Connect iPod to stereo - no dock

Discussion in 'iPod' started by min6characters, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. min6characters macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    #1
    Forgive me in advance if this has been discussed already; I did a quick search but didn't see this specific item.

    I'd like to connect my iPod directly into my Sony stereo receiver. I realize this can be done simply by purchasing a 1 1/8" audio cable and plugging it into the receiver; my question is, is there a preferred cable for doing this? I did get a cable from Radio Shack (for less than $10), but it seems the sound quality (specifically the output level) should be better (it certainly falls short of the actual CD player). I know that Monster makes a cable specifically for iPods, it costs about $20 more; but is the sound quality actually any better?

    (Also,
    1) would use of a dock (Apple, Griffin, DLO, etc.) yield any better sound quality than just a cable?
    and
    2) given a choice between either the CD/Tape/Phono inputs, is either preferable over the others?)

    Thanks
     
  2. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020

    rockthecasbah

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Moorestown, NJ
    #2
    Stereobuffs will argue there is a difference between cables, but this can be remedied by looking at the metal that the pickup has. The lower cost wires tend to have Nickel plating, which supposedly is an "inferior" sound to their gold plated counterpart. I.e. for the best sound, price MAY be an issue, but if the metals are the same and one is more expensive than the other then it really doesn't.

    From my personal experience (having both a Nickel plated and gold plated wire for different stereos), the actual difference is neglible. Most audio is compressed on an iPod anyway (mp3, AAC, etc) so that will give you more of a difference in sound than anything. If they are low or medium bittrates (under 160kbps) it is very difficult to even distinguish a difference.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. min6characters thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    #3
    Thanks. The "cheap" cables are gold-plated, as are the $30 Monster cables. I guess my question was whether there's actually any improvement in quality between the two brands (The Monster iCable is supposedly made specifically for iPods, and actually is priced slightly higher than the same brand's "general use" (i.e. non-ipod specifice, including portable CD players) audio cable) or if I'm really getting the same performance from the RS-brand cable. (and I also understand Belkin also has a set comparable to Monster's)
     
  4. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020

    rockthecasbah

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Moorestown, NJ
    #4
    I tend to shy away from things that make a go of being "made for iPods" ... I think it is more of a bias than actually founded reasoning. I think that seal is there to squeeze out a few extra bucks from people and that iritates me. Go for the general use wire, my gold plated stereo cable is Monster and I think it is extraordinary quality, it feels very solid to me. Performance is probably going to be similar, i cannot go say exactly between brands, but do not pay extra for a cable because it says iPod specific... it is a load of malarky as far as i'm concerned ;)
     
  5. min6characters thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    #5
    Thanks again... just for clarification, I did mispeak in my previous post; the iCable claims to be customized for mp3 players (not specifically for iPods, despite the name) as opposed the other Monster cable which promotes itself for use for "portable music players" (i.e. CD)... I'm not sure how the format of the source dictates the method of transfer, but whatever.
     
  6. Black Belt macrumors 6502a

    Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #6
    A dock setup is far superior as the signal output from the bottom of the iPod is higher quality than the top jack. In addition, the dock setups usually allow for a remote control to manipulate the iPod.
     
  7. min6characters thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    #7
    Thanks. Any suggested docks? I know DLO and Griffin each have a few... any recommendations with respect to sound?
     
  8. badgerfan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    #8
    the cable is not the sound quality issue

    The cable most likely is not the bottleneck in your sound quality issue. If you have a decent CD player, the DAC (digital to analogue converter) in your iPod cannot match the quality of analogue output provided by the CD player. The most important thing to consider when purchasing any cable is how well it is made. I have had cables from Monster Cable wear out at the ends. Monster cable is gimmick and true stereo buffs know it. Unless you have extremely high quality components (an iPod is not) your cables make no difference. The fidelity that the cables would be taking away is already not there due to the low quality DAC. If you want to get high quality sound from a digital source like a computer or iPod, the best way is to send the signal digitally to your receiver using either a fiber optic cable or a digital coaxial cable.
     
  9. richkent72 macrumors regular

    #9
    I have both my iPod (via a dock) and iMac connected to a reasonably high end stereo. The sound quality of both is good even through a low quality cable but both have fairly quiet outputs needing the amp to be turned up far more than for either CDs or radio. I'd agree with the earlier post that the cable used makes little difference.
     
  10. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    if your worried about buying a radio shack cable and want a better cable, try Acoustic Research. Sold at most Best Buy stores and a few others as well. Very reasonably priced and far superior in build quality than monster cable.
     
  11. fnoam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    #11
    Digital audio from iPod

    Is there any option to get the audio from my iPod on a digital cable (coaxial or fiber)?
    I have found only 1 dock, of creative labs, that does that but it costs $200 and have some wireless capabilities which I don't need.

    Thanks.
     

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