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Iphone 5 Stereo Output Quality

I want to post my experience lately listening to my Audio files via my iPhone 5 using the stereo jack (stereo Jack to RCA) straight into my amplifier.

I read recently on a web review that the iPhone stereo output is on par with high-end sources in terms lack of distortion, and frequency flatness. So, $15 dollars later, I have a stereo to RCA lead straight into my integrated amp.

My source files were ripped CD's in Apple Lossless, and these were transferred as 256kbs ALAC files to the iPhone. I have about 30 albums so far transferred this way.

Would you believe it, but I think the sound quality is very nearly as good as my $3000 CD player. I am inclined to think that if I were listening to full-blown ALAC files, there'd be no difference.

Does anyone else use this method, and what do they think ?

My recent experience with outboard DAC's has not been nearly as easy as plugging my phone into the setup! (nor as easily good sounding!).
 

Kumar Kane

New member
iPhone as a source

iPhone as a source

I read recently on a web review that the iPhone stereo output is on par with high-end sources in terms lack of distortion, and frequency flatness. So, $15 dollars later, I have a stereo to RCA lead straight into my integrated amp.

My source files were ripped CD's in Apple Lossless, and these were transferred as 256kbs ALAC files to the iPhone. I have about 30 albums so far transferred this way.

Would you believe it, but I think the sound quality is very nearly as good as my $3000 CD player. I am inclined to think that if I were listening to full-blown ALAC files, there'd be no difference.
I am not surprised. And this isn't the best the device can do, if you are using the headphone output socket on the device - I have often used an I pod touch from its docking socket into a USB input of an amp, and sound quality is excellent.
 

acroyear

Active member
iPhone

iPhone

I want to post my experience lately listening to my Audio files via my iPhone 5 using the stereo jack (stereo Jack to RCA) straight into my amplifier.

I read recently on a web review that the iPhone stereo output is on par with high-end sources in terms lack of distortion, and frequency flatness. So, $15 dollars later, I have a stereo to RCA lead straight into my integrated amp.

My source files were ripped CD's in Apple Lossless, and these were transferred as 256kbs ALAC files to the iPhone. I have about 30 albums so far transferred this way.

Would you believe it, but I think the sound quality is very nearly as good as my $3000 CD player. I am inclined to think that if I were listening to full-blown ALAC files, there'd be no difference.

Does anyone else use this method, and what do they think ?

My recent experience with outboard DAC's has not been nearly as easy as plugging my phone into the setup! (nor as easily good sounding!).
On the sound signature of different CD players, I wonder what blind tests can reveal, I for one cannot distinguish between my 1998 rega planet and a recent $70 pioneer DVD player. In picking a new dedicated cdp if mine ever fails (it has a couple of practical issues now, sometimes tracks jump from bass vibrations and one channel can cut out from a failing back connection) I might ask how the cdp players 'sounds' I will go up to the unit and see if I can hear it running!
 

willem

Well-known member
How good is good enough for a DAC?

How good is good enough for a DAC?

Iphones reportedly have quite a good DAC implementation. As it so happens I have recently done some similar experiments.

The first was with my son's budget Android phone playing Spotify premium into my rather high end system. The sound was pretty awful, with woolly boomy bass. The next stage was to use the analogue output of my son's four year old Dell laptop. That was better, but it still did not sound great.

The last stage was to connect the cheap Behringer UCA 202 usb DAC to the laptop. Here, the sound was excellent, and on a par with my Bluray player. So my conclusion for now is that a DAC does not need to be expensive, but also that not all implementations in smartphones or computers are equally good.

I realize that this was a sighted comparison, but the differences were big enough to believe that my observations are unlikely to be the product of some expectation bias. They also make sense in the light of the measurements I have seen of laptop DAC's and cheap mp3 players. DAC's in Apple mobile devices always seem to measure quite well.

Personally, I would be very interested to see proper tests of budget and mid price DAC's to see if these are good enough not to make a sonic difference. I am quite prepared to accept that the 25 pound Behringer usb DAC can be sonically improved, but is this also true for the 90 pound ODAC, or has a DAC like that already reached the level where further measured performance improvements would be inaudible?
 

EricW

Active member
Convincing technology

Convincing technology

Iphones reportedly have quite a good DAC implementation. ...
I think someone on HUG may already have linked to this review, but Ken Rockwell's review of the iPhone 6 Plus (snappy name, reminds me of something ...) says that the DAC and audio implementation on the iPhone is on a par with the performance found in professional studio equipment, and superior to that of a lot of "audiophile" gear: http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-6-plus.htm

And he has measurements to back it up. Possibly his methodology is flawed in some way, but it looks pretty convincing to me.
 

Nessuno

Member
Analogue volume control

Analogue volume control

Would you believe it, but I think the sound quality is very nearly as good as my $3000 CD player.
When using phone jack output, always put the phone volume control at maximum and use your amp volume control as usual: I've never found any reliable information about the way Apple does volume control on analog output, but I'm leaded to think that is made in the digital domain (and maybe not up-quantizing to 24 bit) so there could be a reduction in global digital resolution that with high dynamic recordings, on a revealing system (i.e. average electronics and very good speakers) listened at realistic SPLs in a room with a low noise floor could become audible.
 
Real value for money

Real value for money

Thanks for the tip. tried the above along with full bit rate ALAC yesterday. Not officially volume matched, but it does improve overall resolution -as expected. Just shy of the best sound coming from my Rega Saturn. I'm beginning to think I may have accidentally stumbled onto an excellent 16/44 source in the Rega.

Still haven't found a DAC which exactly matches its resolution and "body" but the iPhone, rather surprisingly, is the closest by a large margin. I hope to try USB into a Benchmark DAC2 this week. Alan mentioned a TASCAM dac used at the show -but I can't find the Australian Pricing or sales outlet over here for a comparison.

Retail people keep steering me north of $3000 for a good sound; but I'd rather like to think this is mostly wrapping...
 

Nessuno

Member
Selling techniques

Selling techniques

I'm beginning to think I may have accidentally stumbled onto an excellent 16/44 source in the Rega.
Nothing that accidental, it's just that since about a decade, exceptional DAC performances are easy and cheap to obtain in mass production. Maybe you'll be surprised to know how little of the market price is related to the chip that actually does the main job (D/A conversion) even for the most expensive DACs. Refined and eye appealing caseworks have a much higher impact.

Retail people keep steering me north of $3000 for a good sound; but I'd rather like to think this is mostly wrapping...
They're just doing their job... :)
 
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