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iPod Touch Gen4 DAC retention question...

Sam Ash

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I absolutely love the sound of my iPod Touch Gen4 and attribute it to the Wolfson WM8975 DAC and any pre or post DAC processing that Apple may have incorporated. Unfortunately, Spotify Connect does not work on this model and I am unable to stream to my iPod. The iPod is connected to my preamp via the Onkyo DS-A1X dock that takes the signal from the 32-pin interface on the iPod Touch Gen4 to the preamp via analogue (RCA).

Would it be possible to mod my iPhone Touch Gen4 such that the input stage of the iPod is fed by a Raspberry Pi based Spotify Connect receiver? This would sort of simulate a music track being played from the internal storage of the iPod in order to avoid the exclusion of any Apple pre-DAC filters that may be kicking-in before the DAC stage.
 

IAtaman

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You want to stream music digitally to Touch G4 so that you can use its DAC to play music if I understand correctly? I guess it might be possible to jailbreak it and install some sort of spotify connect. I am afraid I don't have a more helpful answer to your question other than to say that it seems like you are trying to build a castle around a myth you came up with about the Touch and its DAC chip; and that you are probably better off moving on.
 
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Sam Ash

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Hi @IAtaman, thank you very much indeed for your reply. To be honest, I really appreciate sound fidelity and what I am stating is not a myth because I have done some comparisons by connecting my iPod to my processor in two different ways: Digitally which engages the higher-end DAC in my processor and via analogue that engages the DAC in the iPod. The latter sounds way better. If you do some research, you will see that the Wolfson WM8975 DAC was well respected, Apple may have added their own filters in the mix.
 

DVDdoug

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If you do some research, you will see that the Wolfson WM8975 DAC was well respected, Apple may have added their own filters in the mix.
If you read the scientific reviews here, or do proper level-matched, blind, statistically valid ABX Tests, you'll find that there are no "magic DACs" and there is little or no "sound quality" difference between DACs. ;)

You can read a lot but MOST of the "audiophile" community is non-scientific and many audiophiles "don't believe in" blind listening tests.

and any pre or post DAC processing that Apple may have incorporated.
DSP (usually EQ) can make a difference... A BIG difference, depending on the settings. And you should be able to nearly-duplicate it.
 
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Sam Ash

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Hi @DVDdoug, thank you for your input, I appreciate it. I totally agree with you but I am not an audiophile, I am a person who appreciated sound fidelity and choose to take and prefer a scientific approach. Please allow me to explain my situation further, I listen to all music via my iPod which is connected to my processor via a docking station. The iPod interfaces with the docking station via the 50-pin connectors and this allows the dock to charge my iPod while I'm using it. The docking station has no DAC of its own and passes the signal to the processor via RCA cables. This analogue connection means that the DAC in the iPod is engaged and the superior DAC in my processor is bypassed.

Then I decided to conduct an experiment, my processor has a USB interface that is compatible with my iPod and hence; accepts a digital signal from the iPod. I also have an Apple 50-pin connector to USB cable which is capable of sending a digital signal via USB. I connected it all up and listened to music tracks that I know really well, this time my processors DAC kicked in. The sound is very good and intact has more details in the highs but definitely not as good as the analogue option.

The analogue option sounds so much more dynamic and lively compared to the digital option which sounds more detailed in the highs but is flat and uninteresting. In both cases I listened to music via DPLIIx as that is my own personal preference. I conducted this test keeping the levels equal and all other aspects remained exactly the same.

As @IAtaman said, it's best to move on and I'm not in any way attached to or infatiated with my iPod. However, until I find a reasonably priced DAC that sounds like my iPod, I am not willing to give it up because I really enjoy my music with it in the mix. My only gripe is that it is not capable of running Spotify to become a Spotify Connect receiver. I contacted Spotify and they told me that Spotify will not run on my iPod because the iOS on it is too old. Disappointing to be honest.

If anyone out there had or has the same iPod (iPod Touch Generation 4) and has managed to find a DAC that provides the same sound signature or better then please share that information with me.
 

bargainguy

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@Sam Ash, I have the same ipod touch 4. It runs MP3s along with my ipod nano and thumb drives for on-the-go. I have the Eversolo DMP-A6 media player running FLAC in my primary home setup as well as a bunch of other media players running FLAC.

I know what you mean about the ipod touch 4's sound quality. I'm wondering if it's just exceptionally good system integration between the Wolfson DAC and the amp circuit. It easily drives my AKG K702 headphones on its own, which my other DAPs won't do.

Now let's talk about the DAC on my Eversolo A6. It's the ESS 9018M2 x2 if memory serves, one for each channel. According to Amir's measurements, I get ~115dB SINAD with the RCA outs I'm using. You'd get a skooch better via the XLR outs if that makes a difference to you.

My hearing is good enough to hear maybe 90 or 100dB. If there is a noise floor on my home setup with the A6, I haven't heard it yet.

If I had to describe the sound of the A6, it would be neutral. Not tipped up, not bloated, not accentuated, not anything. If it has a frequency response that differs from normal, I can't hear it.

So I would recommend it as at least the equal to the ipod. As a home device, it's completely transparent for my purposes. It also makes listening a lot easier when I have so many options: FLACs on the internal SSD, anything on the internet including radio, TV plugged into the optical input, etc. Really a game-changer for me.
 
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Sam Ash

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Thank you for your kind input @bargainguy - Nice to hear from a fellow iPod Touch Gen4 owner and I'm so glad that you understand what I mean.

The Eversolo A6 is beautifully designed and has aesthetic appeal, it is feature rich too and offers a plethora of interfacing options. However, my intention is to find a DAC that retains the sound signature of my iPod which I have come to appreciate a lot.

When listening to tracks you know really well, does the Eversolo A6 sound as good or better than the iPod Touch 4?
 

bargainguy

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Yes. I can't ascribe any characteristics to either one. Even listening to MP3s on the ipod vs FLAC on the Eversolo - I can't tell the difference. If there is one, it's beyond me.
 
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