Do I need a DAC for iPod?

I am not up with the latest HiFi standards. My last system was a McIntosh Integrated to Dynaudio speakers, using only a Rotel CD player. I sold the system years ago and I am now looking to buy a less expensive HiFi system. I will likely be buying B&W PM1's and a Roksan Caspian Integrated Amp.

My whole music library now is on our Ipod's and iPad's. What do I need to get music from them? Do I need a DAC? I dont know anything about them. They sound like those line conditioners, whatever they are....they just seem to "clean" the electrical feed to the amp (which I will not be planning on buying).

Thanks for your help
as you may know a dac means digital to analogue convertor. there is one in every digital device that you can attach some rcas out to your amp. so your cd has one, your computer has one, ipad, tablet etc. the ipod has one but the issue for some people is the one inside the ipod isn't the best sounding. the optimum goal is to go bypass the ipod dac and get a dock that extracts the digital signal and sends it to your amp. then there are a couple of ways to go. buy a good quality dac for your dock or buy a dock that has a good dac in it. i use a pure 1-20 that costs 99 bucks and sounds as good as a good cd player. then there are other docks made by hrt, wadia, cambridge, onkyo and others that go into the hundreds of dollars and deliver even better sound quality. with your system a 99 dollar expense is well worth checking out imo. hope that helps
You can simply run the ipod's headphone out into one of the Caspian's line inputs. The cable like this from Belkin is all you need. If you want the best sound however you'll need to dig a little deeper and go the dac route.
I just started downloading a bunch of cds to an ipod classic using WVAC & error correction import settings in itunes - classic connected to a Wadia 171 idoc and then digital cable out of the Wadia to my DAC
good pt facten. if you want the best sound quality you must go into settings on itunes and set it up right. i use aiff and error correction on and my ipod is a great source. jeff, maybe go to computer audiophile for some articles on this for more information.
If you want to use BOTH the iPad and the iPod to stream music, then I would suggest an Apple Airport Express.

You can connect the airport express directly to your amp line ins using supplied cable.

The sound will not be that great since the DAC used in the Airport Express is medicore at best, but it will work great.

Further down the road you can invest into some high quality DAC and utilise Airport Express TosLink digital out instead of the analog outs. You need a DAC with a with high jitter rejection though (to supress jitter present on Airport Express TosLink digital out), so you need something of current vintage (certainly no legacy dacs) - Arcam rDAC, Musical Fidelity V-DACmk2 / M1 DAC etc.

You can also get one of the iPod docks available (Wadia i171 springs to mind) but then you will not have the wireless capability. Sound wise the dock will be slightly better though.
By using a ipod docking cable to RCA connectors, such as found at will work nicely. Has the supposed audio benefit over the headphone output.

Better IMO is using the ipod/ipad bluetooth output to the Xantech BT6 bluetooth receiver device. Others like the Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter for Bluetooth Audio Devices work on the same line. The cool thing about them is you can control the ipod sitting in your easy chair wirelessly sending signal to device connected via rca or mini plug to your stereo. Down side it does not charge your ipod at the same time. Some wired docks will as your ipod sits in the cradle.

Costs range from about $25.00 for a good cable to well under $120.00 for the these simple but nice sounding bluetooth receivers. Of course better sound may be had as you move up the chain with dedicated DAC's. Audio has some interesting alternatives. Let your ears be the best judge.
Great advice, but ouch! $650 for a wireless transport for my iPad or iPod music. One thing I need to be careful of, that I do not spend $4k on a system and not be able to enjoy the best I can out of it. Wireless control from a iPhone, etc. does sound pretty cool though too!
right, pure offers 30 day guarantee as does music direct and audio advisor on the units they sell.
I'm not sure if there's still any floating around, but you may want to try finding an Apple TV Gen 1. The have an internal hard drive that can store your music on (limited to 160 gb). Since you have iTunes and iPad etc, you can control it wirelessly with the remote app. No need for the computer to be running.

Or you can get an Apple TV 2, and do almost the same thing. Problem is the ATV2 doesn't have the internal hard drive, so you'd have to stream to it, either from your computer or through AirPlay (not sure exactly how that one works).

The second issue I have with the ATV2 is that it outputs everything at 48 instead of the native 44.1. That tells me it's changing the music slightly. Not sure if it's truly audible or not, but it rubs me the wrong way.

With either, you're best off using an internal DAC. The analog outs aren't anything to write home about.

I'm a huge fan of the ATV1. I currently have the majority of my music synched to its hard drive as Apple Lossless, control it with my iPhone 3Gs, and run it's optical output into a Rega DAC. Sounds excellent to my ears. Everything is self contained, no computers need to be running, I don't have to worry about wireless issues, and so on. And as I'm sure you know, Apple stuff is so easy to use.

I wouldn't trade my ATV and iPhone setup for any other server right now. It just flat out works and sounds great.
There are a lot of options, varying widely in cost, and these have been posted already. My question for you -- what format is the music in? 128kbps AAC files purchased from iTunes? Similarly lossy mp3's? Or Apple Lossless that youve ripped yourself? (I assume they arent flac files unless you've installed a third-party OS on your iPod.)

I think that you need to do some serious listening before you spend a bunch of money on an external dac to decode what may be very lossy files. I just don't have enough experience listening to such set-ups to know whether a lossy, compressed mp3 or aac file will sound substantially better via a Wadia doc (that has an external dac and bypasses the iPod's dac) than with a cable from the headphone "out"
Most of my songs were purchased directly from iTunes. I have started loading my old cd's to iTunes, but I was unsure how those were saved. This is really new to me since the last time I had a hifi system the iPod was very new. I appreciate your help.
jeff, go to import settings in itunes. chose a lossless setting i would recommend. it will take more memory but the sound quality is worth it to me at least. then check the box for error correction. this will help with the rip. i chose to use aiff but some people like wav especially if the use computers other than apple. check out some articles in computer audiophile or ilounge about this before you spend hours ripping cds.when buying from itunes there is a way to request 256kbps. it is always easy to compress but no way to add data that isn't there to begin with. good luck john
Rip your CDs at either AIFF (Apple's version of WAV) or Apple Lossless (Apple's version of FLAC). I went with Apple Lossless because I couldn't hear any differences, and Apple Lossless is 60% or so smaller than AIFF.

Use error correction as well. It takes a few minutes longer, but is better to my ears.

Save your library on an external hard drive, and buy another one as a backup.

To check what your CDs were ripped at, right click on a track, select "get info," and the first tab should say what bitrate it's stored as. 44.1k is redbook CD.

iTunes downloads are 256k, which aren't full CD quality.
Get the Apple Camera kit for $29.00 and using it as a line out to an external DAC. Done deal. No need for Wadia or Cambridge Audio.