Improve the sound of your iPod at home...
Mar 14, 2006 at 9:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1

TheSloth

Headphoneus Supremus
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From the 'why on earth didn't I think of this before?' department, or the 'what a complete waste of time and money' department, depending on your mood...:

A while back NAIM announced their 'iSupply' for iPods and some of their smaller electronics. The iSupply is a rather simple looking wall wart on steroids that outputs 24V. NAIM claim that this is actually the ideal voltage for the iPod, which has an internal regulator and splitter to send that to the various components, while charging the battery. They also claim that along with the increased voltage to the electronics, the clean power delivered by their wall wart produces better sound than the iPod running off it's included power adapter, or off it's internal battery.

The problem is, they charge $165 for the privilege. But hold on, it's just a 24V supply. I happened to have a rather good, inexpensive, unregulated 24V wall wart left over from a DIY project which would seem to be a perfect low cost equivalent to the iSupply. The obvious solution would be to solder on an iPod docking cable to the output of the 24V wall wart, however I didn't have a pinout of the iPod and didn't really want to do the soldering on something so small and delicate.

Quite accidentally I saw one of these mentioned on an Apple site: http://www.usbfirewire.com/Parts/rr-...d-adapter.html. It seems that someone has done the soldering for me. Plug in the 24V supply to the adapter cable, plug in the regular iPod firewire to dock cable into the adapter cable, and hey presto a (relatively) low cost alternative to the iSupply - 24V of clean goodness.

Sonic differences. Yes there are, and they are good ones. Before, the battery sound was definitely cleaner than the wall supply sound, and it was my preference for my bedside system. With a good, high voltage supply, the iPod just kicks into another gear. More weight, body, soundstage and if my ears aren't crazy, better channel seperation. It's subtle, but at the same time to a well trained hi-fi ear it's obvious. The improvements apply to both the line out and headphone outs. Plugging my Ety 4p's directly into the headphone out and then A/B'ing by putting it into and removing it from the dock shows the difference clearly.

Whether it's worth the cost of buying a 24V supply just for the purpose is debatable, but if you have an at least decent one lying around gathering dust, you owe it to your iPod to try it out!
 

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