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Does it make sense to use an amp with an iPad mini for my car?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, would really appreciate any input into my current situation:

 

I'm installing an iPad mini with Retina display in my car. Planning to use an Apple Lightning to 30-pin adaptor and a Kensington 2-1 line out audio cable to run it into the AUX port in my car. My question though is, would I get noticeably better sound if I ran the 3.5mm line out audio cable from the iPad into a portable headphone amp before passing it into the AUX port in my car?

 

My car is the new Porsche Boxster and has the BOSE surround sound system with eight amplifier channels, 10 speakers, an active subwoofer behind the dash, and a total output of 445 watts. 

 

I plugged it in and it sounds fantastic already while playing Apple Lossless music, but I'm wondering if it could be noticeably better with a portable headphone amp in between the iPad and the AUX port. Or would that be redundant since the AUX port feeds into the BOSE amplifier that's part of my car?

 

Adding a portable headphone amp in between the iPad and AUX port would be a pain because I would probably have to keep it in the glovebox (that's where the AUX port is) and it would take up precious glovebox space. But if it would make the sound NOTICEABLE better, I'd be willing to do it. After all, I'll have spend $3,000 on this iPad mini install after all is said and done (the bezel modification alone to make it look like it was factory installed was $1,500 alone).

 

So assuming you'd recommend a portable headphone amp, which one? Can you suggest one in specific? It would need to be powered by USB so I can plug it into the USB port in the glovebox for constant power.

 

Also, is there any other gear you'd recommend I combine with the iPad mini in my car in order to get the very best sound output? 

 

I know that BOSE in general is not the best in terms of sound and I've listened to a lot of BOSE systems that I've been displeased with, but the BOSE in this car sounds exceptionally good for some reason. So don't discount it by saying that increasing the source quality would be pointless because the speakers are BOSE. They are the best BOSE I think I've heard and I'd love to take advantage of their full potential.

 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or ideas! :)

post #2 of 7

What you're suggesting is indeed redundant--all you're doing is boosting the signal processed from the (presumably lousy) DAC in your iPad to your receiver/amp.  A better way to improve your sound is by sending your music directly to your receiver, as a digital signal rather than as an analog one, thereby using its DAC instead.  Many have USB ports for accepting an external hard-drive filled with music--does yours not? 

 

There're lots of really fancy receivers out on the market if the one you have doesn't employ a control interface or DAC to your liking.  I wouldn't be surprised if there are some that interface with iDevices as well, if you're still bent on using your iPad to play music in your vehicle.  If that's not enough, go further and change out your amps and speakers.  There are plenty of other information resources out there more particularly devoted to car audio than Headfi.org if you'd like to educate yourself even more.  Best of luck to yah, mate.


Edited by hourousiya1 - 11/22/13 at 10:12pm
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by hourousiya1 View Post

What you're suggesting is indeed redundant.  Stick to dedicated speaker amps.  There's a whole 'nother world in car audio to explore in regards to receivers, amplification, speakers, etc.

A better way to improve your sound is by sending your music directly to your receiver (as a digital signal rather than as an analog one).  Many have USB ports for accepting an external hard-drive filled with music.  There're lots of really fancy receivers out on the market if the one you have doesn't have a control interface to your liking.  I wouldn't be surprised if they interface with iDevices as well.

If you're bent on using the receiver's auxillary input, don't look into devices that're made to boost line-level signals to headphones, but rather, look into preamp units.  That's another world to explore commonly trekked by musicians looking to boost the signal(s) between their instruments (or mics) to their amplifiers or mixing boards.

I could not agree more. I have a Porsche Panamera 4 and I looked into improving the sound and a preamp was just too bulky and I wanted to avoid double amping the sound so I went with just a lighting to 30 pin adapter with the Wolfson DAC chip and an LOD.
post #4 of 7

^^ edits to post above

 

Surely there are some, maybe higher-end, car receiver/amp units that have better DACs built right in, aren't there?

 

Another option is to get something like an Astell&Kern AK10--interface it with your iPad, then run its line-out to your car stereo's auxillary jack (the AK10 was demonstrated with desktop speakers at CanJam RMAF 2013; check it out on YouTube).  Once you drive to your destination, take it with you, connect your smartphone to it, and enjoy music through a good set of IEMs.

 

Both of yah go out and nail some hairpins whilst jammin' out to your favorite rock stars for us sportscar-lacking folk, ok? :)


Edited by hourousiya1 - 11/23/13 at 12:11am
post #5 of 7

Get a deck that bypasses the "i" DAC, lost of companies make these, I suggest the Pioneer 80PRS, amp is redundant.

post #6 of 7

yeah even my $200 apline b(CDE 123 i think) bypasses my iPods DAC and has a dual burbrown the 80PRS has some crazy quad dac floating point over sampling thingy haha

post #7 of 7

"Pioneer starts with audiophile-grade components — components like a set of three Burr-Brown® 24-bit D/A converters, one each for the lows, mids, and highs, along with beefy, high-capacitance power supply capacitors that keep your sound clean and focused even when you push your system. A 4-layer circuit board design reduces internal noise by shielding vulnerable components with copper foil."

 

"The DEH-80PRS utilizes a 28-bit binary floating-point digital signal processor, which provides incredibly precise control of the receiver's signal processing and tuning. What's this mean to you? You can adjust the time alignment and other acoustic parameters without degrading the original signal — the sound stays accurate and real."

 

It does 3 way active X-overs and each channel gets its own burr-brown haha

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