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External DAC's for iDevices.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by white lotus, May 30, 2013.
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  1. White Lotus
    When did I say "there is no difference"? I was simply asking for proof that there was. I don't see the harm in that. 

    Yes, I do believe cables sound the same, unless they are faulty. 

    I will remind you that the CEntrance product you mentioned has a built-in amplifier, and if you're experiencing major colouration/difference between units, this may play a part in it.


  2. thegrobe
    I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. I was responding in general to you, bigshot, greenleaf7 etc. in general, didn't mean it was your quote.
    I know I said I was going to bow out, but here's my encore. I'm allowed that right? Just to respond to your question...Yes, I am well aware that the CEntrance product has a built-in amplifier. It can also be used as DAC only. That's what I'm referring to. But thanks for attempting to debunk my experiences because for all you know I may not be aware of the amplifier section. 
    I apologize for stumbling into the "sound science" forum in which I am obviously in over my head. I just wandered into this thread the other day and saw greenleaf's post where he said he failed to see the logic in a "red wine mod" of an iPod. He then inferred the DAC of the iPod was replaced with a "new and improved" DAC. Well, that statement showed a gross misunderstanding of the process. Any further discussion based on that misunderstanding would be futile.
    So I figured I would chime in to clarify the process because it is something I have done for myself and also assisted other forum members. So I have some knowledge of the process. In fact the way I do it is am improvement to the "RWA" style. I send the signal directly out to the line out pins. The signal never touches the iPods innards after leaving the DAC. It's pretty nifty, if I may say so! A pure, unadulterated signal from the DAC. 
    I figured the "science" that would be discussed in this thread would be well served beginning with the correct facts. At least regarding iPod modifications. 
    So anyway, just wanted to clarify why I posted here in the first place, and that I am aware of how to operate the DACmini. Sorry if I stepped on any toes. Won't be posting in this forum anymore. 
  3. White Lotus
    Sorry, I must have missed GreenIeaf's original post. I, too, have a 5th generation iPod, with the RWA modification, and blackgate capacitors, as well as a 7th generation iPod.

    I believe Bigshot has heard/owned both, as well (unsure if he has listened to an iMod/DIYmod before)

    My original questions still remain.

    EDIT: I definitely don't want you to feel unwelcome here. Your opinion matters, especially to me, as I started the tread searching for it.

    I also have a number of desktop USB-DAC units, and notice different sound colouration between them, through line-out.

    Is this because of there being different DAC chips being used, or is it more dependant on the other components inside each unit?
  4. bigshot
    I haven't heard a modded iPod. I considered it, but once I compared the line out from my iPod to the standalone CD player and found there was no difference, I didn't see the point of it. You can't get better than identical... only different. And I didn't want different.
  5. boombobby289
    I'm newbie here. Need advice.
    What is the cheaper way to bypass the internal DAC of iPod Classic yet to keep a minimum level of portability?
    I don't mind to use powerbank or battery pack.
  6. stv014
  7. White Lotus
    Why do you want to bypass the internal DAC?
  8. nick_charles Contributor
    Audiophile orthodoxy dictates that the DACs and internal amps of all except uber-expensive/esoteric DAPs are poor quality and thus must be bypassed, in fact the DAC/Amp sections of most iPod gens are quite decent. To put this into context here is a cheap but good CD player http://www.stereophile.com/content/marantz-cd5004-cd-player-marantz-cd5004-cd-player-measurements and here is the 1st gen iPod  from 2003 http://www.stereophile.com/content/apple-ipod-portable-music-player-measurements the measurements on the iPod are pretty good except for the 50Hz spectrum. Whether this distortion is audible is an open question, later iPod versions measure much better http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm in short the objective quality is pretty good and apart from the relatively low output level does not need to be interfered with.
    The first mainstream attempt to bypass the iPod DAC was the $339 Wadia iTransport which if fed by an iPod touch ironically outputs a digital signal with 4x more jitter than the touch on its own (LOL) and you still need a separate DAC [​IMG]
  9. xnor

    I've noticed this for all kinds devices. They're advertised and reviewed as upgrades but are downgrades really despite having an audiophile price tag.

    As Douglas Self put it: "In the field of hifi, many people seem to have difficulty in deciding which direction forward is."
  10. musikaladin
    I am, amongst other iPod docks, using the Krell Kid, which is not an external DAC (sorry) but, as many others do, picks up the analogue signal from the dock-connector-socket (according to Krell in this case a balanced signal)... . Compared to other analogue docks and also the iPod's (classic, 160gigs) headphone-socket, frankly, you do not need a blind test to recognize profund differences. And in this case I subjectively perceive such differences as major improvements... be assured, I would not allow myself to be predetermined and biased by the Krell's price tag! Therefore I was too many times disappointed by super-expensive gear... I prefer to rather trust my ears...

    Isn't it quite self-evident that different hardware sounds differently, or the other way round, that different hardware can impossibly sound the same? It is not only about the frequently quoted capacitators, but also about the stability of power supply and many many many other variables in the game.

    Of course the same applies if you use an external DAC. I agree, that given similar or same performance data, the differences between different processors might rather be subtitle. But by changing the DAC you automatically change the amp section as well, and here we go again with all those variables...

    In the end to me it's not the question whether there are differences (since they are objectively there) but whether those differences are to my personal taste / preferences (which is obviously the subjective aspect to it) and by that increasing my joy of listening to music... and that' exactly the fun part of this hobby! How boring it would be if it all sounded the same...
  11. xnor
    musikaladin, who knows what the output impedance of that headphone jack is. It could easily be the main reason for the difference in sound you hear, especially if you use IEMs or low impedance headphones.
  12. bigshot
    Out of line out, all of my iPods from Gen 2 to Classic all sound exactly the same. The headphone jacks vary, but that isn't because of the DAC, That is just different impedances.
  13. musikaladin
    @ xnor & bigshot, that's exactly what I mean with "all those variables in the game". Yes, the differences might not be originated in the DAC, but in the amp part afterwards, whether it is impendances, PSU quality or whatever...
    To a lot of users the origin of the difference is not really important. They just recognize a difference from their DAC, even if the reason for the difference might be in the pre-amp-section of the DAC. That's fine with me, and I am happy if they like what they hear.
    What's making the issue a little questionable then, is the fact that some make statements about the quality of products they can not really judge, because they do not know about the complex inter-dependencies of electrical properties of different hardware (...errrr...and of course software too). They come to wrong conclusions then. If this leads to praising a product up to the skies, ok, fine, and if anybody bases his buying decision on such judgement and is later on disappointed, he has to blame himself....
    But if it leads to unqualified and unfair criticism of a product, then it becomes a real pain in the... since it is always difficult to gain a good reputation but very easy to destroy it.
    So again, the iPod's DAC is really good, but if somebody finds joy and subjective improvements in playing with DACs, then, why not....
  14. bigshot
    The iPod is a portable device designed for portable headphones. If you want to plug low impedance headphones in you get yourself a cheap cmoy amp and it's just as good as a standalone CD player. The problem isn't the iPod. It's your headphones.
    Any decent DAC will perform to specs that exceed your ability to hear. If you are hearing a difference, there's something wrong with the equipment. It's broken. Return it. Same goes for amps.
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