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post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello, I have never researched amps or dac's until now and I want to know all of the slim portable headphone amp + dac manufacturers that make ones that would match the shape of the ipod touch. I don't want one that has functions to change the sound quality of the music listened to with it (example being a bass boost or reducer function) because I don't like tampering with the sound of my songs and would like to hear them the way the artist intended. Also, I want a digital volume control instead of an analog one. Also, I would want to know the best type of connection between an ipod and amp/dac. Is it LOD or is there something better?


Edited by KingOfTheWild - 2/9/12 at 10:00pm
post #2 of 23

I've been wanting to put together/collect information about all the portable amps out on the market. We need a buyers guide for portable amps just like the headphone area has a buyers guide with tons of different models and some basic reviews/points on each. It would be very useful.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Agreed!

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenman345 View Post

I've been wanting to put together/collect information about all the portable amps out on the market. We need a buyers guide for portable amps just like the headphone area has a buyers guide with tons of different models and some basic reviews/points on each. It would be very useful.



agreed!

post #5 of 23

No time like the present haha.

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingalekay View Post

Hello, I have never researched amps or dac's until now and I want to know all of the slim portable headphone amp + dac manufacturers that make ones that would match the shape of the ipod touch. I don't want one that has functions to change the sound quality of the music listened to with it (example being a bass boost or reducer function) because I don't like tampering with the sound of my songs and would like to hear them the way the artist intended. Also, I want a digital volume control instead of an analog one. Also, I would want to know the best type of connection between an ipod and amp/dac. Is it LOD or is there something better?

 

Your question is easy.  It is none.  At present there is no "slim portable headphone amp+dac that match the shape of the ipod touch"  Because first you'll have to get the digital signal out of the ipod/touch for the dac to process and to do that in the portable realm you have two choices.
 

In terms of portable headphone amp+Dac that you can use with an Ipod/touch/iphone etc, you have only two choices:  The CLAS Solo and the Foster Hp-p1.  There are other devices that can get the digital signal out of the ipod/touch but they are not portable, like the Istreamer, Wadia etc

 

As for slim amps that use digital volume control, there are the RSA Shadow, Pico Slim, Ibasso T5 etc.

 

If you don't want to tamper with the signal of your songs just leave them where they are at, on the hard drive or your memory card.  As soon as you start processing the digital signals, you are tampering with your signal to a certain degree. All DACs and amps will change the sound from the way the artist intended to certain extend.  Your only hope is to look for the most transparent amp and dac so your music is altered minimally.  Bass boost, EQ, and reducers are the extreme type of tampering, but all process signals is a form of tampering.

 


Edited by Jalo - 2/1/12 at 5:12pm
post #7 of 23

I think you are wrong, but not entirely sure. The Headroom Total Bithead is a portable DAC and AMP combination, and it claims to use the iPad camera connector to get the bit-perfect output from an iPad. I wonder if it will work with an iPod 7th gen that way. Anyone know? if so, this would be awesome

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

 

Your question is easy.  It is none.  At present there is no "slim portable headphone amp+dac that match the shape of the ipod touch"  Because first you'll have to get the digital signal out of the ipod/touch for the dac to process and to do that in the portable realm you have two choices.
 

In terms of portable headphone amp+Dac that you can use with an Ipod/touch/iphone etc, you have only two choices:  The CLAS Solo and the Foster Hp-p1.  There are other devices that can get the digital signal out of the ipod/touch but they are not portable, like the Istreamer, Wadia etc

 

As for slim amps that use digital volume control, there are the RSA Shadow, Pico Slim, Ibasso T5 etc.

 

If you don't want to tamper with the signal of your songs just leave them where they are at, on the hard drive or your memory card.  As soon as you start processing the digital signals, you are tampering with your signal to a certain degree. All DACs and amps will change the sound from the way the artist intended to certain extend.  Your only hope is to look for the most transparent amp and dac so your music is altered minimally.  Bass boost, EQ, and reducers are the extreme type of tampering, but all process signals is a form of tampering.

 



 

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenman345 View Post

I think you are wrong, but not entirely sure. The Headroom Total Bithead is a portable DAC and AMP combination, and it claims to use the iPad camera connector to get the bit-perfect output from an iPad. I wonder if it will work with an iPod 7th gen that way. Anyone know? if so, this would be awesome

 



 


And I think you are wrong about the Total Bithead - can you link me to the page where you saw the above claim ? There is only device, AFAIK, that will take the digital signal from an iPad for anything resembling the Bithead's sticker price, and that isnt portable.

 

post #9 of 23

http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/amplifiers/headroom-total-bithead.php

 

if it fits in my pocket and it doesnt need to be plugged into the wall, its portable
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post


And I think you are wrong about the Total Bithead - can you link me to the page where you saw the above claim ? There is only device, AFAIK, that will take the digital signal from an iPad for anything resembling the Bithead's sticker price, and that isnt portable.

 



 

post #10 of 23

Yes, its portable, but that is the first time that I have seen that claim from Headroom. Its not the same as the CLAS taking a digital signal directly from the iPod line-out connector, but I haven't heard either solution so I cant comment further. I stand corrected - if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are its a duck.

 

There is a 'list of DACs that work with the iPad' thread here somewhere.

post #11 of 23

Yea, I really wish the other solutions that are documented and claim to work for iPods were a lot less expensive. the Total Bithead is definitely in my price range and I hope someone that owns one sees this and will help answer my questions
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Yes, its portable, but that is the first time that I have seen that claim from Headroom. Its not the same as the CLAS taking a digital signal directly from the iPod line-out connector, but I haven't heard either solution so I cant comment further. I stand corrected - if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are its a duck.

 

There is a 'list of DACs that work with the iPad' thread here somewhere.



 

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenman345 View Post

I think you are wrong, but not entirely sure. The Headroom Total Bithead is a portable DAC and AMP combination, and it claims to use the iPad camera connector to get the bit-perfect output from an iPad. I wonder if it will work with an iPod 7th gen that way. Anyone know? if so, this would be awesome

 



 


The Ipad is in another category.  The OP was asking about DAC+AMP for the Itouch.  So as far as Itouch is concern my comment is still accurate.  The Ipad camera connector only works with Ipad.  It doesn't work with Ipod/itouch/iphone.  If you want to put a DAC+AMP to any ipod/itouch/iphone, you still only have two choices in the portable domain:  Solo and Fostex Hpp1.

 

post #13 of 23

I'm not familiar with the Bihead, but I run my iPAD (emphasis) through the iPad dock-to-USB Apple camera connector to a USB cable to the back of my Pico (not Slim) amp/DAC. My assumption is that this is a pure digital-to-digital connection. 

 

This setup (despite the same dock connection) does NOT work on my iPhone 3GS. This is likely because the Apple camera connector does not work with the iPhone. So I have to use a traditional line-out dock cable that plugs into the front of my Pico. My understanding is that this is better than audio jack, but not as clean as all-digital setup.

 

Obviously the iPad won't fit in your pocket, but I wanted to point out the differences. 

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mchang View Post

 

This setup (despite the same dock connection) does NOT work on my iPhone 3GS. This is likely because the Apple camera connector does not work with the iPhone. So I have to use a traditional line-out dock cable that plugs into the front of my Pico.

 

One can only assume that Apple had to build in extra smarts for the connector to provide USB capability via the camera connection kit. When you use the LOD cable, you are simply bypassing the iDevice's amp : its still an analog signal from the iDevice.

 

I dont know what 'magic' you need in a USB DAC for it to work with the iPad, but Head-Fiers running Linux will know how easy it is to hook a bog-standard iPod up to a laptop, crank up Amarok or one of the other apps that lets you transfer files from the iPod, and start playing music from your iPod via a USB DAC - it doesnt work with all iDevices, but I had no problems with my 6G Nano.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

 

One can only assume that Apple had to build in extra smarts for the connector to provide USB capability via the camera connection kit. When you use the LOD cable, you are simply bypassing the iDevice's amp : its still an analog signal from the iDevice.

 

I dont know what 'magic' you need in a USB DAC for it to work with the iPad, but Head-Fiers running Linux will know how easy it is to hook a bog-standard iPod up to a laptop, crank up Amarok or one of the other apps that lets you transfer files from the iPod, and start playing music from your iPod via a USB DAC - it doesnt work with all iDevices, but I had no problems with my 6G Nano.


When you use Linux you are simply using the iDevices regular USB access mode that it uses to get files on the device in the first place. Older iDevices were less protected and that is why you can see the files, newer ones are a bit more tricky in the sense they run a weird operating system that fights back against linux computers when you try to get into them. Hooking the iDevice up to a computer is like using it as an external hard drive, a really expensive one at that too.

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