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      01-03-2012, 09:00 PM   #1
Phil G
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Best sound quality for iPhone (pre 4FL USB E92)

EDIT: I should have mentioned 6FL in the title rather than 4FL!!)

I have a lot of ALAC (Apple Lossless Advanced Codec) songs on my iPhone, and I want to find the best quality connection available to get every bit I can of the quality of these high bitrate files through my stereo. I'm using the BlackBerry Stereo Gateway, which sounds OK, but it still uses compressed audio.

Is connecting the iPhone's line out to the AUX port the only real way to play lossless files? Or is there another method out there that produces better sound quality? Just thought this might be a nice starting point before I even think about investing in a JBL MS-8 and other equipment upgrades.

Thanks!
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Last edited by Phil G; 01-04-2012 at 08:58 PM.
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      01-03-2012, 09:17 PM   #2
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ALAC is Apple Lossless Audio Codec for one. If you have a limitless amount of money, everything can be done to make the audio in your car as close to studio as possible. Equalizers, DSPs, DACs, burbrown, etc.

Aux is going to be better than the gateway, like you said, due to compression.

Stock system has to go and needs to be replaced by all new components. All new wiring will need to be ran as well. If you are willing to shell out tons of money in the process.

You can spend a few thousand and have great sound as well. My suggestion is to find a local installer who has years of experience with sound acoustics and audio equipment.
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      01-03-2012, 09:24 PM   #3
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Can't you play wav files stored on a USB flash drive?
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      01-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #4
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Speaking from a home audio perspective only, there is an option. Just dont know if it can be implemented in a car or not.

First, let's identify the problem and the solution:

Problem: Apple iPhones and iPods use an internal DSP-based DAC that basically sucks. Even if you use lossless files, you still listen to them after Apple has done some super lame digital to analogue conversion.

Solution: two parts. 1) need to tap into Apple's digital data BEFORE it gets processed by the internal DAC. 2) need to take that pure digital data and then use a high quality, after-market digital to analogue converter.

How it is implemented in home audio: two ways. 1) use a dedicated iPod/iPhone transport like the Wadia i170 or 171 or an Onkyo transport (forget model number.) They are usually about $300. Then transfer signal to dedicated DAC of which there are hundreds of choices and start at $199 and go to over $10,000. or 2) use an all-in-one solution and I only know of two choices that tap direct digital signal and combine it with an internal DAC that is decent but certainly not the level of quality of MOST dedicated DACs.

Those two are:

1. HRT iStreamer - $199
2. Pure i20 Dock - $99

I use the Pure on my second home system (not dedicated basement rig) in my kitchen and the results are startling over iPod direct (headphone jack to RCA to preamp.) The question for mobile audio is how to implement this. The Pure solution would suck as you need a table to rest the transport. The iStreamer may work but, like the Pure, uses an external "wall wart" power supply. If this can be adapted to a cigarette lighter power source then you will be in business and just have to find a place to stash the small power supply in your car console.

Simply Google above products for pics.

Does that help?
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      01-04-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
Phil G
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Oops, cole, you're right, thanks for the correction about ALAC! Yeah, over time, I want to work on replacing components of the stock system. I just figured that improving the quality of the source would be the way to start, so I'm not just trying to make "crap" sound better. Such a shame how integrated car audio is nowadays from the factory...it's pretty much impossible to get a clean, stealth install now in newer cars.

Chi-Guy, you are thinking in the same direction I was.....I didn't know if there is a way to bypass the iPhone DAC with a better one (and in a car environment), or if you are really just stuck using an AUX input type connection using the iPhone DAC. Well, I stumbled upon the DICE MediaBridge after posting this. The iPhone plugs into it using USB, and DICE claims it is a fully digital connection. So, I would guess it has it's own onboard DAC, then sends analog signal to the HU through the MOST CD Changer connection?

Is anyone familiar with this product? How is the DAC's quality (assuming it uses an onboard one)? Are there better solutions for the money? Not a bad price....only about $230.
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      01-04-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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Most of us need a Most compatible device

To integrate with 09 or earlier cars which means denison or mobridge.
To get digital into the radio in which case you might as well use a flash drive
or hard drive.
Or am I wrong?
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      01-05-2012, 09:22 AM   #7
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@ ctuna - I wouldn't say that you are wrong per se. But, the issue that Phil wants to see addressed may not be handled in the manner that you outline.

@ Phil - I looked at the web site for DICE and I do not think that it will do what you want. I did speak with a really smart electronics guy in my office, and he looked at specs of HRT iStreamer and believes that it can be hard-wired into a car like a radar detector. THAT will address your issue for sure.

So, I would steer you to:

http://www.highresolutiontechnologies.com/istreamer/

or

http://cypherlabs.com/
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      01-07-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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