Newly registered but love the forum!
I hope someone can please help put me right on a few points or confirm things I am unsure about...
I am looking to make good use of my old iPhone 3GS (without sim, making it into a "free iPod!) I listen to a wide range of music from classical, jazz, rock and pop to 2manydjs and the Ninja Tune label. My CDs are ripped to Apple Lossless and I listen to high bit rate 320kbps internet radio.
My amp is a Densen DM-10 and speakers are Dynaudio Contour 1.3. I don't have a source since my CD player packed in but have been using my iPhone above with the standard dock and 3.5mm audio cable! Sacrilege!
Anyway - here's where I would like to ask for your help and wise advice:
1. My options for getting the digital signal off the iPhone.
a) A digital dock such as the Arcam drDock (£200) or Cambridge iD100 (£150) to a DAC with Optical / co-axial input.
Q. Am I correct in thinking that option b) will work? A 30-pin to USB cable into a DAC?
Q. Is the USB digital signal output from the iDevice "the same" as from a PC and therefore any DAC with a USB digital input will work?
Q. I have read about asynchronous being the thing to look out for. Is this just a myth and / or if I get a decent DAC it will be taken care of anyway and in fact what it sounds like musically is more important.
Q. I realise that SPDIF and Optical were the original digital formats but is USB still ok? i.e. should I be looking to get the USB signal off the iPod and get it converted to SPDIF by the Cambridge iD100?
Q. Apart from being able to charge the device, what's the advantage of a dock in terms of sound quality?
2. The DAC
a) Obviously I could use the Arcam drDock as the DAC as it has analogue L+R phono outputs as well as SPDIF.
b) Any decent DAC with USB input if I am to use the cable option.
I want to keep the price reasonable, not least because I am only looking to maximise what is ultimately an obsolete phone. I don't mind spending the price of the Arcam drDock (£200) or slightly more.
So really it boils down to:
1. Just get the Arcam drDock for £200 and be done with it.
2. Use a 30pin to USB digital cable and a stand-alone DAC.
I suppose the disadvantage of a dock is that when the iPhone packs in, I'll be left with a dock with a 30-pin connector. At least if I used a cable that's less money down the drain.
With a stand alone DAC I can use it for other things like a streamer or a new iPod.
Thank you for reading this far and sorry if I rambled on!
All thoughts and suggestions greatly appreciated...