The better DAC? iPod, Motorola phone, HTC, Samsung... listen to lossless music?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mtnbikerva1, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. mtnbikerva1, Aug 21, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013

    mtnbikerva1 macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Do you like to listen to quality music, and if so how do you do it? Or do you listen to mp3 and satellite radio super low quality garbage?
    I put my CD's into AIFF lossless 44.1 and 16 bit.
    One of the ways I listen is a iphone 4s or 5.5 gen. iPod and headphones or monitor speakers.
    The other is out from my Mac Pro to a cheap stereo.
    I am trying to find a better and higher quality way to get it to my better quality 20 yr. old higher quality stereo. I thought about using Apple TV but I figure quality is lost through the use of airwaves vs hard wire.
    Is there a better way hardware or software that does not cost a arm and a leg?
    For those of you that want higher sound quality how do you get the music to your ears?
    Thank you and good riding to you!
  2. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I don't see how the music files would be changed by being sent to an Apple TV by WiFi. ATV should play Apple lossless. If you hook it up to a stereo with an optical cable then it would seem that you could get the original files sent to the stereo to use that DAC.
  3. teknikal90 macrumors 68030


    Jan 28, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    im not sure about the streaming protocol for apple tv/airplay so not sure if it is compressed. but the best way I KNOW is to get an external DAC.
    IMO the best that you can get for relatively cheap is the Apogee Duet 2. It's a USB external interface that has balanced TRS output.
  4. Merkie macrumors 68020

    Oct 23, 2008
  5. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Quality isn't lost over WiFi - it's digital. It's why I paid over $100 for a USB DAC for my MacBook - partly because my 750 ohm headphones were too quiet, but also because there was hissing from the internal DAC. Digital interfaces don't lose quality.

    But to answer your question, I know Samsung uses Wolfson DACs, which are known for warmer but less clear audio compared to the Cirrus and Texas Instruments DACs that Apple uses in recent iPhones and iPods. HTC has been pushing audio quality in their One line of products, so I'd assume that the DAC is of decent quality.

    It's all a matter of preference, because when it comes down to it, mobile devices aren't very good for quality audio - their internal audio outputs are noisy due to electromagnetic interference, and most suffer from an underpowered headphone amp.
  6. surjavarman macrumors 6502a

    Nov 24, 2007
    I have my macbook stream music to my airport express which is hooked up to an amp and speakers. Whole setup cost less than $100 (for airport express and amp).

    But you can of course add a dac between the airport express and amp and you can pay as much or a little as you want for an amp.
  7. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Clearly define "better" and your budget. Don't just assume that your preferences and situation are universal. Quality DAC's come at a price.

    Depends on the interface. Some are lossy. Some are not. "Digital" by itself means nothing in this regard.
  8. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    You're super concerned about the quality but listen to it on subpar hardware? Seems bizarre to me.
  9. w00t951 macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    No, "lossy" refers to the compression algorithm used. I'm talking about the concept of transferring data over WiFi. Digital data is not significantly altered by distance, or equipment quality.

    If a lossless file is sent over WiFi from point A to point B, what arrives at point B is an identical copy of what was sent at point A. If a lossy file is sent over WiFi from point A to point B, what arrives at point B is an identical copy of what was sent at point A, right down to the imperfections in the original lossy file. Checksums and other verification methods can prove that the data files are otherwise identical.

    I'm not sure if the Apple TV uses compression when streaming music wirelessly, but any loss of quality arises from the bandwidth saving efforts of the Apple TV, not the WiFi transfer itself.

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