Ipod to Digital Out

Anybody know whether there exists, or is any chance of development in the near future, a way to go directly from an Ipod to a DAC (USB DAC's included)? I'm thinking of buying an Ipod and would love this kind of functionality, but don't believe it exists. If it's not anywhere on the horizon, I'll just forget about waiting for it and get an existing model. Thanks.
Run a search; but as far as i remember, this is not an option at this time.
I have not seen anything about Apple planning to add this feature to the iPod. However, if you do get an iPod and start using iTunes, you can purchase an Apple Airport Express ($109.00) which does have a Toslink (mini)digital output which you can connect to a DAC.

The Airport Express can join an existing wireless network or can be setup to connect wirelessly direct to your computer via b or g wireless. This allows you to wirelessly stream your music from iTunes and enjoy the benefits of your DAC.

I do this and it works great..

Hey Peter - According to Vinnie at Red Wine Audio there is no SPDIF tap within the iPod. I asked him this same question at someone elses suggestion when I started a similar thread. He does some kind of modifications to the line stage of the ipod. One thing he could not figure out was how a company called Monitor Audio, claimed to be utilizing their own DAC in their mini-iPod system. You can read that claim in the AA description here.

Thanks Marco - that thread was really helpful, and it does appear like the Monitor Audio unit takes digital out of the ipod. Maybe someday... we'll all be able to get digital out to our personal DAC!
and it does appear like the Monitor Audio unit takes digital out of the ipod.

I don't know; I seem to recall that Vinnie was very skeptical as to how they might achieve that, and why more companies do not do the same thing. You might write to him if you want to get his input on the subject. That said, my car stereo has an iPod interface that I plug into which requires a separate box to achieve. I don't understand what the box does and why the stereo isn't just taking the line-out from the iPod and amplifying it (why would you need an interface for that? Other than to get another $100 from your customer.). In the case of my car deck (an Alpine), the CD player does sound superior to the iPod playing the same material for whatever that's worth.
OK - I've got an email in to the technical i-Deck person at Monitor Audio. I'll report back if I get an answer.

The Ipod is capable of digital out. BUT it takes software to do that. The new Itunes interface will read the songs from your Ipod and put them on your hard drive. Before this there were 3d party applications that would acomplish the same thing. So I think it is a matter of knowing which pins output the digital signal from the Ipod connection, fireing up the Ipod and reading the info from the Ipod. What this digital signal is I have no Idea so software may be required to convert it. But it seems logical that one could make a cable to go from the Ipod connector out to an RCA connector if the pin outs were known.

Just my 2 cents.
Contact HeadRoom, Moon Audio, and Stefan Art Audio to see if the can help.
Good news! I hope this means that those with circuitry skills will jump right on this! Perhaps an iPod-SPDIF adaptor...

I just got this response from Monitor Audio:

"The i-deck uses the analogue line output from the iPod. The digital/ audio over USB protocol has only just been released to us by Apple in September, which will mean that products in the future may use the digital data stream with local D/A conversion. At this moment there are no products on the market that currently use digital audio conversion for iPod."

for the following question:

"I would like to know whether the i-Deck does its own conversion of digital signal downloaded from the iPod (i.e. using a DAC built into the i-Deck itself) or whether it takes the line-level analog audio signal from the iPod and just amplifies it within the i-Deck. I have heard that the i-Deck is a large sonic improvement over many other iPod accessories, and I am especially interested in whether it uses a digital or analog signal from the iPod."
Interesting re iDeck, because the marketing materials on AudioAdvisor, where I bought an iDeck for my son, says that the iDeck has its own DAC, claimed to be superior to that in the iPod, which processes the digital signal from the iPod and bypasses the DAC in the iPod. From what they told Peter S, this appears to be untrue, if I am understanding it all correctly. I think the decription on AA comes from Monitor Audio itself.

What gives here?

I seem to recall a review in either Stereophile or TAS where they put three iPod mini-systems through the paces and the iDeck was one of them. I could swear they cited the same specification and that it succeeded because it used its very own (superior) DAC - though I recall it was bested by some very expensive German speakers without a DAC, but with tube amplification perhaps(?). The little misinformation probably originates from P.R. at Monitor and has just never been questioned by anyone selling or reviewing the stuff. Interesting that someone at Monitor divulged that discrepancy to Peter.

Great news that Apple is addressing the digital-output for those who may like to take advantage. Thanks for investigating Peter.

Hi Marco,

So the truth comes out! :-)

I just couldn't see a company making a product like Monitor Audio (which doesn't sell for all that much money) and also making all the effort to take the signal out of the iPod digitally and use their own dac which is supposed to sound better.... but they are using speakers that mostly likely cannot resolve the improvement that they claim ;-)

So if they really only use the analog line out from the dock connector, that is bad advertising. Actually, I don't remember ever reading on the Monitor Audio website about them using a different dac.... I've only read it in Audio Advisor!

Best regards,

Monitor Audio website says nothing about iDeck using its own DAC. That said, its a great piece for what it is, and on sale for $160 from original list of $360. Speakers are darn good.

I hope I didnt miss anything in my quick search of the archives....

.....but could anyone please comment on the brand new iPods and whether or not it is easier (ie possible) to get

1) digital out or

2) at least a true line level out?

I am in no rush to upgrade my iPod but would do so if either of these options were available.

Thank you,
I have plans to bring out the I2S interface on the iPod and interface it directly with my own DAC design. It will be like a portable docking station that you can hold in your hand like the iPod, but a bit larger. Rechargeable battery powered with DAC and headphone amp/volume control. I am calling it the iRod, for "hotrodded" iPod. This will happen probably next year after I complete the more important product of my Formula One DAC. The iRod uses many of the features of the Formula One DAC. It will be a milled, anodized aluminum chassis with rounded edges, available in colors, that the iPod slips into. You can even drive an amplifier directly from it.

The iRod will require modding of the iPod to connect the I2S interface to the docking connector, and improve the clock. The modded iPod can still be charged and used normally when not docked, except for the line-outs and some other ancillary features on the docking connector.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
USB out from iPods.

I just came accross these

No affiliation.
Ecruz - this cannot be used for playing audio output, just transferring files.

Steve N.
Okay, I wasn't clear on that.