iPod to a Benchmark Media DAC-1 D/A

Is there any way to modify an ipod to imput the apple lossless encoded digital output to a Benchmark Media DAC-1 D/A ??
not that anyone knows about - one company purported to have done such a mod but Ihave never read anything positive about it.
DBK, I was at a headphone show last weekend and Benchmark showed a usb version of their D/A that was attached to a Mac directly and playing songs from its hard drive. You might give Benchmark a call.
It may depend on what model iPod you have. Vinnie at Red Wine Audio modifies 4G iPods bypassing the volume control etc. He might be able to modify yours with a digital output.
The only company I'm aware of that does claim to accomplish that is MSB Technology. The cost? A cool $2k...may as well get a laptop and a USB DAC for that price. Perhaps the price will come down with time.

FYI - at last check Vinnie cannot do that...
The only way to do it correctly is the bottom port connector and not the headphone jack..

Get the Benchmark Dac with USB and bypass the IPOD all together or get a Squeezebox and output to the Benchmark digitally.
The only way to do it correctly is the bottom port connector and not the headphone jack..

The bottom port connector will only bypass the ipods crappy op-amp for the headphones. It will not, however, provide a digital output (which is what the original question asked). It is, effectively, a line output (it's still utilizing the iPod's less than desirable DAC). It will definitely be an improvement over going out the headphone jack, but it is not a way to feed a digital signal to your DAC unless you enjoy silence (which some folks may actually prefer over the music an iPod provides).

I'd agree, with the next statement; why bother with the iPod? Use a laptop or a MacMini to a USB DAC. Hey, I already said that.

I agree with Jax2. The MSB I link, with the MSB modified iPod, does provide a digital output directly from the iPod. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only product in production that allows for this. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a MSB dealer, and made this decision in a large part due to the release of the iLink. The iPod as a transport is an extremely capable device. We have used the iLink system as a source to a number of capable DACs with very impressive results. The MSB modified iPod will still provide analog out from its headphone jack or when installed in a standard docking station.

Ron Lapporte
Ultimate Audio Video
I'm planning to do this, but only in conjunction with my Pace-Car reclocker that outputs I2S to an I2S DAC. I believe I can bring-out the I2S interface of the iPod on the docking connector.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a MSB dealer, and made this decision in a large part due to the release of the iLink. The iPod as a transport is an extremely capable device.

Since you did choose to be a dealer; out of curiosity, Ron, what do you think the selling point is of a $2k investment in hooking up an iPod to one's main rig via a DAC? Per my post, for that price you can buy a laptop, an 500gb external drive, and a modest USB-SPDIF converter and have your entire music library at your fingertips, not just 80gb of it. If you own an iPod it is pretty likely you already have a computer of some sort with your music library ripped to a hard drive, so you could probably invest less. The iPod is essentially a miniature hard drive. According to Toshiba, the manufacturer of the drive, the MTBF for the mini hard drive in an iPod is rated at 20,000 hours. Given the typical use/abuse of an iPod as a mobile music provider I'd guess that number is optimistic in many cases. I'd consider this to be a further argument against investing that much into a devise with a rather limited lifespan. Compared to a typical laptop where the MTBF is up in hundreds of thousands of hours, and has far more versatile applications. I'm sure the iPod is a very capable device via the MSB interface at streaming digital. It would be a great technology offering if it came down to the price of a standard iPod docking station, or was an integral offering on a stock iPod (even then, it would still be a novelty device in my view - if I'm playing my main rig via a DAC I'd rather have all my music available to me rather than just 60GB, in my case)--But $2,000?! What justifies that kind of investment in a $400 iPod? I don't doubt that implementing the technology involved to a current stock iPod takes a significant amount of time, effort and expertise, so I'm not questioning the price from that standpoint...just wonder who's buying those things and why?

why not do this with appleTV instead of an ipod? i'm working on this with an inexpensive DAC - still ripping all the CDs...
MSB has a docking station for iPod that outputs S/PDIF. Not as good as I2S IMO, but digital anyway. I believe it's around $2K.
I have the msb ipod /ilink and feel its great.Also comes with ir trans. So sit back and dial up your choice and wirelessly enjoy lossless music.
Why is direct I2S connection better than s/pdif?

The msb ipod/ilink doesn't come with a DAC. So for the $2K, you could get a new apple laptop with iTunes that would serve the same function. I would use a Benchmark DAC/USB that has a direct I2S connection. The problem with the msb ipod/ilink is that it cannot be charged while in your lap with the plug-in RF remote transmitter and if plugged into the base station, it cannot sit on your lap. The computer on the other hand can be used for other tasks when not listening to music, can stay on the wall outlet, so no need to charge and if operated with a remote contro,l can be a music server from your listening chair.

I just need to find a remote control device for the MacBook to allow use of the iTunes interface from a distance.
I have the MSB docking station and it works...far better than using the existing analogue output by a HUGE mile. I still think not as good as CDs but that;s in comparison to my EMM labs gear. The benefit of the MSB dock vs PC.notbook solution despite it being quite pricey ...sound quality wise I have no idea as I do not have the experience of the latter. However its convenient in that its portable: with your benchmark DAC...just add some quality headphones and you can use it in various rooms to your liking. Also you can use the IPOD to send data wirelessly to the DOC and use the IPOD as a remote control: and for IPOD users we all love the user interface.
Dbk wrote:
"Why is direct I2S connection better than s/pdif?"

Because the S/PDIF encoding and decoding adds more jitter. Using I2S, you can avoid encoding the clock and data into a single signal.

The optimum solution is to locate the master clock at the D/A chip and then send this clock back to the source, which will be a "slave". This achieves the lowest jitter. I have this solution for Squeezebox, and soon Sonos and Olive.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve, would you I2S solution to Squeezebox be applicable to their Transporter
by the way, how is the benchmark as a headphone amp? how good? for those who have experience how would it compare vs one of headroom's USB Dac/headphone amps?