Ipad direct to stereo=not great

Billboard

Journeyman
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
329
Location
North Shore Massachusetts
Tagline
---
#1
For about a year I have been listening to digital music from my iPad to my Pioneer SX-950 using a headphone to RCA cable. Sound was OK, some albums sounded better than others. Most of the music was ripped from CDs at 256bit rate.

In another thread I noted that I picked up a reel to reel, the seller gave me a tape with some music he recorded on it. The reel to reel sounded better than anything I have heard on my stereo. I emailed the seller and asked him what the source of the music was. He replied it was high bit-rate lossless music on a laptop connected to a Marantz DAC, fed through a GAS Thalia preamp.

I looked up this equipment and it looks to be about $2,000 for a Marantz DAC and the GAS pre-amp. Not gonna happen at this time. So my search was on for a better sound that my system is capable of.

I knew my SX-950 could sound great, because it sounded great with the reel to reel with the above mentioned recorded tape. That leaves the DAC, so I searched for a DAC, there are so many choices, from $30 to $3,000 and up. It turns out I already owned a pretty good DAC in the Google Chromecast Audio.

I ripped some CDs using Exact Audio Copy encoding as a FLAC file, then I use Plex on my desktop as a music server, controlled from my Android phone. It does a great job casting to the Chromecast Audio device. The results are very good sound quality. The sound still depends on the quality of the CD, but well recorded CDs like Norah Jones and Neil Young sound very good, much better than the iPad direct. All for about $50.

I have yet to use this configuration to record to the reel to reel, but I will and I am pretty sure I will be happy with the results.

note: I do believe the CDs ripped as 256kbs MP3 will sound just as good as the CDs ripped to FLAC. I just used FLAC to get the best source as possible.
 

orange

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
17,704
Tagline
Broken beyond repair but highly affable
#2
I've got 3-4 GB of MP3s and other audio files on an external drive, over 500 LPs, hundred of singles, it goes on, even Drake-Chenault automation reels for a country format. I'm sure I'll die before getting to all I haven't heard yet, but then again my kin can have one hell of a yard sale with my stuff.
 

Northwinds

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
7,463
Location
Coventry, CT
Tagline
Fondler errrr... fan of all Nav's avatars
#4
I know the system I use for outdoor gathering does not like music fed from an Ipad. Blew to 120wpc+ integrated amps because of spikes at the kids bonfire gatherings in the back yard and the stash of midfi stuff has dwindled to one amp now for their use
 

Geegz

Journeyman
Joined
Sep 13, 2016
Messages
315
Location
Atlanta, GA
Tagline
---there is no replacement for displacement
#6
Billboard,

i have found similar results albeit with the Apple products (I have iPad and iPhone) when I was building my current 2 channel system. I use a Apple Aiport Express as my external DAC from the Ethernet cable from my laptop. I too have converted most of files to "Apple lossless" files as I was finding 256k wasn't quite enough on some recordings. Here is a great link to the review of the Apple Airport Express:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/airport-express-audio-quality-2014.htm

The best part of this approach is the "Apple Remote" app utility which controls iTunes on my laptop from either my iPad or iPhone, including volume and you can build and delete playlists remotely. The Airport Express offers either 3.5mm audio out or mini-toslink if you ever want to upgrade to another external DAC. Just my 2 cents I have been extremely happy with this approach. I also like the fact you can hardwire from the laptop to the Airport Express to eliminate any of that annoying "delay" or "buffering" from wireless "wi-if" connection option (which you could still do with this unit.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Billboard

Journeyman
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
329
Location
North Shore Massachusetts
Tagline
---
#7
I have heard good things in regard to the airport express, that was going to be my second choice, but I already owned the Chromecast Audio device, so that is where I started.

Don't think I could hear anything audio wise over 256kb sampling, I will have to experiment with a high quality CD and see. Storage is dirt cheap, and bandwidth is plentiful.
 

orange

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
17,704
Tagline
Broken beyond repair but highly affable
#8
How do you play the MP3s?
PC. I have an AM radio to take it on the run, the 5000 watt oldies station is a few blocks away.

(YOU HEAR THAT! It's all caused by RADIO WAVES!) :toothy8:
 

orange

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
17,704
Tagline
Broken beyond repair but highly affable
#11
Too bad it's not a 50,000 watt clear channel station, then you could hear the music in your dental fillings.
No, that's it's co-channel occupant KRKO in Everett, Washington. And YES, if not properly grounded I could get it in my first phonograph from 12 miles away back in the 80s. They have a much more modern Gates Five transmitter now.

Now more monster with the reinforced glass and the huge eerier glowing eye that needed the basement for cooling...The Gates Five (Harris) is a PDM model that would fit in an average coat closet.




It replaced the monster BC-5E

 
Last edited:

Billboard

Journeyman
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
329
Location
North Shore Massachusetts
Tagline
---
#12
Transmitters are pretty boring these days, I worked in a radio room where an old UHF TV transmitter was serviced by walk-in.

Another story: when we were digging a trench to feed power to a hut at the base of an AM station we hit and severed their transmission line, It was spliced back together with automotive jumper cables to get them back on the air. I always hated working around those AM towers, everything there tries to kill you.
 

MarkWComer

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Nov 1, 2014
Messages
1,725
Location
Gaston, SC
Tagline
Victim of the record bug since age five
#14
Speaking of digital DACs, I saw a BlueTooth box that plugs into your audio inputs. It was cheap (still didn't buy it) and looks like an easy way to connect iPads, iPods and (anything with BT). Anyone use one?
 

BlazeES

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
6,013
Tagline
---
#15
Speaking of digital DACs, I saw a BlueTooth box that plugs into your audio inputs. It was cheap (still didn't buy it) and looks like an easy way to connect iPads, iPods and (anything with BT). Anyone use one?
I use various versions of those throughout the home and at my shop.
 

orange

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
17,704
Tagline
Broken beyond repair but highly affable
#16
Still using line input/output switchers (i.e. Rat Shack tape control centers and Niles) to feed my stereos.
 

marcok

Chief Journeyman
Joined
Jun 9, 2014
Messages
748
Location
Milan Italy
Tagline
I'm very curious about any tech item
#17
I use successfully BT connections between my Lenovo and my two systems .
One is Logitech and the other is Philips ( price approx . 30 /40 € ).
I'm not able to appreciate the difference between cables and BT .
Furthermore ,according some articles , I can't hear the difference between
16 bit / 44 kHz and 24 bit 96 Khz .
So downloading Hd tracks is useless .
Regarding Mp3 it depends from recording .
I can only adfirm that I can hear the difference betwween CDs and records .
To be honest I prefer records , but I use the peak unlimiter and autocorrelator .
Ciao
Marco
 

orange

Veteran and General Yakker
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
17,704
Tagline
Broken beyond repair but highly affable
#18
WORKING is my mantra. I've had some real messes to fix and when you don't have an alternative a working file is a file until you find a file.

Again, you have our Christmas albums as a really good example. If you think You Tube audio sucks, that's because somebody with no skills made it. I went in and fixed it, and did the ripping from a 1981 Akai HX-2 with only Dolby B for processing in Audigy. Lo-Fi? Yes and No-Fi.

And 'HD audio' my heinie.
 

stuwee

Flying the Vista Cruiser up there... RIP
Joined
Jun 12, 2010
Messages
8,382
Location
Deep in the Sonoran Desert SW
#19
I've posted this link before but think it's one of the best white papers about digital recording I've come across. Roger Sanders gets into some of the nuts & bolts of digital music. It's worth a read. (check out his other white papers if you have time!)

http://sanderssoundsystems.com/technical-white-papers/265-digital-recording-white-paper
It's nothing new that I think Roger is a god :angel4: however, he misses some marks on the digital superiority, there is not a perfect sound for everyone.

"I'm getting by on decibels like a drug, and greet every new day with a shrug" ~ Ah-Ha
 
Top