iPhone to a vintage receiver...help!

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

  1. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Correct.

    You'd really have to spend a bit to warrant the expense to run an outboard DAC. I run a $500 Music Hall 25.3 in the garage system, but have used an iPhone and iPad there as well. The internal DAC / analog output stage is pretty decent.
     
  2. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I believe there can be voltage issue when you use the aux out. Not my area of expertise, though.
     
  3. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Mine drives a power amp directly with no troubles. Feeding a line level input requires even less drive.
     
  4. BMWCCA

    BMWCCA AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I guess I'm looking at this from the perspective of an iPod user who loads a Classic with lossless files and wants to play them back at the highest possible fidelity, which means getting all the 0s and 1s directly from the digital file through the best DAC I can, but not forsaking the simplicity that is the original iPod form-factor. That's why I like USB right from the dock connector into my TEAC CDP-650. iPhones, on the other hand, are likely loaded with mostly compressed files for size, or used for streaming at less-than-optimal resolution. In that case another lossy connection such as the earphone jack probably won't bother anyone like it would (does) me! I certainly have that kind of connection and use it direct to my powered JBL LSR305 monitors. It sounds pretty darn good, for what it is!
     
  5. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    That assertion is not supported by fact. It is merely an analog output jack.

    There is no active circuitry engaged (further) compressing the output. The source material determines whether or not the content is lossy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
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  6. BMWCCA

    BMWCCA AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I meant that in the sense that it may not have enough output or utilize the best DAC possible to give the best results. Yeah, in theory a straight wire shouldn't change anything, but as someone who started out with his first 15-inch JBL 2-way mono system in 1960 powering it from the headphone jack of a ChannelMaster transistor radio and a spliced earphone wire (very, very thin!), I understand there is a better way!
    :beerchug:
     
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  7. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Ok, you acknowledge the lossy assertion is false. Apple provides a decent DAC.

    As I mentioned before, one needs to spend considerable dollars to best that - as I have done with my garage system using a Music Hall 25.3 DAC.
     
  8. BMWCCA

    BMWCCA AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sure, but is the headphone jack hot enough to properly drive your pre-amp? Does the Apple volume control present distortion or some other impediment in the signal path? Is he headphone jack as "direct" as the dock connector or Lightning connection is avoiding other circuits in the signal path? I doubt it. Compression isn't the only issue. And then you've got the iPhone 7 where if you use the alternative dongle to get a mini-plug out of the Lightning jack, you can't charge the phone without another adapter!

    I still think going direct to USB is the best way to connect an iPhone or iPod to a vintage stereo and that the TEAC CDP-650 is a great inexpensive way to accomplish it.:dunno:
     
  9. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    As I observed in post #43, it is sufficient to drive a power amp!

    No more than other digitally controlled potentiometers. Run it at 100% to take its effect out of the circuit.

    Quite obviously, because you are tapping the digital output -thus requiring an external DAC - rather than the analog output stage. That is analogous to saying that the digital output of a CD player is more "direct" than the analog out. Speaking of which, the analog out actually measures pretty decently as found by Archimago.

    It really isn't an issue at all. Remember the OP is using a "vintage receiver" from 1962 with lower S/N than an iPhone, not a SOTA pre/power amp combination. It's true I prefer using a $5000 Audio Research DAC8 in the main system, but as I've mentioned before, using a recent iPhone/iPad works well enough in the garage system.

    Specifically what is happening is the DAC has been moved to the dongle. It provides the analog output. Splitters such as these can readily be found.

    Buying an external DAC can yield better results but I doubt the OP would notice much difference given the system.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  10. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey guys,

    I'm sorry to say its been a little while since I've checked in on this thread. I should probably answer a few questions as I'm still bouncing around my options.

    I have an iPhone 6 and have been using a Bluetooth receiver (RadioShack) plugged into the Aux input on The Fisher. I typically use Spotify premium or Tidal HD. I'm trying to get the highest quality audio from the phone to the receiver. So far the options look like;

    -standard RCA splitter cable directly from the headphones jack into the receiver

    -Bluetooth

    -WiFi via Apple Express or something similar through my existing WiFi router

    -DAC via a USB adapter from my lightning port

    I guess the biggest question is ease of use and audio quality. I love that I can use BT wirelessly from anywhere around my apartment but can tell I am giving up audio quality. Is the iPhone internal DAC worth a darn and do I lose any quality using the headphone jack straight to the receiver?

    Apple Express looks like a good idea as well giving me the mobility of BT but how is the audio quality? I do have a strong WiFi signal so that shouldn't be an issue. I have noticed you can get Apple Express used for a good price. Does it have a DAC built in? I also don't want to use a screen so Apple TV is out.

    -DAC via the adapter looks great but I'm trying to spend less than $300. Would the difference be that much better than the other options?

    I'm reading a lot of conflicting information on most of these questions. I promise I have been reading up on the options but am tangled and need help!

    Thanks for all of your help guys. It's much appreciated.

    Rob
     
  11. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    Honesty, with your receiver, I would just get an RCA cable and be done with it. I've run mine directly in the garage system and the results are pretty good. I regularly stream content via LMS to an app called iPeng to my iPhone and iPad and get very good results.

    Better exists, but its a matter of system matching.
     
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  12. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the feedback Stat. Does the headphone jack compressed or loss or not?
     
  13. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    The Airport Express has a DAC or you can use the mini-to-optical output. It has bit perfect sound quality with CD quality files. It can cause some drop out issues with some DACs between songs because it stops sending a signal when a song ends, so if your DAC is slow to pick up a signal it can cutoff a second or two of the beginning of songs. I have used it with a few DACs and never has the issue, but Stereophile reviewed the earlier Airport Express and mentioned it in their article. The older versions that have everything built into the plug are said to have lower jitter than the newer versions with the detachable cord.

    Personally, I prefer using Airplay to just plugging in the phone (which can also be done digitally over USB with the camera connection adapter) because you can use the phone/iPad while you are listening to music.
     
  14. E-Stat

    E-Stat Super Member

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    It's just an analog output. I stream 24/96 content through it via LMS and iPeng app. While the internal DAC downsamples to 24/48, the result is still darn good.

    Just avoid playback of compressed content!
     
  15. Rockyhill

    Rockyhill 148 State Street Subscriber

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    Prior posts have pretty much weighed in on all of these options.

    You wrote:

    So far the options look like;

    -standard RCA splitter cable directly from the headphones jack into the receiver - NOT highest quality audio from the phone

    -Bluetooth - NOT highest quality audio from the phone

    -WiFi via Apple Express or something similar (CCA) through my existing WiFi router - Yes, high quality

    -DAC via a USB adapter from my lightning port - Yes, high quality

    Now, can you hear the difference? That's a horse of a different color! Try a $35 CCA and hear for yourself.
     
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  16. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks Rocky

    That's what I came up with as well. Thinking I'll start with WiFi. Seems like the least expensive way to get the most results. Really my only big remaining question was the headphones jack quality which you answered. Also verifying that the WiFi was hi res helped as well.

    Thanks everyone! This is new to me. I'm typically more of a TT/CD guy. Can't deny the convenience of an iPhone!

    Rob
     
  17. autoanalog

    autoanalog Justin Credible Subscriber

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    I use a wireless router, Apple TV, and optically-connected external DAC as the backbone of my home streaming system. On the occasions when the Mac is updating software while I'm listening, I can wirelessly play any music on my phone through the Apple TV and DAC. It works great. :thumbsup:
     
  18. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    One thing to consider is that the AppleTV 4 will be part of Airplay 2. This will mean that if you have more than one, you can use an iPhone (running iOS11) to control multiroom audio. It may also provide a longer buffering period. There hasn't been any informaiton on whether the Airport Express will be included. The issue with the AppleTV 4 is that it does not have the optical out of the prior versions., so you have to use HDMI or get a switch that can parse out the audio signal.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend Chromecast Audio for iPhone users unless they are happy with the limited services that the Chromecast can work with or they have archaic wifi. Airport Express or AppleTV give you the ability to stream any audio from the iPhone to the device and if you buy Airfoil for your computer, you can stream audio from the computer, as well. I have a Chromecast Audio and Airplay devices and rarely have a need for the Chromecast.

    As a side note, as of right now (Apple has an event today that could change things) the AppleTV will convert all audio streams to 48khz. Therefore, it isn't "bit perfect" with 16/44.1 like the Airport Express.
     
  19. Rob Thomas

    Rob Thomas AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks Tiger. I'm in an unusual situation. Where I rent, my wife and I share internet with our upstairs landlords. They have the router and wireless adapter, so while the signal is very strong (even for 4k video) I am not able to change to a full apple system like I would like. I know Airport Express will mate with SOME non-apple routers but not sure if I want to take a $100 plunge to find out. Whereas the Chrome has no limitations there and I don't use apple music or iTunes. I typically only use Tidal HD or Spotify HD. Both I'm told support casting to Chromecast.

    We are house shopping at the moment and I will probably go the Apple route at that point, but for $35 bucks Chromecast looks pretty good until then.
     
  20. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I am not aware of any routers that the Airport Express won't work with. I have tested several. You lose the "extend wifi" feature, but that should be it. I wouldn't spend $100 on an Airport Express. They can be found for around $35.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0015YJOK2/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

    That being said, if you only want to use supported services, the Chromecast Audio will work. I use apps like Overcast and Apple Music which don't work with Casting, so I don't get much use from my products that support Casting. Also, Apple may be discontinuing support for the Airport Express, so if you don't have a specific need, you may be better off with a Casting device.
     

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