Why don't you try the Pure iPod doc..... Digital out from your iPod just like the wadia......But only$100.
Computer audio can be really good but in my experience you need a good USB-spdif converter like V link, Hiface,
Stello etc as well as the dac........ Unless you get the JKDAC
Mac mini also gives you TV interaction
I replaced a wadia: iPod setup with a Mac mini, sounds better and is more tweakable using software players.
hi, i use the pure i-20 dock[ if you have an ipod set up right it is the best 100 bucks you can spend] and also have computers set up for audio. at times it is very convenient to just let the ipod run and the sound quality is good. but other times i like to check out new music streamed from MOG which is hard to beat for 5 dollars a month subscription. i agree with naggots on this as i have a mac with pure music installed for the best sound quality.
I think using a laptop can be more convenient. With the iPod you basically have to keep it in the dock cradle. Whic is a PITA when you want to change albums or titles. With a laptop you can use iTunes, get an iTouch, use the router, download the iTunes app on the iTouch and have total control of your library wirelessly. Once implemented it's basically set and forget. I use the Cary Xciter DAC.
Yup, a computer like the Mini will provide you with infinitely greater flexibility (ie, anything you might do with a computer), customizability (different software-end players or addons are just the start), tweakability (yes, anything you might change or upgrade on a computer you can change or upgrade on a computer, who knew), infinitely scalable storage space (and cheap, very fond of an Oyen digital FireWire RAID, damn sexy tech), AND may well sound better -- or at least very much have the potential to sound better -- to boot. Is that any reason not to use and enjoy an iPod as a digital source -- with the caveat that as long as you're running lossless files native format digital out and bypassing the junk inboard DAC -- no reason at all. If you're enjoying it, do. But rest assured that if (or as things go in this "hobby", I suspect when) you find yourself longing to explore whether there's more to be gleaned from the format, rest assured that there is.
Probably the most curiosity I have is to hear FLAC hi rez files which the ipod can't handle. I have looked into the music server idea for a while and it seems a little less confusing as time moves on. With the selection that HD Tracks has been offering lately its hard to pass up. I have an Ipad= so there is an app that allows me to address the mini while sitting and listening? Sounds pretty good.
I tried the Wadia dock (not the new one) and found it ergonomically inept. Undocking and reducing because it would lose the digital signal, click wheel issues, having to use the click wheel, etc. Just a real PITA.
I thought about using my laptop, but having it and my external hard drive wasn't my idea of fun either. Didn't want to use an airport express, Squeezebox, etc. as I had Squeezebox issues previously.
I bought an Apple TV gen 1 when it was the current one. It has 160gb internal hard drive and optical output. Think of it as an iPod with digital output. Everything is synched to it as Apple Lossless. I control it with my iPhone and with my TV whenever I feel like going that route. It can also be controlled by an iPod Touch or iPad.
I'm pretty sure they can still be found. Search Amazon. There are also people putting bigger hard drives into them. Haven't done that though. For me, it's a very simple route that has worked flawlessly. I think I paid $250 or so for it a few years ago. I've listened to and enjoyed music more than ever since I've had it.
It can also do Internet radio and YouTube. Picture and sound quality vary through those, but they're a lot of fun.
Connect it to a great DAC like the Rega DAC (which I own) and it sounds great. Just my two cents. Haven't tried the current ATV, but I've read it only outputs at 48 rather than 44.1, so it's changing things from the original signal. I haven't heard anyone rave about it's sound quality by any means.
i wouldn't spend a dime on a digital front that can't handle hi res. would also shy away from anything that wasn't wifi ready as well (i'm not a usb fan).
i had a wadia/ipod set-up for a while and enjoyed it. tweaked it a bit, which helped take it up a notch(upgraded pc and nicely matched ic). knew i'd be moving to a computer based system so the ipod set-up was a stepping stone while i figured out the computer based systems details. enjoyed it for the 6-8 months it was with me.
once i added the PS Audio Bridge to my PWT/PWD front end...the wadia and ipod were sold without a second thought. huge step up that doesn't even warrant a conversation imho(also a huge step up in price). am currently streaming from a win7 pc with great results. my library is 100% uncompressed FLAC which includes alot of hi-res as well(88, 96, 176 and 192). the sound is outstanding and really can't be compared to the wadia set-up. everything from soundstage (width and depth) to imaging and extension have been improved. use my ipad as the controller with J River MC16 on the pc. although i still feel my PWT sounds a bit warmer and is slightly less fatiguing, 80% of my listening is done via pc/streaming. the convenience and options available are worth the tiny compromise in sound quality imho.
again...strongly recommend a hi res, streaming capable front end if you're gonna go the computer based route. pc or apple...whatever floats your boat. compared to an ipod/dock set-up, you will hear the difference without a doubt.
I'd love to go high-res, but there's little if anything I listen available above redbook. If the OP is in the same boat, it wouldn't make much sense to up the budget for something that isn't there. And realistically speaking, I'm pretty sure mainstream music isn't going high-res as it's standard for quite a while. Hopefully I'm wrong!
I went the ATV and Rega DAC route with this in mind. The ATV won't do above redbook, but the Rega DAC will. If I miraculously find a ton of high-res music that I enjoy, I'll gladly repurpose the ATV.
Same can be said for an iPod. It can be used on the go (which is it's real original intent), in the car, in a second system, etc. The Wadia dock can follow it in a second system or be sold off.
The OP should get a DAC that'll do high-res even if he doesn't have any, as you never know what tomorrow will bring. But what's feeding it can be repurposed pretty easily and effectively if need be, and doesn't really break the bank either.
Or at least that was my train of thought when putting together what I have. I didn't want to be tied to a laptop, nor have the main computer running to hear music.
Also, if you're streaming and have wifi/Internet issues, how would you acess your library? My cable/Internet was down for 4 days due to hurricane Irene. That would have been driving salt into the wound.
Mac mini and use iPhone/iPad as the remote......Your TV is the monitor. No more hassle than docking the iPod into the wadia or using ATV.
The ATV1 is a great solution too and cheap, the mini is about the same size and just as portable..... But you get core i7 and 8gb ram, 500gb+HD with hdmi, it comes with a heavy pricetag tho.
I use my Mini for watching movies and Internet Tv for the kids and have family photos on screen saver so we actually view them ....... it's become the entertainment center, my music is just a small part.
I need the JKmk3 and Bitperfect to get it sounding better than my wadia/iPod, So that another $400...... But it Is much better. Hi Rez DAC is a must as upsampling using music player software can sound much better than redbook.
Kbarkamian: your point about internet access being down got me thinking. i was under the assumption that since my music is on my hard drive...internet access would not effect my streaming??. not that it matters in my case as i still have the PWT...but it did get me thinking. anyone care to comment/confirm??.
i agree that hi-res availability has a long way to go in becoming "mainstream" (if it ever happens at all). limited selection acknowledged, i am surprised you can't find *anything* you like though. another surprising point that is often bought up is leaving a computer on all the time. have been leaving mine on 24/7 for many years (separate room then my audio gear). thought most people did now a days??. i guess not.
there is a plus side to the limited offerings imho. out of desperation....i've purchased many hi res recording that really weren't my style of music(blues and various forms of rock). it's opened my eye's to classical and jazz which i now enjoy much more then ever.
Lots of good feedback. I agree that having a DAC makes sense now and will be ready for when I can get hi rez files playing. I am leaning towards the iDac from Peachtree- it has an ipod doc that feeds the dac with a direct digital signal. It will be neat to see how it compares the the Krell Kid. The selection of hi rez thru HD Tracks is expanding quickly and I will be using them when I am ready. When I get the new DAC then I can stream some FLAC from my laptop thru the USB input to get a sense of how good the sound is. I realize that a s/pdif converter would be optimal to change over the USb. I am figuring how the Apple TV would work there may be some other advantages that I could benefit from. Lots to learn