Hey -- so I'm fairly ignorant about hi-fi stuff, but is something like this http://www.crutchfield.com/p_773ICON2B/ ... _and_specs
(not necessarily this specific model) actually going to make my iPod sound much better when plugged into my undistinguished stereo receiver/bookshelf speaker setup? By "much better" I mean "as good or better than my random cd player".
Important difference between your setups: bogusaurus's setup is (probably) desktop/laptop > USB out > amp/DAC > headphone. If I recall correctly iPods only have line out, so you'll need an iPod dock or a amp/DAC with line in. I have no clue about iPod docks but here are some amp/DAC suggestions:
NuForce Icon Mobile
Note 1: the DAC inside an iPod is quite reasonable (or good, if you have the iPod video), but the signal is ****ed between the DAC and the headphone jack due to Apple's wonky circuit design. This, coupled with your
louissandwich wrote:undistinguished stereo receiver/bookshelf speaker
points to a amp/DAC in the sub-$100 range - anything higher is overkill, unless you're planning to upgrade the rest of your system later. The FiiO range is really good value for money - check Amazon and eBay.
Note 2: before you ask, yes, you probably don't need the DAC part of your amp at this point since your iPod only outputs analog. But in my experience, it's almost always useful to have later down the road.[/quote]
I brought this amp home to power a better set of headphones. It also doubles as a pre-amp. For work I bought a cheaper FIIO E7 which does just as fine a job with the AKG271s headphones. I am getting bit-perfect digital out from the laptop via USB, so this would be different to your standard iPod output. There might be docks for the iPod which will do the bit-perfect thing.
When picking an amp/DAC, you should keep two things in consideration:
1. Your headphones. If they are not high-end and actually in need of an amp, then you probably won't notice anything much different between a) no amp b) a cheap amp and c) a more expensive one.
2. One of the big benefits is isolation from computer interference. No chirpy sounds from the laptop coming through the music etc.
I'd say the stuff recommended by rappard is all good. The FIIO E7 is really well-built and cheap.[/quote]
Thanks, this is really helpful. Since posting this, I've remembered that I may actually have a line on a better amplifier + tuner setup that a relative isn't using. I think I'll start there and see what needs augmenting afterwards. Sine the headphone jack circuit is apparently a weak point on the ipod, I may look into docks as well.[/quote]
So, this is interesting-- http://www.nuforce.com/hp/products/ido/index.php"Icon iDo bypasses the built-in DAC and extracts the audio data stored on the device in its original digital form in USB Host Mode. It then converts the high-quality files for bit-perfect and low-jitter music playback. "
It won't mean much at present given my run-of the- mill speaker situation, but it's interesting as a development (I've seen similar things at much higher prices before).