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Didital Things
Topic: OK, digitechs, why won't iPOD "dock" DAC work?

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Posted by Paul S on 10-21-2008

Since it's always hard to guage situational significance by the presence or absence of fanfare, and since I know squat about digital, I was wondering if anyone better educated than I (ie, anyone) happened to see the iPOD "dock" review in the October 2008 Stereophile, which I just got around to reading

Although there are some indications that the reviewer is not particularly demanding either of media or playback, still, the idea of the file sharing suggested by this "system" gets my heart racing.

Of course I am overlooking critical issues, right?  No way it can be as simple as downloading music files into an iPOD and playing them straight into the main system like a CD, like the reviewer says, right?

And did I read that the reviewer also mentions using the dock's "digital output" into his CD player?  On the one hand, this seems to make no sense at all.  On the other hand, is he saying I could feed an iPOD into my iDAT?

No, you're right; I don't understand what I'm reading.

The "dock" is made in China for Wadia.  I've heard lots of their constantly-changing CD stuff, which I rank with EMM, etc, and would generally not consider for my main system.  But I'm pretty sure I would compromise to get the file sharing so cheap; and if, as the reviewer says, there is no drop in quality from redbook CD, then, whoopie!

(If I mention that the files in question are MP3, do you lose interest?)

Paul S

Posted by Gregm on 10-22-2008
I am not sure I grasped the main question -- I am myself challenged -- but to the following is impossible:
if, as the reviewer says, there is no drop in quality from redbook CD, (...) the files in question are MP3...
Your reviewer is aurally challenged.
Stereo Cd is 1,411kbps while mp3 is 128kbps; no way they sound the same.
Yianni is about the best you can do musically on basic mp-3. For orchestral, even at 256 the result is poor.

Downloading files onto an ipod & listening is easily done... i.e. as you described it, no more no less. You can use the output of the i-pod for the main system. The only thing is the actual sound. Irrespective of how bad you expect it to sound, it will. Stick to the ipod. You can use a type of file called "aiff" which works with i-tunes, but it's about as big as a cd anyway.

On the other hand, downloading mp-3 is nice & fast! Imagine, it could easily take you ½ a day to download in 1411 what you can get in mp-3 form in an hour. Regards

Posted by Paul S on 10-22-2008
Thanks, Greg.

The reviewer (Wes Phillips) gave me the impression that Wadia had finally vaulted the main obstacle to "CD-quality" sound by providing an outboard DAC for the largest capacity, license-keyed iPODs.  It is quite likely that I, in my ignorance, have wishfully extended the putative capibility to reach redbook playback levels with iPODs to internet file sharing.

Wes also ran A/B tests with "loss-less" ALC files ripped from his own CDs, and he literally said, "If there was a difference between the original CD and the digital output of the 170iTransport, I never heard it." (Wes Phillips)

But I suppose ripping a CD onto an iPOD nano is different than downloading ALC, WAV, or AIF files, because, if nothing else, one always faces the issue of TIME with respect to downloading LARGE files?  Right?

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by Gregm on 10-23-2008
...sorry Paul.
The ref to the M4 (alc) puts things into better perspective. However, please note that in numbers it's about ½ the size of a cd. This means that there is only ½ as much information ref the music being stored.
Maybe Mr Philips wishes to express his enthusiasm for Apple's coding, rather than the actual event. The two, cd & M4P files, should NOT sound the same: they're different files. If they do, there may be something wrong with the set-up.

OTOH, WAVs, AIFFs, are very heavy files. WAVs take some compression (you "decompress" after); don't know about the aiffs though. Kids -- like my daughter -- rarely use anything but mp3 it seems.

BTW, you can copy yr cd onto a nano, through an "i-tunes" application on yr puter. As a matter of fact, you can choose to copy in AIFF or raw (wav) format if you wish -- but the nano will only fit ¬20 cd that way. Mind you, that in itself isn't 'alf bad... a full Beeth symphony cycle, for example. Lose the 9th & you can cram in most/all of the p. concerti!

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