iPad as an audio device for audiophile?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by AppleHater, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    Do you consider iPad as an audio device that satisfies audiophiles? There are talk about expensive headphones and lossless fileformat and such. But, most of us are using typical 192k or 256k compressed files and I'm curious if iPad's audio is up to the high standard.

    If you consider yourself as an audiophile who listens to music on iPad, what's your opinion on this?
  2. Eso macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2008
    I wouldn't even consider the iPad as a primary audio device, certainly not one for audiophiles.
  3. ulbador macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2010
    No optical out (though you can do a digital out via the dock on the very expensive). Definitely not recommended.
  4. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Is that due to the electronics that decode the MP3 files?
  5. xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    Would an Audiophile consider ever using an iPad to listen to music?


    Any self respecting audiophile knows that Vinyl is the Holy Grail of portable media, not this compression crap.


    No Vacuum Tube, No Thank You. Audiophiles avoid solid-state technology like the plague.
  6. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    Everyone has different standards in what "audiophile" should be and while the iPad is iPhone/iPod quality audio there are add-ons that may improve the sound:

  7. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    Not to mention the obvious superiority of even 8mm film over digital video.

    I wish I could afford that McIntosh reference system.
  8. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    First, audiophiles rarely achieve a consensus on anything. Second, can't the Ipad store compressed files in the lossless ALAC format? If so, then it is capable of high quality sound. On the Ipod, various docks can bypass the internal amplifier and sometimes the internal DAC. I assume the same is available on the Ipad for those who really want it.

    Ipads are often used as remote controls for high quality music servers. See the following link for instructions on how to build your own:

  9. MrWillie macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2010
    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court
    Listen to music on the iPad ? Fat chance. It's to big and bulky. I'll stream podcast on it but that's it.
    iPods are much better suited. Plus they fit in your pocket or the console of your car.

    Plug this into your vacuum tube system.

  10. bocomo macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    New York
    I listen to music streamed from my home computer while i'm in my office reading and it's fine for a portable device. Not so sure that any portable device really measures up though

    (audiogalaxy is the app, by the way)

    I have a modest pair of polk towers at home, if that helps gauge my audiophile-ness
  11. Q-Dog macrumors 6502


    Sep 9, 2007
    I don't play muchmusic on my iPad, mostly podcasts, but I do use the iPad to control playback of the music stored on my computer.

    No audiophile either.
  12. aluren macrumors 65816

    Sep 9, 2008
    I think this question can be generalized to include iPods and iPhones. I'm somewhat of an audiophile and have frequently visited and bought stuff mentioned on head-fi.org. After going through numerous headphones, iMods, portable amps, exotic cables, I've come to the conclusion that the money spent on all that is not worth it. To truly get good audio, you will need to spend over $10-20k to get top of the line headphones, tube amps, and full size cd/vinyl players.

    I've since downscaled to just the iPhone and a pair of custom earphones (UE-10). Good audio always starts at the source. You will never hear anything rich with 128k or 256k compressed mp3. All my songs are in Apple lossless format. The second thing is the decoder, which you can't change in Apple products. The third is a good earphone. So I'm gonna try that iWow dongle and see how good it is at spitting out my audio files.

    In the end, if you want good audio, the best thing to do is invest in a nice pair of earphones. And those that don't know how ridiculous it is, my UE-10's cost me $1k.
  13. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    For digital music, any audiophile device would have to do at least two things:

    1. Work with lossless formats
    2. Send out a bit perfect digital signal (untouched by the cheap DACs and Amp in the portable).

    The iPad can handle Apple lossless, so step 1 is out of the way.

    It can also send out a digital signal via the camera connector. I have read on forums that it is bit perfect, but I have not seen any actual reviews from the establishment stating that it is. The camera connector has dual purposes, so it is not exactly expensive to get the digital output. However, you would need a USB DAC or something to convert the USB to a more popular digital output/input like optical or coax.

    Also, Apple recently crippled the USB output to some extent, so DACs that aren't powered could have issues. However, a T3hub can be purchased if you need to trick the iPad into thinking it is connected to power (I have tested the T3hub with an older uDac and it works).

    All that being said, I agree that the iPad is better as a remote if you are at home because you won't have to connect a bunch of cables to it. You can buy an Airport Express for less than $100 (which has been tested to be bit perfect from Stereophile) and use Airplay to send it a digital signal. Because it can also control your entire iTunes library, you will have the ability to have terabytes of music rather than what the iPad can store on its drive.

    Finally, "audiophile quality" means different things to different people. While it won't satisfy everyone, the above should at least satisfy a lot of people that care about sound quality.
  14. ulbador macrumors 68000


    Feb 11, 2010
    If you've ever heard a $100-150k system pumping out some vinyl, you'd know this is the truth. It truly is an amazing thing. You KNOW you are getting hearing damage, but it sounds so crisp and clear that it doesn't hurt. It's amazing when you leave the speaker room only to have that concert-type "fullness" in your ears that usually signifies hearing loss.

    This is so true. My buddy is a true audiophile, and after pumping another 50 grand into a pair of linear amplifiers (on top of a system that already cost more than most of America makes in a year), he was convinced he had THE best system possible. That was until an article in one of those audiophile magazines mentioned that the 60 grand amplifiers that just came out were light years better than the ones he had just purchased. It's an obsession.
  15. xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    My reply was off the cuff but yes what you said is true. But there's a very fine line between being an Audiophile and being Pretentious.
  16. AppleHater thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    What I meant was critical music listening rather audiophile, I guess because not everyone has 50k to spend on amps.
  17. xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    Critical Music Listening?

    Sounds like Audiophilia to me.
  18. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    As I mentioned, you just need a camera connector to get digital audio out via USB on the iPad.

    The price for getting digital out of iPods and othe iOS devices has come down quite a bit, too. The iPure dock is around $100 and also has video out.
  19. thesmoth macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2008
    As far as i'm aware the audio quality of apple products it garbage (from what audiophiles say).
  20. hayesk macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2003
    They're just being pretentious. Anything that doesn't cost more than a car is "garbage" to them.

    Stop listening to "audiophiles" and just go listen to the equipment you are interested in. Let your own ears be the judge.
  21. hayesk macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2003
    And any rational audiophile will also admit that CDs have much higher dynamic range than vinyl and that what sounds better is subjective.
    And some will say tubes are for instruments, not recordings that have been equalized and mastered in a studio.

    Audiophiles are funny - I've seen some swear by demagnetizers for CDs. I've seen others buy tiny pedestals to keep their speaker cables (excuse me, interconnects) one inch off the floor because they swear it makes their system sound better.
  22. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    The term "audiophile" has definitely become associated with those that spend a lot of money on "snake oil". However, it really only means that someone loves music enough to spend some time picking out equipment to enhance sound quality.

    Stereophile (and others) has done positive articles on the iPod, the Airport Express and amps as cheap as the Super T-amp. They have also written articles on extremely expensive equipment. However, you don't need $50,000 speakers to be an audiophile (someone that cares about sound quality) anymore than you need a Bugatti Veyron to be a car enthusiast. With any hobby that people are passionate about, you will find those that take it to extreme levels, but I think those people are far from the norm.
  23. MrWillie macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2010
    Starlite Starbrite Trailer Court
    But thaere is a certain warmth from vinyl and tubes. Also THD from tube amps are even harmonics, transistors are odd.

    Don't forget power cords. http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/24044
    Carbon fiber outlet covers, because the outlet can vibrate and and noise though your power cable.

    Do I enjoy the tube amps and turntable? Yes. Am I anal about it? No. (I don't spend more on interconnects than I do automobiles. They are all under $20 or homemade).

    And please keep your speaker cables off the floor. :)
  24. xraytech, Feb 7, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011

    xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    A little off topic but I pulled this from Gizmodo's Circular file.

    James Randi Offers $1 Million If Audiophiles Can Prove $7250 Speaker Cables Are Better

    And here's the said cable.

    ANJOU Speaker Cable

    And here is a review of the ANJOU Speaker Cable

    "Highly Recommended.”

    "In extended listening sessions, I found the cables' greatest strength to be its PRAT. Simply put these are very danceable cables. Music playing through them results in the proverbial foot-tapping scene with the need or desire to get up and move. Great swing and pace—these cables smack that right on the nose big time."

    Dave Clark, Editor Positive Feedback Online


    "Great swing and pace?" What does that even mean? Does it mean that if you had a recording that was not swinging and off pace, these cable will get it swinging and on pace? Hell, my foot gets a tapping just listening to my OEM car tape deck.

    See what I mean about a fine line between Audiophilia and Pretentiousness.?

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