iPad g1 as a PMP/Transportable?
Jun 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

CrystalT

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I'm looking at getting one of these moderately cheap from a friend and wanted to know what its audio capabilities are.
 
How is its HP out? Is it dark? Light? Clean? Low distortion? High distortion? Let me know!
 
It's line-out dock. Is it clean as well? For home-use, I'd prefer to use a LO > RCA cable to my Pioneer VSX-9900, and then run my headphones through the Pioneer.
 
I'm not a believer in external dacs. I also don't have any power-hungry headphones, so amping is unecessary.
 
Jun 9, 2012 at 3:30 PM Post #3 of 6

CrystalT

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Like I said in the op, I don't believe in the use of external dacs unless it's absolutely necessary. That's why I'm asking how its HP out sounds, and how its line-out sounds.
 
Jun 10, 2012 at 3:13 AM Post #4 of 6

ProtegeManiac

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Yes, but my point was to say that chances are there won't be enough who can comment in depth on it; and if they did they'd probably be mostly in the negative considering they'd go through making it even bulkier by having a DAC-Amp with it (or as I assume it's not all about making use of the digital output). In any case I did use the headphone out on a friend's iPad and occasionally on my iPad2, and it's mostly for convenience and almost never with music (ie, playing games and I can't let the noise bother other people).
 
But of course I had to test everything (FLACPlayer and FLAC on my own iPad2, ALAC and AAC on the iPad; mostly jazz and audiophile recordings), and generally the iPad's headphone out works best with earphones like the CX300 and MEE M6; it was horrid with the Westone2 (Triple flange); and almost listenable with the Grado SR80 (small pads) and SR225 (large pads). On the ones that were good for listening, the sound was generally warm but with a few sharp edges on the treble; the Westone just seemed to sound wrong everywhere - bass was non-existent, midrange seemed EQ'd to the point that it almost doesn't sound like what it normally would in any of my other systems; with the Grados it was like listening to an average factory sound system in most modern cars - has many sharp edges, generally a little thin, but it wasn't too far from natural.
 
Then just for kicks, because my brother was asking why use the USB input and bother with a CCK, I hooked up the iPad to my Meier amp, with the SR80 hooked up - same tonal quality but with a little bit more oomph in the sound, mostly the bass, but that's about it. If anything the sharp edges seemed a little sharper, but I might have cranked it up higher since the Meier distorts at a higher volume past where the iPad does.
 
Basically, if you're gonna use an external amp, might as well use one with a DAC. If you don't want the extra equipment, especially on the go, get 'safe'-sounding (generally, much more warm than analytical) earphones. I'd recommend the CX300 over the MEE M6, if just between those that I've heard - the M6 still exhibits some of the sharp edges, noticeably more than the CX300. On most internet material though it is crisp and clear enough, like dialogue on Family Guy; or of course explosions on games and movies.
 
Jun 10, 2012 at 5:33 AM Post #5 of 6

CrystalT

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I just wanted to know how it sounded. Basically you're saying it's a bright source, which I'm perfectly fine with. I had a SGS1 before it got stolen at work, and it's also a bright source. Worked well with my Klipsch x10, SoundMAGIC PL11, ES18. I'll be using bright/semi-bright headphones like Grado SR60i, KRK KNS-6400, Koss UR40, etc.
 
I like bass-light headphones/sources. My main concerns are instrument separation, and speed.
 
 
Jun 11, 2012 at 4:14 AM Post #6 of 6

ProtegeManiac

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I have an SGS1 too and I never found it bright, save for the Westone2 on the tri-flange, but then it still wasn't anywhere near the iPads. Could be our software set-up though.

I don't have the iPad1 now but I have my iPad2 with me and the Westone2 on the foam tips, and trying it out again for more detailed impressions vs the SGS1. Bass is marginally louder but looser on the iPad2, midrange is thinner - some notes sound hollow, some of the treble notes are still noticeably sharper - however the foam tips have made the Westone2 much, much less painful with the iPad2. I can't test blind, but instrument separation and detail so far seem better on the SGS, so at least the sharper treble isn't likely to be causing psychoacoustic perception that the iPad2 is more detailed. You'd have to strain on most songs to hear this though, but of course it really depends on how many instruments are playing to begin with; problem though is that on some tracks some of the bass and treble basically just overpower some detail. The detail is "there," if you strain to hear what you might not have heard at first, but usually some notes are emphasized enough to take your attention away from the others. On speed/PRAT, the iPad on some tracks is noticeably a bit slower, mostly due to the decay characteristics of the bass notes. Feist's "One Evening" is my pick for testing this - I've had a cheap tube preamp before that sounded absolutely sluggish on this, too 'fast' on some SS amps (Rotel, etc). On a lot of other tracks you'd have to strain to notice it. The iPad2's sluggishness really is more from the bass, unlike that cheap tube preamp where even the midrange sounds slow.
 
I can't guess how it will do with your gear, because sometimes the load and current requirements can affect the sound (ie, it's never just what we assume is the freq response of the source or amp, but how each interacts with each speaker or headphone), but I'll try to use it with the SR80 (close enough to your SR60) as soon as I pop it out of the bamboo case. The Grado plug can't squeeze through the opening to get into the jack properly.
 

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