital output. this will bypass the ipod's DAC and the i20's DAC. Then you could connect an external DAC that you may find sounds better than the i20 and ipod DACs. since this external DAC doesn't also need to be a transport it doesn't have to be very expensive. good quality DACs from FiiO and Schiit for example, would not cost very much.
post #471 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

 

I don't see the point in hooking up a DAC to another DAC. If I were to buy another DAC, I'll just get rid of this thing.

 

It's not just a DAC, it's primarily what came to be called an iPod digital transport. It came out at a time when 1) there weren't many DACs compatible with iDevices (and IIRC even predated the CCK) but 2) there were a lot of people who already had DACs that used to go with their CD transports. The Wadia 170i and Onkyo ND-S1 came out prior to this with just the exact purpose; Pure went off and sold at a fraction of those two other devices, and then tossed in a simple DAC circuit built around the CS4398. Still, primarily it has SPDIF outputs so it can be used with a DAC, even if you had to buy it afterwards, it's not obviously an incredulous solution given not all DACs nowadays have iPod-cimpatible digital inputs, despite USB inputs on most of them (and thanks to the iOS6 update, some DACs don't work anymore on the iPad+CCK). Besides, it's a $99 digital transport - some people paid $499 for the Wadia and $699 for the Fostex and still use SPDIF sometimes.

 

Buying a DAC for this is kind of like when some people buy a DAC for a cheap CDP or DVDPlayer. The transport wears out first anyways, so they just keep replacing that. Getting a DAC that you like a lot now will be kind of like the same thing.

post #472 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassboysam View Post

not all DACs bypass the ipod's internal DAC and those that do are much more expensive than the i20. you could use the i20 as a transport using its digital output. this will bypass the ipod's DAC and the i20's DAC. Then you could connect an external DAC that you may find sounds better than the i20 and ipod DACs. since this external DAC doesn't also need to be a transport it doesn't have to be very expensive. good quality DACs from FiiO and Schiit for example, would not cost very much.

This product advertises that it does bypass the ipod's internal DAC. Read either the manufacturer's website or the ad text on Amazon.

"i20 is a next generation digital iPod dock that produces hi-fi quality audio from high bitrate tracks on your iPod or iPhone by extracting the raw digital audio and processing it on the dock itself. Using digital end-to-end technology for its digital output and a superior 24-bit 192 KHz digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) for its analogue output i20 ensures you get the best from your digital music collection."

I'm not sure where you get your information from, but it does not jive with what the manufacturer claims.
post #473 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

It's not just a DAC, it's primarily what came to be called an iPod digital transport. It came out at a time when 1) there weren't many DACs compatible with iDevices (and IIRC even predated the CCK) but 2) there were a lot of people who already had DACs that used to go with their CD transports. The Wadia 170i and Onkyo ND-S1 came out prior to this with just the exact purpose; Pure went off and sold at a fraction of those two other devices, and then tossed in a simple DAC circuit built around the CS4398. Still, primarily it has SPDIF outputs so it can be used with a DAC, even if you had to buy it afterwards, it's not obviously an incredulous solution given not all DACs nowadays have iPod-cimpatible digital inputs, despite USB inputs on most of them (and thanks to the iOS6 update, some DACs don't work anymore on the iPad+CCK). Besides, it's a $99 digital transport - some people paid $499 for the Wadia and $699 for the Fostex and still use SPDIF sometimes.

Buying a DAC for this is kind of like when some people buy a DAC for a cheap CDP or DVDPlayer. The transport wears out first anyways, so they just keep replacing that. Getting a DAC that you like a lot now will be kind of like the same thing.

Cool story bro. But just because other folks paid much more for other DACs, doesn't have anything to do with this device. Some people pay six figures for cars. It doesn't mean my cheap old Chevy isn't a car. It just means they have a lot more to lose wink.gif

The company advertises it as having a high performance 24 bit DAC in it that extracts "raw digital audio" from the iDevice and processes it on the dock. I'm not sure how you can claim something other than what the manufacturer is saying about the device. Do you work there and know something about it that isn't publicly available? Or are you just speculating?

So about the only thing I can garner here is that they built a fancy stand, put some connectors on it (most of which you can get just by connecting a cable to your iPod), and the simple DAC circuit. I probably should have just spent $10 bucks on a cable that fetches the audio signal out of the 30 pin connector. Got one on order from Amazon. My bad for thinking this cheap cirrus logic chip that only cost a few bucks would produce better sound than the cheap chip in my ipod. Oh well.

Would I pay $500 bucks for a better DAC for my iPod? Not a chance lol. This is one lesson I learned the hard way. I can live without a DAC on my desk at work. At least when I come home at night, my ears aren't ringing.
post #474 of 505
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Edited by bassboysam - 8/8/13 at 4:20am
post #475 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post


This product advertises that it does bypass the ipod's internal DAC. Read either the manufacturer's website or the ad text on Amazon.

"i20 is a next generation digital iPod dock that produces hi-fi quality audio from high bitrate tracks on your iPod or iPhone by extracting the raw digital audio and processing it on the dock itself. Using digital end-to-end technology for its digital output and a superior 24-bit 192 KHz digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) for its analogue output i20 ensures you get the best from your digital music collection."

I'm not sure where you get your information from, but it does not jive with what the manufacturer claims.

 

You missed my point entirely.

 

 

You asked "why hook up a DAC to another DAC?"  I was pointing out that by using the i20s digital output you are not hooking up a DAC to another DAC.  you are hooking up your iPod to the i20, as a transport only (the i20 DAC will be bypassed), then from the i20 you can use any DAC your little heart and ears desire (it doesn't need to be ipod compatible because the i20 has already done the work).  at $100 you will not find anything else that can act as an iPod transport.  Also since the i20 becomes just a transport it shouldn't impact the sound at all and any "issues" you may come across would be a result of your source, choice of DAC, amp and/or headphones.


Edited by bassboysam - 8/8/13 at 4:34am
post #476 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassboysam View Post

You missed my point entirely.


You asked "why hook up a DAC to another DAC?"  I was pointing out that by using the i20s digital output you are not hooking up a DAC to another DAC.  you are hooking up your iPod to the i20, as a transport only (the i20 DAC will be bypassed), then from the i20 you can use any DAC your little heart and ears desire (it doesn't need to be ipod compatible because the i20 has already done the work).  at $100 you will not find anything else that can act as an iPod transport.  Also since the i20 becomes just a transport it shouldn't impact the sound at all and any "issues" you may come across would be a result of your source, choice of DAC, amp and/or headphones.

Yes, I really understood. Personally, I don't think I would go to the expense though. The way I see it, people only use an iDevice as a music source when they don't have a computer handy. If there's a computer handy, there are many other choices for a source.

In my case, I have to use an iPod at work, because I can't plug into the work computer to copy music onto it or use it as a source. So I'm stuck, I need a standalone setup. Also because it sits in a semi public place, I am not going to leave a lot of expensive gear sitting on my desk. So, cheap it must be. If someone walks off with something, I won't be horribly heartbroken. As it is, my little setup attracts a lot of attention. Nothing has disappeared yet, but I think it's only a matter of time before someone gets itchy fingers.

If I were to do this all over again, I would pick the Nuforce Icon Ido, in the hopes it has a better DAC than the Pure. It's only 50 bucks more. If I was feeling really rich, I might step up to the next device (the HRT iStreamer) but at 200 bucks that's just getting out of hand. I just don't think I'm going to hear $200 bucks worth of audio improvement in my cheap work setup from an iPod DAC.

I really see the whole issue of hooking up any DAC to an iDevice to be rapidly cost prohibitive. By the time you start spending $150 or $200 bucks, it's time to rethink whether one really needs a DAC. I find that I don't play my music loud enough while I'm working to really do any critical listening anyway. And if I do crank it up, it's not for long - because I don't like going home at night with my ears ringing.
Edited by UmustBKidn - 8/9/13 at 12:02am
post #477 of 505

A review of the Schiit Magni, Bravo V2, Schiit Modi, and Pure i-20 has been posted. Enjoy!

post #478 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post


Cool story bro. But just because other folks paid much more for other DACs, doesn't have anything to do with this device. Some people pay six figures for cars. It doesn't mean my cheap old Chevy isn't a car. It just means they have a lot more to lose wink.gif

 

I didn't say it WASN'T or CAN'T be used as a DAC either, but there IS a reason why they put SPDIF output on it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

The company advertises it as having a high performance 24 bit DAC in it that extracts "raw digital audio" from the iDevice and processes it on the dock. I'm not sure how you can claim something other than what the manufacturer is saying about the device. Do you work there and know something about it that isn't publicly available? Or are you just speculating?
 

 

Which part am I speculating about, that it can be used with other DACs? If speculating about what an SPDIF output is there for, then you might as well speculate why your car has wheels and tires when you can use wooden wagon wheels on it and it'll still work like a wheel. I don't have to work there, I just look at the product photo and see it has both analog and digital outputs, then read the product description. It says Digital optical (TOSLINK), digital coaxial (RCA) and analogue (dual RCA) audio output a few lines below what you quoted up there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

So about the only thing I can garner here is that they built a fancy stand, put some connectors on it (most of which you can get just by connecting a cable to your iPod), and the simple DAC circuit. I probably should have just spent $10 bucks on a cable that fetches the audio signal out of the 30 pin connector. Got one on order from Amazon. My bad for thinking this cheap cirrus logic chip that only cost a few bucks would produce better sound than the cheap chip in my ipod. Oh well.

 

Well, I must admit, I wasn't aware there was such a cable for $10, because as far as I and probably most of us here know, you don't just hook up a USB cable to an iPod and get a USB audio stream. That's the whole point in iPod's proprietary, get a license to make this work with it business model. The "Made for iPod" stamp on the devices I mentioned have it because they got a chip that enables access to digital audio streaming of the contents. If that cable has such a chip, then that's great. For a while USB audio worked on the iPad with just the Camera Connection Kit, but they clamped down on it and some DACs don't work anymore.

 

Also, the DAC circuit may be the real weakness more than the chip. Not to mean that absolutely all simple circuit designs would suck, but overall circuit design tends to affect the sound more than the DAC chip alone. That said, I have to admit I've never been a fan of that line of DAC chips - all the DACs and CDPs I've tried that use it seem to have too much bass and some sharp treble.

post #479 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

...

 

Well, I must admit, I wasn't aware there was such a cable for $10, because as far as I and probably most of us here know, you don't just hook up a USB cable to an iPod and get a USB audio stream. That's the whole point in iPod's proprietary, get a license to make this work with it business model. The "Made for iPod" stamp on the devices I mentioned have it because they got a chip that enables access to digital audio streaming of the contents. If that cable has such a chip, then that's great. For a while USB audio worked on the iPad with just the Camera Connection Kit, but they clamped down on it and some DACs don't work anymore.

 

Also, the DAC circuit may be the real weakness more than the chip. Not to mean that absolutely all simple circuit designs would suck, but overall circuit design tends to affect the sound more than the DAC chip alone. That said, I have to admit I've never been a fan of that line of DAC chips - all the DACs and CDPs I've tried that use it seem to have too much bass and some sharp treble.

 

I'm sure you mean, 30 pin cable, and line out stream. Yup, got 2 cables from Amazon now, one with RCA's and one with 3.5mm output, just to see if there was any difference between them:

 

Ziotek 1 ft, 30-pin to RCA cable, $9.99

Generic 30-pin to 3.5mm cable with a USB connection for charging, $5.10

 

And just to make sure, I fiddled with the ipod's volume control while these were connected, and audio level was not affected at all, from 0 to max volume. They are a notch or so cleaner than plumbing the ipod headphone jack into the Bravo. I haven't been able to tell if there's much difference between the above two cables yet. I probably just should have bought the Amazon cable and got RCA's and the USB for power. Oh well.

 

More links: a real fancy one from Apple for $34 bucks, if you want every connector including video. Even Amazon has their own brand of composite video cable. And to top all that off, even funnier, there's an audiophile 30-pin to RCA connector for $60 bucks. I'm sure some people feel better using a more expensive cable. But even the $60 dollar cable is cheaper than a Pure i-20.

 

I also agree with your last statement: the circuitry may be the real culprit. Which is why I was hoping to find someone who had modded this beast. I only found one similar chip with the same socket online, so aside from the relatively small hope of swapping chips, I think I'm stuck. I will probably end up putting this on eBay.

 

I really want to like this device. It's just too bright and harsh for me.

post #480 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by UmustBKidn View Post

 

I'm sure you mean, 30 pin cable, and line out stream. Yup, got 2 cables from Amazon now, one with RCA's and one with 3.5mm output, just to see if there was any difference between them:

 

Ziotek 1 ft, 30-pin to RCA cable, $9.99

Generic 30-pin to 3.5mm cable with a USB connection for charging, $5.10

 

And just to make sure, I fiddled with the ipod's volume control while these were connected, and audio level was not affected at all, from 0 to max volume. They are a notch or so cleaner than plumbing the ipod headphone jack into the Bravo. I haven't been able to tell if there's much difference between the above two cables yet. I probably just should have bought the Amazon cable and got RCA's and the USB for power. Oh well.

 

More links: a real fancy one from Apple for $34 bucks, if you want every connector including video. Even Amazon has their own brand of composite video cable. And to top all that off, even funnier, there's an audiophile 30-pin to RCA connector for $60 bucks. I'm sure some people feel better using a more expensive cable. But even the $60 dollar cable is cheaper than a Pure i-20.

 

I also agree with your last statement: the circuitry may be the real culprit. Which is why I was hoping to find someone who had modded this beast. I only found one similar chip with the same socket online, so aside from the relatively small hope of swapping chips, I think I'm stuck. I will probably end up putting this on eBay.

 

I really want to like this device. It's just too bright and harsh for me.

 

No I'm not looking for more expensive cables. You just didn't make it clear you were referring to an analog line out cable because all you said was "...fetch audio from the 30-pin..." without specifying if it was analog or digital, and the latter I assumed because this thread is about a device that extracted digital audio out of the iPod bypassing its DAC.

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