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Best way to connect Ipod to amplifier?

JDCFH

Prominent Member
Ive just bought a new amplifier Harman Kardon 980 and want to know if its worth connecting my Ipod classic directly to the amplifier, or to just do as i do and run a long phono to head phone jack lead between my P.C and my amp.

What will sound better?
 

Mr_Sukebe

Established Member
The easy/cheap solution is a mini-jack to RCAphono lead between your Ipod and your amp.
The best sound quality is via a docking station that can read the digital output from an Ipod. To my knowledge, there's just three options right now, which are the Wadia Ipod dock, the Onkyo, and the latest Naim DAC. The Naim is the most expensive, but throws is a rather good DAC. The Onkyo is the cheapest at I believe £150, but only gives you a standard SPDIF output, so you'd need to connect it to either an external DAC, or an amp with a built in DAC.
 

scrufftyguy

Established Member
A cheaper alternative would be using the line out, which is generally considered to be a better quality signal than the headphone socket. You'll need a line out dock. Try searching google for LOD to RCA, LOD to phono or something similar. :thumbsup:
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
There are three levels to accessing the sound from an iPod, each being more expensive than the next.

1.) connect the headphone output of the iPod to one of the line inputs of the stereo amp. This will cost about £5 to £10.

Now people claim that the signal from this source is not good, but let's face it, this is the sound source you listen to all the time. A vast majority of your listening comes form the headphone jack. Also, the deterioration in sound is related to the low impedance of the headphones themselves. When connected to the high impedance input of a stereo or AV amp, those problem disappear.

2.) Use the Audio Out connectors on the Ipod, or in other words, use an iPod Dock. These start at £20 and go up quite high. The better model simply give you more and easier control over the iPod, but the sound quality is roughly the same.

3.) Use the digital audio output of the iPod. This is difficult and very expensive to do. Some digital interfaces run into the thousands. Unless you are an audiophile with very expensive equipment, this is not a cost effective method.

I suggest the very economical Headphone to stereo route. An adapter cable can be purchase very cheaply, and the sound quality will actually be better than when you listen through your headphones.

Second, for convenience, it is not that expensive to buy an iPod Dock. You can get one in the £40 to £60 range that will do an excellent job.

But then, that is just my opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I suggest the very economical Headphone to stereo route. An adapter cable can be purchase very cheaply, and the sound quality will actually be better than when you listen through your headphones.

I have to respectfully disagree (sorry again Steve:)). Always use a dock connector for a 'proper' line out; even a £10 job will sound better than using the headphone out. Apart from being properly levelled, using the dock bypasses the iPod's headphone AMP circuitry, which is the weakest part of the iPod.

I have tested this myself with my in car system, and it does make quite a difference - even with low-ish bitrates. There was always a slight hiss and dullness with the headphone into my cars decent stereo, switching to a dock connector was such an improvement :thumbsup:
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Independent of sound quality, I would agree that an iPod Dock is best.

No fuss, no muss, good sound, plus features like iPod recharging and so forth, make the iPod dock the best all round option, and not that expensive either.

But, if you are on a starvation budget, and would like to hear your iPod through your stereo, the headphone option is perfectly acceptable. Again, remember the bulk of your listening occurs through that headphone jack. And when feeding a high impedance input, the major flaws in the sound are relieved.

Still, iPod dock can be had cheap, I think it is the best all round option and well within the budget of most people.

As to Auto Pilot's suggestion that one is better than the other, for a variety of reasons other than sound quality, the line-out is preferred. In his example, I can't only say that there are more factors that come into play than simply the output source.

Still, for anyone, except those on a starvation budget, the iPod dock really is a sweet option.

Steve/bluewizard
 

tvtyke

Established Member
The Cambridge Audio ID10 dock from Richer Sounds has just found a spot in my hifi rack. £14.95 - ten times better than connecting via the headphone socket and it charges your iPod too!! Cannot fault it.

ID10 at Richer
 

JDCFH

Prominent Member
Thanks for all the information and replies.

The reason i wanted to connect my ipod to the hi-fi was to do away with the link between my P.C and hifi.

Would it be better to invest in a decent-ish soundcard with analogue out?? Do they have built in DAC? Would it sound better?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
An iPod dock is £15. The other options you suggested are at least £100.

What ever else you finally decide to do, having that iPod dock would be very handy, and isn't going to break the bank.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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