Ipad to replace cd player?

Reluctantly I have been forced to connect either my ipad or ipod to my system for audio. I was always against it so far! but wife and kids feel more comfortable with them as opposed to CD player. My system is Infinity intermezzos hooked to Lexicon MC12, CX-5, and a lexicon RT20.
How much of a deterioration in audio quality do you get playing mp3 off ipad etc?
Any suggestion reg good cable for hookup?
The iPad isn't really that bad is it? I use Discovery Essence interconnect and a cheap Hosa RCA to 3.5mm stereo adapter to connect my preamp to my iPad. I play Pandora or whatever off of the iPad, and I think it sounds pretty good for what it is. I enjoy it more for what it can do than for it's sound quality. If it makes the wife and kids happy then that alone should be worth it's weight in gold! LOL. I use a Wadia 170i connected to my DAC with TARA Labs RSC Air 1 Digital coax for iPod usage, and that is when the sound quality gets much better. Good luck!
Can you explain the ipod setup in little detail?
Ipad is not a bad device for listening on teh grand scale of things historically, but .mp3 files are technically the weak link compared to CD.

Just listen to the music from whatever source of interest and decide for yourself if it is enjoyable or not. For a lot of pop/rock type recordings, it may be good enough. For other genres prone often to more discriminating listening, classical in particular, the differences/shortcoming may become more apparent.

Nowadays, you can rip CDs to computer disk using .wav, FLAC or other lossless formats and use various programs on Ipods with a wireless network connection for playback or to control other devices connected to hifi like Sonos. That can work quite well for both Ipod lovers and audio lovers with nice systems.
I would start with Foobar... its free. Others will tell you to use other programs more tailored for Apple products and you may want to end up that way, but initially get Foobar 2000 and get an external hard drive, use Foobar as a server program and see how you like using files.... a decent DAC can be had Cheap that will beat any consumer level cd player and completely agree that your week link is loading lower quality files such as MP3.... Flac should be the lowest quality that you should look at and if you, I prefer WAV and if you decide to go with a Program more Tailored for Apple, you will most likely end up using AIFF files. Read, read and read a bit more, the info is out there, when it comes to DACs and how they connect to your Ipad, research only the newest info, even info from just 2 years ago can be obsolete. I hope this helps, Tim
I use a 120gb iPod Classic plugged into my Wadia 170 iTransport that is connected to my SMcAudio Revision A modified McCormack DAC-1 with a TARA Labs RSC Air 1 - 75ohm digital coax cable. I am pleased with the sonics to say the least. Sound is very good IMHO and it's easy to navigate thru my iTunes music library with the iPod. I use an Oppo 970HD plugged into the DAC-1 with Analysis Plus Toslink for playing CDs, which is also pretty good sound on the cheap. You can view the rest of my system here on Audiogon. Only I recently sold my McCormack RLD-1 SS preamp and bought a VTL TL-2.5 to put in it's place.

To sum up, the Wadia iTransport mated with a nice DAC that does a good job with jitter reduction is a great way to go IMO. Most iPod and iPhone will plug right in. Often visitors are allowed to plug in their favorite song, and are then suprised when they hear how good it sounds! Best of luck...
Wow! Thanks for valuable info. So if I get a external hard drive convert MP3 songs from my ipod to a lossless format like Wav. Use a DAC to convert Wav format to analog and connect to preamp, I should have better performance than playing straight mp3 format(which I dont like)?
Just converting MP3 to a lossless format will not get you improved sound, as MP3, being a lossy format, has thrown away the original fidelity of the recording. You must re-rip from CD into a lossless file (WAV,FLAC,ALAC,etc) or download hi-rez files.