How to get the best quality sound from an iPod?

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Hi guys,

Want to try out a new hi-fi and I have a few flac audio files. I want to put them on my iPod and play them through a phono-3.5mm jack cable.

How do I get the most of the iPod in terms of playback quality?
 
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Use uncompressed audio, it'll mean ripping all your CDs to .wav files but it's the only way to actually get a proper sound out of your iPod if you have a decent speaker system.

I've not used FLAC before, but the fact that it's compressed means that it's not lossless else it'd be the full file size instead of smaller. There's obviously something being taken out of it else that wouldn't be possible.
 
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Don't use the headphone out on your ipod, use the line out, it will give a much cleaner and balanced signal to your sound system. You can do this by getting a line out adaptor, which connects to the data/charging port on your ipod and provides line out port. There's quite a few of them available in different form factors, but something simple like an iBasso Line Out Dock Adapter, would do fine.

Regarding the file formats, uncompressed files (ALAC) would be preferable but to be honest, you'd be hard pushed to notice any difference from a well encoded high bitrate mp3 or aac file.
 
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Use uncompressed audio, it'll mean ripping all your CDs to .wav files but it's the only way to actually get a proper sound out of your iPod if you have a decent speaker system.

I've not used FLAC before, but the fact that it's compressed means that it's not lossless else it'd be the full file size instead of smaller. There's obviously something being taken out of it else that wouldn't be possible.

Flac is lossless. Downloaded a flac player and the output is lovely.
 
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As I've said, I've never used FLAC, it doesn't change the fact that when you play it back, it's an altered version of the original file. I'm not saying that it sounds as bad as MP3 or that it'll sound worse to human ears than a wav, but the fact remains that it is a compressed, altered file. Hell, even if FLAC was perfect, the conversion from wav to FLAC would lower the quality the same as if you converted an audio file between two uncompressed formats.

If the OP had said "How to get a good quality sound from an iPod", then there's nothing wrong with lossless audio (hell, I just stick with MP3 and AAC and accept the quality). They asked how to get the "best" quality sound and the ONLY way to do that is to use as close to the original bounces from the recording session as possible which for most people is a wav rip from the CD.

Maybe it's just snobbery from working in studios (both as engineer and artist) for the last 10 years, but I refuse to believe that anything other than the original file is truely up to the quality of the original. If something was invented that did perfectly preserve the original file whilst shrinking the size, I'm sure it'd be well known about by now.
 
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you dont understand lossless compression.

You should never use zip files because their contents are modified. True or false?
 
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As I've said, I've never used FLAC, it doesn't change the fact that when you play it back, it's an altered version of the original file.

No other way to put this other than saying, you are wrong.

FLAC works on the same principle as zip compression in that data is being rearranged so that it is more 'compact'. When decompressed, everything unravels to what it was originally (to put it bluntly). This is exactly why it is called lossless.
 
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This is going to be one of those conversations. ;)

Let's agree to disagree. I'll happily believe that there's no audible difference between the two. Whether or not quality is lost after that doesn't really matter to an end user. :)
 
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How can you ignore the facts when they are presented to you? This isn't some subjective debate like burn-in or cables. The fact is lossless is a bit perfect reproduction of the original recording.

Do they sound the same? Now that is up for subjective debate. Either way FLAC is much more convenient than CDs or WAV.
 
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The sound produced from a FLAC encoded song will be 100% the same from the source it was encoded from, there's no dispute. If you still have doubts then you need to Google 'lossless' and have a good read. :p

To answer the question: If you want lossless audio on an iPod then your best bet will be Apple Lossless.
 
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This is going to be one of those conversations. ;)

Let's agree to disagree. I'll happily believe that there's no audible difference between the two. Whether or not quality is lost after that doesn't really matter to an end user. :)

It's not down to anyone, it can be mathematically proven to be identical - doesn't get much more certain than that.
 
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The information stored in a FLAC is identical to the information stored in a CD. This can be measured and proven.

You cannot prove a FLAC sounds the same as a CD. I'm not saying does or it doesn't, I'm saying it cannot be proven. You can't really prove a copy of a CD sounds the same as the original CD.

Just like you cannot prove wrong someone who claims a better cable is improving the SQ or after burn-in their speakers/headphones sound better.
 
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The information stored in a FLAC is identical to the information stored in a CD. This can be measured and proven.

You cannot prove a FLAC sounds the same as a CD. I'm not saying does or it doesn't, I'm saying it cannot be proven. You can't really prove a copy of a CD sounds the same as the original CD.

Just like you cannot prove wrong someone who claims a better cable is improving the SQ or after burn-in their speakers/headphones sound better.

The issue of a CD copy not sounding the same as the orignal CD, is mostly down to limitations of the redbook standard and the poor error correction on audio CDs. Hell, you can't even guarantee that the same CD will sound the same on repeated plays. This is why you need ripping programs like EAC to ensure that your copy is as good as possible ... otherwise CD copying/ripping would have been a simple copy and paste job.

Aside from these 'external' issues, if you consider an uncompressed digital audio file as a string of 1's and 0's, then yes you can actually prove that the FLAC file will produce a completely identical string of 1's and 0's when decompressed. Arguing against this, is tantamount to arguing against the fundamental computing principles and the mathematics behind it.

What think you hear or don't hear is irrelevant.
 
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Maybe it's just snobbery from working in studios (both as engineer and artist) for the last 10 years, but I refuse to believe that anything other than the original file is truely up to the quality of the original. If something was invented that did perfectly preserve the original file whilst shrinking the size, I'm sure it'd be well known about by now.

Wow. You may have "Worked in a studio" but I'm telling you now; You don't have a clue. Not a bloody clue mate. Sorry.

Losslessly compressed data is EXACTLY the same as the source data once reconstructed. Bit for bit.
 
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I didn't say the data isn't identical, that was Thombassmonkey.

What I'm saying is that there are people out there who claim a FLAC sounds different to WAV (not me) and you cannot prove them wrong by saying the 1's and 0's are the same. That's too simplistic a view. There is a lot more going on than what can be objectively measured and sometimes one has to trust their ears. So what people hear is not irrelevant, it's everything.

To my ears a FLAC sounds the same as a wav, heck even 320 sounds the same and I've got pretty high end gear.
 
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ah yes, i've indeed encountered complete smacktards online who think the extra cpu load required to decode a compressed lossless file causes audible cpu jitter. what complete and utter balls.
 
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