Apple Lossless. iPhone vs. CD Player

deardai

Active Member
Evening all,

Not a "prolific" poster here, due to not always being able to keep up with the threads, but always logged in and do scroll through the threads frequently.

As I'm being furloughed this week, and with Apple's announcement of its Hi-Res Audio have given me some time to research on how can I enhance my listening "experience" at home.
Have been playing with an idea of Bluesound Node for a while, but with the latest announcement from Apple and as being a subscriber already, that would certainly make things easier if you are willing to move into Hi-Res territory, right? After I watched John Darko's video on covering the subject, thought that the route to Hi-Res in my case should be very simple, just add the Lightning audio to USB adapter + Dac to amp. Today though I've decided to play and see how does Aplle's cd quality compares to the cd unit I own. Connected out of the iphone 11 through Lighting to 3.5 jack dongle (supposed to transmit cd quality) , then fed to amp via rca. My system is a budget Marantz 5001 cd player and Marantz 7001 amp driving Monitor Audio RS6 floorstanders. After listening for about an hour or so to Metallica's Load and Radiohead's The Bends, my two "guinea pigs" auditioning albums I've noticed pretty much straight away that cd player sounded may be not so much, but certainly better - more attack/punchy, could hear the sticks actually bounce back of the drums skin rather than just hit, and the overall sound coming from iphone was more flat.
So the question is would the DAC improve the sound quality coming from a phone/ipad or would a better cd player suit the job (obviously no Hi-Res in that case). As if comparing a cd quality alone, it certainly cannot beat a dedicated player, even a budget one! Probably a silly comparison as one may say that the phone even with a cd quality output should not be considered as a source, but then again there aren't many sources that support itunes either ! Would be interested to hear your opinions!
I'm not an expert in any way, can only judge by what I hear.

Please excuse my grammar -not native language :)

Cheers, Den
 
Last edited:

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
To do a real comparative test is very difficult.

At the very least you have to have the volume, when playing each source, precisely matched.

The tiniest difference will show up as a preference for the slightly louder one.

You will also need to make sure that the iPhone volume is at maximum on the phone.

...And that your listening to identical files, that is, the album on your phone should be a lossless ripped one from the cd you’re listening to through the CD player.

After all that if you still think there’s a difference in the CD players favour you might then try a dac for the phone.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, I’d forget about any ‘hi-res’ files. It’s largely nonsense.

And cd quality, when Apple get round to it, will be more than enough.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
If you’d like to try a dac then this one is about the best available for a normal, in fact quite healthily small, budget.


It will allow you to use the phone through the usb input and your tv through the optical input.

It will also allow you use the 5001s co-ax digital output to see if it improves on the CD players analogue output.

A potential upgrade all round, and something of a modern bargain.

Ps, should you feel the need to try ‘hi-res’ stuff, it can play all of those too.
 

deardai

Active Member
I get the volume part - it is difficult to match, although I think I did ok trying to level volume for both sources. Suppose I could try to rip a cd for out of interest, but that would defeat the object of having itunes subscription with their lossless format. Still would be interesting to hear/compare the difference with Hi-Res. Just as I mentioned earlier, made me think twice now whether the DAC route to extract those hi-res will be a better option than upgrading the conventional cd player. The only downside to it I haven't got itunes library :rolleyes:
 

deardai

Active Member
If you’d like to try a dac then this one is about the best available for a normal, in fact quite healthily small, budget.


It will allow you to use the phone through the usb input and your tv through the optical input.

It will also allow you use the 5001s co-ax digital output to see if it improves on the CD players analogue output.

A potential upgrade all round, and something of a modern bargain.

Ps, should you feel the need to try ‘hi-res’ stuff, it can play all of those too.
Topping model gets great reviews indeed. How would Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 compare to this ? It’s a slightly more expensive, but a “proven “ brand. Seems to have similar specs.
In one of the threads here someone’s stated that the Topping took the “warm” sound away from their LP, although the vinyl is more warm sounding by nature than the CD’s I guess. Is that the general feeling with DACs to sort of deconstruct and make it sound more “dry” ? I do tend to lean to a warmer sound myself.
 

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