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whats the point of a digital transport?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
What's the reason why you would want to use a digital transport like the Onkyo ND-S1 or Wadia 171i? Is there a difference between them and a USB cable out to a DAC?
post #2 of 16

1) You can't just use a USB Cable out to a DAC unless its an iPad+CCK or some of those iPhones with some software tweaking involved

2) Depending on the gear downstream from there, it might make an easily appreciable difference between hooking up the iDevice lineout to the amp or getting a digital stream out of it.

For the most part, a $200 or so digital transport plus an iPod Classic gets you a digital stream (through SPDIF, and not USB - but both have their own performance advantages) with lots of storage, especially if most of your music is on ALAC. And some can be had used for a lot less money than a Touch iven they are strictly music-only devices, so you expand storage by getting another iPod.

Personally the way you can just DLNA uncompressed audio out of a Seagate GoFlex Satellite 500gb nowadays, and most headphone-related DACs (ie, those that have a headphone driver circuit built into them) have USB, and if you already have an iPad anyway, this would be the alternative that can give you both storage and a digital stream to a separate DAC.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

So most portable dacs take analog in from an ipod instead of a digital in?


Edited by sobrietywarrior - 10/9/12 at 10:31am
post #4 of 16

     Quote:

Originally Posted by sobrietywarrior View Post

So most portable dacs take analog in from an ipod instead of a digital in?

A DAC is a "Digital-to Analog Converter".  An analog signal from an iPod is already converted by the DAC in the iPod.  An analog line-out would go straight to an amp.

Hope that helps...

 

Cheers!beerchug.gif

-HK sends

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Oops I meant portable amp. So all LOD cables end in an analog termination?

post #6 of 16

    Quote:

Originally Posted by sobrietywarrior View Post

Oops I meant portable amp. So all LOD cables end in an analog termination?

If I am not mistaken, one of the connections in the iPod socket bypasses the on-board DAC and amp and makes a digital signal available for the dock to receive (or a DAC if you have a special connector).  The Onkyo dock looks like it takes the digital signal and allows it to be sent via SPDIF or optical to an external DAC/Amp.  This allows you to tailor your sound preferences by deciding what DAC and Amp you want to use.  Sometimes people aren't happy with sound straight from the player.  A transport/dock gives them the flexibility to experiment.

 

Did that help?

 

Cheers!

-HK sends 


Edited by HK_sends - 10/9/12 at 4:26pm
post #7 of 16

     Quote:

Originally Posted by sobrietywarrior View Post

Oops I meant portable amp. So all LOD cables end in an analog termination?

As I mentioned, you can get a digital signal from the connector, so it should be feasable for a LOD cable to be wired for digital vice analog...I just don't know how common that is.

 

Cheers!beerchug.gif

-HK sends


Edited by HK_sends - 10/9/12 at 4:33pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sobrietywarrior View Post

Oops I meant portable amp. So all LOD cables end in an analog termination?

 

Normally yes ; but keep in mind the whole concept of a dock connector which puts every pin for every imaginable purpose save for the headphone and microphone. some of the pins are for power, some for analog line out, some for the digital data transfer which can be unlocked by a chip to be used as a digital stream. So while normally the LODs we refer to have 3.5mm jacks (or 2xRCA) custome LODs bundled with the Fostex HP-P1 for example are basically the reverse of a Belkin charge-only cable, ie, they are short, data-only cables - since such portable one-box DAC+Amp devices have no traditional dock that keeps the device "standing up" as on an Onkyo NDS-1 or Wadia 170.

post #9 of 16

by definition any LOD (line-out DOC) would be terminated (and obviously started) in analog.  Otherwise it's just a DOC connection.  Line-out is a specific analog signal.
 

post #10 of 16

What they said! biggrin.gif

 

Cheers!beerchug.gif

-HK sends

post #11 of 16
So are there any newer versions/improvements on digital transport devices for an ipod classic other than the onkyo and wadia? Any really good affordable DAC's that are compatible with IPod Classics? I'm holding out for a slightly more ideal/affordable/natural sounding DAP to materialize, so it's the ipod until then. However I would like to have the convenience of accessing the digital data from my ipod classic and using a better DAC for a stereo and for headphones. When I do finally buy the next DAP the iPod will still be used plenty, especially if I can get the files directly off of it. Just curious if there a more recent versions of data transfer devices or DACs that are head-fi approved.
Edited by Happytalk - 1/4/15 at 3:48pm
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happytalk View Post

So are there any newer versions/improvements on digital transport devices for an ipod classic other than the onkyo and wadia? Any really good affordable DAC's that are compatible with IPod Classics? I'm holding out for a slightly more ideal/affordable/natural sounding DAP to materialize, so it's the ipod until then. However I would like to have the convenience of accessing the digital data from my ipod classic and using a better DAC for a stereo and for headphones. When I do finally buy the next DAP the iPod will still be used plenty, especially if I can get the files directly off of it. Just curious if there a more recent versions of data transfer devices or DACs that are head-fi approved.

 

There was the NuForce that came out a bit later than those. Apart from that, the newer units aren't pure iDevice transports, but DAC-HPamps with dedicated iDevice inputs, like the Shanling below. This is likely primarily due to Apple focusing more on the touchscreen devices, and at some point it was discovered that it would generally be pointless to pay for the license to use that dedicated Apple chip unlocking USB audio streaming when any consumer can just get a Camera Connection Kit USB adapter for their iPad. iOS7 later enabled it for the iPhone, perhaps with Apple realizing that the jig was up anyway and they'd make more money keeping people buying iDevices (note that some iPads, inculding my iPad2, lost all USB audio capabilities with iOS6.3.1) before everyone who isn't a straight out Apple fan goes for Androids compatible with USB devices through the OTG adapter.

 

 

post #13 of 16
Thanks. After a lot of reading, I thought the nuforce wouldn't work for some reason. Maybe quality control issues, if I remember correctly. I think the onkyo can be found for less $. However I don't think I would be able to feed it into my Odac DAC. The odac just has a mini USB input.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happytalk View Post

Thanks. After a lot of reading, I thought the nuforce wouldn't work for some reason. Maybe quality control issues, if I remember correctly. I think the onkyo can be found for less $. However I don't think I would be able to feed it into my Odac DAC. The odac just has a mini USB input.

 

It was probably the published specs. Initially NuForce published that it works off iTunes, and lists file format compatibility on the site, with only the file formats compatible with iTunes. So for a time, many people who aren't hardcore Apple fans didn't buy it thinking it was locked into using iTunes, the same way that the 4g/5g iPods (and the Classic) would not work on docks if you're running Rockbox. I only found out this wasn't the case (ie it worked with other player apps, and also other formats as long as that player can run it, like FLAC on FLACPlayer) when it was on sale for $99 as it was getting phased out. By that time though I was already using my SGS3 with an OTG cable.

post #15 of 16
I remember now. I was looking for a DAC and I like my details when I listen to music. The main thing was the talk of nu force tuning their DAC. Since it is generally difficult and or expensive to find an iPod classic compatible DAC I gave up and just got a C5 amp for mobile and an odac-O2 setup for home use with my MacBook. But I bounce back and forth between two apartments and don't always have everything set up and ready to go, so an iPod transport is my new curiosity.
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