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Thoughts on iPod as a hi-fi input?

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max157

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Hello!

Just wonder how people think about iPod or other MP3 players as source of input to their stereo system. My system consists of B&K Ref 50 pre-amp and 200.7 amp with ML Ascent i’s and Descent sub. I also have a Denon 3910 as a DVD/CD player but it’s a single disc player and I’m too lazy to change out CD when it’s done playing :eek: . IMHO, the sound quality of my iPod is the same as my CD player. But since I’m new to the hi-fi arena, I wanted to see what other people thoughts on the matter.

Thanks,
Max
 

DTB300

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I don't use an iPod, but I do have my PC hooked up so I can play Rhapsody Streaming Audio out the stereo. Since it is streaming and not the greatest quality, like MP3's, it is still nice to be able to listen to some alternate music without having commercials - like the radio.

I use a product called Hi-Fi Link which uses USB->RCA->Stereo Input instead of coming off the sound card.

Dan
 

SugarMedia

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iPods are great! They have wonderful form and function. Though MP3's sound compressd IMHO, I recently read somewhere that they are now accepting more file formats which supposedly loose less digital data from the original source.... (Flacc??)

I also read that Musical Fidelity is including with the A3.5 Series a, "3.5mm stereo jack plug to two RCA plug audio lead (1metre) for accessory connection to iPod." So it seems to be catching on with Audio Manufacturers as a direction of the future.

For me, I only use my iPod when I'm away from the house...usually to and from work on the subway and bus.

As for the accessiblity of 1,000's of songs that you're probably looking for, I use my Powerbook, and stream from my "Airport Express" into the stereo. Works like a charm, but for me, it's still no match next to a good CD.
 

sleepysurf

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iPods, and most other MP3 players typically use LOSSY compression, in order to save file size, so you are definitely sacrificing fidelity in that format. Conversely, FLAC (also APE, SHN, and Apple's ALAC formats) use LOSSLESS compression, gaining ~40-60% file compression, but rendering "bit-perfect" renditions on playback.

In a high-end system, you will definitely notice the difference.

Some of the newer portable players DO support LOSSLESS playback (at the price of larger file size). With rapidly falling hard disc prices, file size will be somewhat less critical in the future.

IMHO, FLAC files are the way to go (fastest DEcompression, open-source format, rapidly growing hardware and software support). I have set up a streaming media server using the SlimDevices Squeezebox2. Once you have all your CD's ripped to FLAC, you could always convert them to MP3's for portable playback, if desired, but keep the FLAC as your bit-perfect "audiophile" archive.
 
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sleepysurf

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One more PLUS is that Slim Devices (manufacturer of Squeezebox2), has developed the SqueezeNetwork (free for SB2 users), which streams Internet Radio and assorted Live Concert recordings right into your audio system. I don't know if it supports Rhapsody or the new Yahoo Music Service at this time.
 

DTB300

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sleepysurf said:
I don't know if it supports Rhapsody or the new Yahoo Music Service at this time.
Rhapsody is advertising a unit called Roku SoundBridge. Hooks up via network, either cable or wireless and has access to music on your PC or from Rhapsody.
 

max157

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Hi Dan,

Are you doing 802.11 B or G for your wireless setup. Just wondering if speed is a factor for local audio streaming...
 

sleepysurf

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Did a little digging... there is apparently a software plug-in that allows Squeezebox2 to work with Rhapsody, but it's not "officially" supported at this time. More info at... http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=14557&highlight=rhapsody

Of note, most in the "audiophile" camp seem to favor Squeezebox2 over the Roku Soundbridge, but I have no experience with the latter.
 

Jeff Zaret

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I have the SoundBridge by Roku and use it predominately for internet radio. It works great and can be used as a wired or wireless device. It will use playlists from iTunes, Real Rhapsody, MusicMatch and Windows Media player. It streams radio basically through iTunes. What is a really cool feature is the "default" radio stations that are in the device ( and can be modified to any internet radio) can be played without turning on your PC. :D

Jeff
 

jjqiv

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To lazy for CD's? I guess vinyl would not be for you.

If it counts for anything, I sometimes listen to streamed music or mp3's while doing the dishes with my Altec Lansing computer speakers. Hi-End it aint. Easier to get away with with a crappy signal using a crappy speakers.

My Logans haven't seen a digital recording in sometime.
 

DTB300

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max157 said:
Hi Dan,
Are you doing 802.11 B or G for your wireless setup. Just wondering if speed is a factor for local audio streaming...
I do not have wireless. Cat 5 runs to 4 computers.

I have no experience with SoundBridge, but I see Jeff does...

jjqiv - Like you, I play Rhapsody through my Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 system while doing dishes :) Like you say, not high end, but one of the best sounding 2.1 systems that I have heard for the PC - but that was a year ago.

Dan
 
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Champ

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iPods audio quality

There are some goods points made here. My opinion is that the iPod is as good as the data pumped into it. I have many songs that are MP3 and they sound terrible on my ML Quest Z/Sunfire /Audio Research system. On the other hand, the songs that are imported in AIFF or AAC format are as good, or Better, than playing it on a CD Player. I think it must have something to do with the iPod being battery powered and sheilded from the noise found in the house AC supply. JMHO but that is my experience. I love the iPod and wouldn't change it for any other input device.
 

Crawdaddy

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How does the Hi-Fi Link work?

DTB300 said:
I use a product called Hi-Fi Link which uses USB->RCA->Stereo Input instead of coming off the sound card.

Dan
This sounds like it could work for my need, but I have a couple questions...

How good is the D/A conversion?
Is there a way to use it to pass through a digital signal to a pre/pro D/A converter?
Is there an easier way to do this?

I'd like to send digital FLAC signals from my iAudio X5 DAP to my pre-pro's D/A converter. It has a 3.5mm line-out and a USB interface, so I'm not yet sure what is the best way to do this. :confused: Any help is much appreciated!

Thanks!
 
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