iPhones, iPods, & iPads forum

Question

advice

by danapretnar / May 8, 2013 4:57 AM PDT

just wondering if I should buy an sony iphone dock for listening to music or a logitech or a portable speaker...altec lansing octiv 65

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All Answers

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Answer
I'm going with no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 8, 2013 5:54 AM PDT
In reply to: advice

The folks that sell such didn't make the sale and you didn't buy it. It sounds as if you can do without it?

Yes I have an ipod dock but it was not a serious investment. Well under 40 and works fine. Too many to choose from today.

I am not an audiophile but which audiophile would have an iPod?
Bob

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I can play back lossless files with my old iPods
by Pepe7 / May 13, 2013 1:30 AM PDT
In reply to: I'm going with no.

With the rockbox firmware, I can play back some phenomenal FLAC encoded music files on my old iPods. Sounds wonderful too vs the standard MP3s. With good speakers and a halfway decent receiver, you would be good to go.

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Answer
It depends ...
by oterrya / May 17, 2013 1:03 PM PDT
In reply to: advice

... on what you want to accomplish. I have some of my music (about 750 songs) on both my iPad and iPhone, and a somewhat smaller set on my wife's iPhone. It is played in our car (through the car radio mostly when traveling) and through a Logitech Boombox (in our hotel room also when traveling). The music is recorded as excellent quality ("AAC - iTunes Plus"; but not lossless -- the boombox would not know the difference). For us it is a good way to have music we enjoy when on the road -- the Logitech Boombox is not perfect, but it sounds pretty good and is controlled through a Bluetooth connection. I do not use it at home. To play the iPad/iPhone music at home, I would get an Apple Airport and use our sound system. The Logitech was fairly small, not excessively expensive (about $100 as I recall) and sounded better than others available at the time -- some for a lot more dollars. I did not go with lossless because my entire music collection would not have fit on either my iPad or iPhone (both are 64 Gig).

I think the answer for you depends on what you wish to do.

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Correction
by oterrya / May 17, 2013 4:13 PM PDT
In reply to: It depends ...

I have 2,750 songs on the iPad and iPhone so far..

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My lossless collection didn't fit either
by Pepe7 / May 19, 2013 3:04 PM PDT
In reply to: It depends ...

That's why I built a server for that task Wink

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Yes but ...
by oterrya / May 19, 2013 4:51 PM PDT

... I used to have a server. I found it does no good when one is remote enough that you either cannot communicate with it at all or even so slowly that the music does not play well. My way, I at least have music -- two copies actually (one on my iPhone and one on my iPad) -- and it does not matter where I am. One place we were at recently, I had to go down to the common room and out to the edge of the adjacent deck to even make a phone call. Some with carriers other than mine, could not get through at all. In the room, forget it. I realize this is not true in most larger cities, but that is not where we go on vacation -- and where we go is where I really want to hear some relaxing music with which to unwind.

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My plan B when I'm in the sticks....
by Pepe7 / May 20, 2013 3:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes but ...

...is a laptop with USB 30 and a 3TB external drive full of FLAC goodness Wink

cheers

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A nice solution, but ...
by oterrya / May 20, 2013 6:44 AM PDT

... your laptop and external hard drive are probably each bigger than my iPad (let alone my iPhone). Further, I am sure I could not hear the difference between lossless and the method I use (actually it is probably even overkill for my ears). Most people over 40 could not tell, let alone those older and even under thirty, or far younger, if they have been going to loud concerts. What do you play them through for speakers? If you bring along your 400 pounds of speakers and the amps to drive them, your ears have a chance (if your ears are good enough). You probably don't. If you use a boom box, why bother with all of the fidelity on the back end - unless it is a highly unusual one (and again your ears are still good enough to perceive the difference), your ears will not hear the difference through the boombox. My method is near CD quality which is where at least 99% of my music came from so I do not feel I need to save it at a higher quality than it was in its CD state.

Let's face it, you like your "goodness" and I am willing to settle for less and not haul so much weight around. Enjoy. (I put camera equipment in my "extra" space.)

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No, my portables are still petite
by Pepe7 / May 21, 2013 7:12 AM PDT

I've got a small netbook (2 lbs?) which works well for that task, and the drive is fairly small/thin, inside a basic aluminum external HDD case. The powered speakers (with digital input) I keep in a small pack too. But I completely understand about not wanting to take the kitchen sink along- my options are far from that camp in reality though. My other project is to get the same HDD to work with my wife's iPad via the CCK (camera connection kit). We've had a car stereo for years which accepts direct digital input from various iDevices when travelling. Very handy. Grabbing a simple speaker dock for hotel rooms can be extremely useful though.

You make some fairly interesting and incorrect assumptions about audio quality. [Haven't heard the age argument in awhile, actually- that was amusing ;).] My experience differs remarkably. It's even possible for folks to notice improvement in sound on earbuds when you play back FLAC vs AAC MP3, let alone a decent rig. I'm not going to stop you from thinking otherwise though. Simple stereo separation (having portable speakers which can be separated) is one way to be able to enjoy the higher bitrate digital files available.

I think you may have been misinformed regarding what constitutes 'near CD quality'. FLAC/Apple Lossless/WAV are all lossless digital formats (higher bitrates) that do not take away anything from the original CD. FWIW, there is no way to rip a track at a higher bitrate/quality than the original CD. So technically (comparably lower bitrate) AAC MP3s are not CD quality, but usually suffice for most. Moving car/road noise certainly is capable of killing off quite a lot...

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In general I agree with you ...
by oterrya / May 21, 2013 2:14 PM PDT

My iPad is under 1.5# and I have no external hard drive. My little boombox is also fairly small the connection to the iPad is wireless (Bluetooth). The boombox will even last for six hours without being plugged in. You undoubtedly have a rig with better fidelity than mine but for use when travelling, I like the simplicity of what I have got and am willing to accept some compromises. When you said "laptop" above, I envisioned something the size of my portable workhorse with its 17 inch screen (it stays home -- I am not working on vacation) instead of the considerably smaller device you actually have. Certainly separate speakers would sound a bit better, but then I would have more pieces and probably some wires too.

The age thing is real -- I have never been to a loud concert or other really loud venue without good earplugs, but yet the highest frequency I can hear is now about a third of what it was when I was, say, in my early 20's. Even with my deteriorated hearing, I can detect a difference in sound quality between my old CDs and a lot of the newer ones. Since the odds on are that you are considerably younger than I, I am sure you can hear the difference better. The method I use for saving my tracks is virtually the same as the old CD specs. That is what I meant by "near CD quality" -- stuff that is old like me. Of course, even when ripping CDs into a format with the same specs, there is a slight loss. So be it. Also of course, ripping at a higher bit rate than the original does not improve anything -- it just means you lose less. Since I have a 64 Gig limit on my iPad I wanted something that would allow me to carry virtually all my best music and not have to swap, ever. That also was behind my choice of formats.

I do not think we disagree on any of the technical stuff. Your method undoubtedly sounds better but mine better fits my purpose and desire just as yours fits better for you.

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Battery life is still my Achilles heel
by Pepe7 / May 22, 2013 1:34 AM PDT

I wish I could get more than a couple of hours out of my setup when travelling Sad

Keep in mind that contrary to what you have been told (or perhaps you aren't explaining yourself clearly?), when ripping to a lossless format it sounds identical to the CD. It's a bit for bit copy. In this sense, "it just means you lose less", is not accurate.

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Bane and Bessing
by oterrya / May 22, 2013 7:55 AM PDT

Batteries are both the bane and blessing of our existence. I can get about six, maybe seven hours out of the boombox without plugging it in but the iPad will go for a day or two if I only play music with it. The boombox sounds OK, not fantastic but OK. I normally plug in at least the boombox, the iPad too if I am not using it for something else. The combo works also good at home on my back deck. I have not yet found outdoor speakers such that I like the sound enough to buy them and connect them to my music system.

As to the "lose less" statement, I see your point but beg to differ. Isn't losing nothing losing less than losing something? (My wife would hate me for saying that -- she claims it is a technically inaccurate statement. Oh well.)

BTW, I am a graduate Electrical Engineer with an Acoustic/Sound sub-study and have been working in Sound as a hobby for over 60 years (since I was a pre-teen) and running a theater like group in a semi-pro fashion now for almost 20 years -- it is for a Fraternal organization on a volunteer basis. We have a very nice professional quality set-up to support our organization.

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Are you arguing over semantics, or...
by Pepe7 / May 23, 2013 5:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Bane and Bessing

...over what's actually involved when you compare sound from CD tracks played back from the actual disc vs FLAC/WAV/lossless equivalents? Your experience & degree should help prove your point. I am all ears....

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Just having some fun ...
by oterrya / May 23, 2013 2:50 PM PDT

I suspect you know this but, ...

There are over two dozen lossless formats that have been documented. Half of these are now noted for posterity only and are not in known use. Of the remainder, several do not currently have hardware/software support and there are probably three that are probably in the widest usage (FLAC, ALAC and WavPack). These three range from about 56% to 57% compression (lower being better). FLAC is probably the most flexible as it is not tied to any specific manufacturer. If I were to use lossless, it would probably be ALAC because of my iPad and iPhone.

When converting an Audio CD to a lossless format, one might argue that there is some "loss" just because the formats are different. This demonstrably true since in general it takes an additional CUE file to reproduce an exact replica of the original Audio CD. I would not believe anyone who said they could hear the difference between the lossless file and the original CD however. Lossless is termed lossless because it does not lose any of the audio frequencies on a CD but yet it manages to reduce the size of the file needed to store the music data by almost half.

Supposedly, you can convert one lossless format to another with no deterioration whatsoever. I will make no comment since I do not know the composition, even in general terms, of all of the algorithms involved and their differences.

Again, I do not think we are really disagreeing about anything.

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It sounds like we are on the same page
by Pepe7 / May 23, 2013 3:07 PM PDT

FWIW, I have converted tracks between some of the various lossless formats. The only difference I noticed was when converting to ALAC it seemed to be a much slower process.
Audio quality sounded identical.

Since I use a lot of different types of AV devices and prefer to not use iTunes, that's primarily why I have stuck w/ FLAC. With the CCK working now on the iPad, and cloud storage/wireless bandwidth improving every day, I will hopefully be OK continuing w/ FLAC.
Wish they would sort out their issue w/ cover art though ;(.

cheers

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Re: outdoor speakers
by Pepe7 / May 23, 2013 5:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Bane and Bessing

(Forgot to comment on the outdoor speakers...)

If your outdoor space is mostly open (e.g. speakers mounted behind deck/along the top rear portion of a house) you don't have to worry much about the brand within reason, since most of the sound will be travelling and not reflecting anyway. It's mostly a matter of if you can swivel/tilt the speakers to better adjust the sound to the nearby listeners/space. If the deck is partially enclosed, that's the case where I tend to notice more sonic differences between speaker brands/types. My last pair of outdoors in back were some waterproof Advents. They did the trick for not much $. Certainly nothing the audiophiles would be terribly excited about, of course Wink

Somewhat related, I normally discourage my friends/clients who set up HT systems from using in-wall speakers since you don't get the ability to point them to where the optimal sound needs to be focused in the space (etc.).

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Outdoor Speakers
by oterrya / May 23, 2013 3:03 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: outdoor speakers

I will look at them again this year ... but will probably do nothing. I do not play music on my deck (or in the back yard) enough to make it a worthwhile expense. If I do more often, then I will have some impetus to do something. Thanks for the input.

It is tough to do open areas. If you do too much, then you have to invite all of the neighbors to your parties so they do not complain.

We used to live just a few miles North of our State Fairgrounds. On a good(?) day, we could hear the auto races and the evening concerts all too well.

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Answer
both
by Icegeek / May 19, 2013 1:27 PM PDT
In reply to: advice

If you are confusing which one of the two just buy both. Grin

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And then ...
by oterrya / May 19, 2013 4:56 PM PDT
In reply to: both

... you would put both in your suitcase when you went on vacation? I would not! That is where I want to hear my music. Why have the other then? Or, do you just like to contribute to the well-being of others?

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