1. Rest in Peace Paul (Kegger) If you would like to help the family in this time of great sorrow and need, you may donate on their GoFundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/mckechnie-medical-and-funeral-fund?
    Dismiss Notice

iPhone to a vintage receiver...help!

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Rob Thomas, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Hey guys,

    I like many before, grew up with records and cassette tapes, then CD's and had recently (college) opted for the high convenience of Pandora, Spotify and MP3. Recently I decided I wanted a higher quality music experience. So I started with a restoration on a vintage receiver, then a TT, then getting back into CD's. Now I want to bring my iPhone into the loop but with as high quality as I can. I have discovered Tidal HD streaming and love it, but presently the only two ways I know of to get the iPhone thru the AUX input on my receiver is via a Bluetooth receiver or the headphones jack. Both I'm told gives you a compressed result. I also share internet with my neighbors and they have the router so that's a nice little wrench to start with...

    Help! I'm needing help discovering the next step. I know there's tons of information on AK but its hard to find a starting point and is overwhelming. Please assume I know nothing beyond what I've told you.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

    Messages:
    3,438
    Your call.

    Using the phone app: --> My Music--> Settings icon at top right --> Quality--> Select separately for WiFi/Cellular
     
  3. hjames

    hjames Nabbed ... Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,021
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Get an iPhone dock and come out of the dock's rear headphone jack
    with a mini-jack to twin RCA phono cable adapter.
    Then run it into a line level input on the receiver like Tape In.
    That will be better than a bluetooth loop.
     
  4. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Thanks for the response but I'm not seeing a settings icon in the music app and there's not a quality setting under settings-->music.
     
  5. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Ok so does the dock convert the audio somehow? A traditional dock probably wont work because I use a case that really only allows either a phone plug or a lightning plug in. I would also probably prefer to be able to pick up the phone and scroll through the music versus is being stationary in a dock. Is there something I can plug a USB into? I believe they make a lightning to USB adapter.
     
  6. hjames

    hjames Nabbed ... Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,021
    Location:
    VA near DC
    Okay, so plug a mini-phone to dual RCA/Phono connector cable directly into your phone if you don't want a dock ...
    If you have a vintage receiver, USB will do you no good, correct?
     
  7. JLange2010

    JLange2010 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    452
    Location:
    Seattle
    I've struggled with this same question and if you are as in the dark as I was (and probably still am) perhaps my experiences will be of a little help. First, I had to wrap my head around the whole concept. It seems to revolve around the question of whether you are happy with the phone's internal DAC, or if you want a higher quality external DAC to convert the digital info to analog. If the internal DAC is adequate, you're good. Just do what hjames suggests above. FWIW, that is what I do 99% of the time in spite of having things set up to go more deluxe...

    If you want the added quality of an external DAC it gets more complicated. I can't recall all the specifics, but basically you need to get a digital output from the phone. On some Apple products, that darn headphone jack also serves as an optical out, so you can go optical to an external DAC. I think my iPad and Mac do that, but I think the phone does not. You can also get a digital output through the lightning port. I haven't done that, but I think it involves using the Apple lightning to USB camera cable. I believe that you can go from that into a USB port on a compatible DAC.

    Via those methods, your audio quality will pretty much be determined by the quality of the DAC. The DAC, of course, has analog out which can then go into a line input on your receiver. There is a staggering range of prices for DACs and you'd just need to decide what you want to spend.

    The set up I finally built was an Arcam DAC with an optical cable for use with my computer and iPad. I've used it a couple of times. I also have a 3.5mm to RCA cable that goes into another input on my amp. Nearly all my phone use goes through that. When I really care for that last bit of quality I listen to vinyl or CD.

    Anyone with experience will see from my comments that I'm a bit of a hack - there are far more expert opinions out there. But I toss this out because understanding where the digital gets converted, and how you can manipulate that, was very helpful to me. Apologies if I'm already providing basic information that you already know.

    Edit: one last thought. From my understanding, a dock is essentially the digital cabling and an external DAC in one package. You just set the phone on it and it pulls a digital signal out, converts it to analog, and sends it off via RCA's. Or so I think. Easy to use, but you miss out on the endless fun of upgrading DAC's, cables, etc.
     
    Djcoolray and Rob Thomas like this.
  8. ldatlof

    ldatlof We are all steak

    Messages:
    2,569
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    If you have a wireless network check out the chromecast audio it is only $35.
     
    red 111 likes this.
  9. red 111

    red 111 Active Member

    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    nyc
    heres what i do...but i don't have tidal,,,,,i loaded the free software in AQ Dragonfly Black(MQA)....put the $34 camera adaptor on iPhone...plug Dragonfly into it ....then 3.5 mini on one end (into the phone)...RCA end into preamp section. start listening. clarifying my comment....plug 3.5 mini into the Dragonfly which is plugged into the iPhone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
    Rob Thomas likes this.
  10. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Boone, NC
    Exactly what I needed to hear to get started. I guess I should have posted on the DAC forum.
     
  11. BMWCCA

    BMWCCA AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,023
    Location:
    Virginia
    I've suggested this solution to many and it has worked well for me for several years. The upside is it offers you a surprisingly good single-play CD deck with Burr-Brown DAC as a bonus! It's gone up about fifteen-buck since I bought mine but I use it as an interface for my iPod Classic and iPhone through the front-panel USB jack. And you can use the TEAC's remote to cycle through your playlist. Cheap thrills that really works.

    TEAC CD-P650-B Compact Disc Player with USB and iPod Digital Interface
    [​IMG]
     
    Rob Thomas likes this.
  12. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
    4,397
    Location:
    Memphis
    Which iPhone do you have? If it is the one with the lightning port, as was mentioned above, you need the USB3 to lightning connector that will give you a USB input and a lightning input. You use the lighting input to power the phone and the USB input for the DAC.

    The other option, if you don't want to have your phone docked all the time, is to use Airplay. Apple sells the Airport Express or you can buy third party knock offs. You need decent wifi to go this route, though. It is limited to 16/44.1 output, but it is bit perfect with CD quality and will transcode to 16/44.1 on the fly if you send it a different resolution. The upside to this method over Chromecast Audio is that it works with pretty much any app on your phone, where the Chromecast works with a handful of apps. The Chromecast Audio will play hi rez. Both options use wifi and optical output to a DAC or they will also send out analog audio.

    If I was suggesting a combo unit of DAC/Amp/Airplay/Bluetooth/DLNA/Internet Radio, I would suggest the Yamaha WXC-50 (~$350). It also has a digital input, so you can plug in a Chromecast Audio ouput if you need to.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. CT Jim

    CT Jim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,036
    Location:
    Branford, CT. 06405
    The solutions above vary, but all get there.
    uofm actually started down a path you need to know to complete any system you develop. The new Iphones use the lightning port for charging and headphones and line out, BUT, once you install the 10.3 update you have to use genuine Apple cables, otherwise you get an error message "this accessory is not recognized" or something to that effect.

    So buy Apple and make sure they are genuine Apple cables, NOT cables that work with Iphones. When I did the 10.3 update ALL my aftermarket cables are now good for nothing
    If you buy an iphone dock with the old wide iphone connector you would still need an apple adaptor. A generic one won't cut it.
     
  14. Johnno_Oz

    Johnno_Oz AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,414
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    Hello Rob. Your experience sounds much like mine about two years ago (you've a an old DUAL too!). I started off with a small vintage system and hooked up the iPhone with a good quality 3.5mm - RCA jack. Not ideal but the source MP4 files are going to be lossy anyway. If I'm looking for quality I go straight to CD or LP. I've only iTunes purchases on the iPhone, the dock is just for power.The PS1 is optional but I've found it to be a hoot!

    IMG_4456.JPG

    I eventually got a big boy system for the main listening area with a well rated larger amp, nice turntable and speakers.

    The vintage system became the hobby system and the big system became the listening system. Each nice in their own way.
     

    Attached Files:

    • HK.jpg
      HK.jpg
      File size:
      150.5 KB
      Views:
      7
    Rob Thomas likes this.
  15. Oregonian

    Oregonian AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    191
    iPhone or iPad into the NuForce iDo DAC into my Schiit Mimby DAC (the iDo become a transport) into the aux input on my Spec 1 preamp.................
     
  16. Rockyhill

    Rockyhill Forever Contemplative Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,930
    Location:
    Maine
    There are many ways to skin this cat (I know first hand). Things to search:
    AirPlay
    AirportExpress
    CCA
    Chromecast Audio

    All are designed to get audio from an iPhone to a music system if you have a relatively new wifi router.

    None of these solutions require Apple branded cables. The iPhone connects via wifi to the CCA or AirportExpress. Those devices then use any brand of cable to a receiver.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 6:03 PM
  17. stevo137

    stevo137 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,413
    Location:
    Northwest Indiana
    I recently changed to the DragonFly
    Black, Apple USB camera adapter and a decent quality RCA-3.5 mm
    adapter into the aux input on any of my preamps or receivers.

    Works great for me, sound quality has improved and headphones sound great too.

    IMG_4184.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 7:05 PM
    lokerola likes this.

Share This Page