Originally Posted by goodsound
I have seen a lot of discussion about bypassing the Ipod's dac, and there seems to be some options available to bypass the internal dac and extract the digital signal out of the device. However, there seems to be no clear concensus as to whether bypassing the internal dac really does gain anything or not. Does it improve the sound quality significantly ? Has a dac been found that if fed the digital output from the Ipod results in much better sound ?
In other words how good/bad is the internal dac and analog output section of the Ipod ?
Would like to hear comments on this matter.
Probably everyone has a different opinion as to what is a "significant" improvement in sound quality. More so when cost of the improvements is added to the equation.
I first added an LOD > Pico to my iPhone 4s - thought it made a modest improvement to sound quality. Better dynamics, somewhat improved transparency, better base definition. But trying to isolate specific musical details as to why it was better was a challenge - it was the musical whole that was more engaging. The add ons ($500) cost as much as the source.
I've since added a Solo -db. It made what I believe was another modest improvement in sound quality - mostly in transparency. It was a little easier to identify musical details that were "better", but adding it wasn't an epiphany. Where I might use the LOD > Pico as a portable, the CLAS pretty much stays on my desktop. Even if one went with the Solo -R, we are still looking at an additional $600 + with cables.
The sound quality straight from an iDevice is actually pretty good - I would be pretty happy with just that if that was all I had. Through good compatible headphones, it can be quite satisfying.
There are rumors that Audioquest might come out with a iDevice compatible DAC / headamp similar to the Dragonfly. It was originally thought that it might become available early next year, but I have heard rumors that the new Apple lightning connector might have affected those plans. But if they do manufacture it, and it comes in any where near the Dragonfly price, maybe $300, it could be a game changer for many. A "significant" improvement in sound quality and truly portable.