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Im trying to figure out how or whats the best sound from an iPod. i read about and try to understand all these different file types and bit rates but it gets kinda confusing. Id like to find a way to get the best of of the iPod be it if im able to download a higher bit rate closer to CD quality from another site or do i buy a different head unit to get the better sound or what? ive read about LOSSLESS and FRAC and alot of other ways but sounds like LOSSLESS is only for copying a CD to your iPod. After having my car broken into and all the CD's stolen and now with the iPod its alot easier to download these days even though SQ is very important to me. I know its not the same as CD but in a "i want it now" and the ease of the iPod id rather try and find better sound from it. i have my downloads on iPod PLUS and i think that gives me the best bit rate, something like 256kbps i think. i read about people goin to a different site and copying the music on higher rates, i guess its called FLAC or something, and then putting it on the iPod. does the sound make a difference if your have a headunit with USB compared to the old PIN that plugs inot the back or is that just a speed thing? I have 2 headunits, Panasonic CQ8803 and Pioneer DEH800PRS, neither have USB, both have the old PIN cable and intergration box. So would for example the Alpine 105, 9886 or Kenwood 693 sound better because of the USB connection compared to what i have? as far as i know the Pioneer has a 24bit BURR BROWN DAC but dont think it bypasses the DAC in the iPod. Or is that the key? any headunit that will bypass the iPod DAC will sound better? hope i explained myself well enuff. Just to let you know, the rest of my system is Pioneer PRS D4200 amp powering Pioneer C520PRS front, D520 in rear, Kicker 300.1 amp powering Boston G2 sub. just trying to get the most out of the system.
What it amounts to really, is convenience and capability, I think. As long as all your bitrates and file types are compatible with all your equipment, you're good, right ? If your ipod and headunit both recognize 320 bit AAC files, that's what you go for. If they only both recognize 128 bit mp3 files, you go for that. Whether or not you want to upgrade to the highest rate players is a choice. At least this is how I look at it. The Pioneer headunit should bypass the ipod DAC and use the burr brown.
Ok i understand about the iPod having a 320bit song and the headunit maybe only reading 128bit its obviously not gonna play the best sound. My thing is the USB plugs on the newer models. From what i can tell, the only decks that will bypass the iPod DAC and play the best sound are units that have the USB plug on them. Alpine CDA105, Kenwood 693X are 2 that say they will bypass the iPod DAC. the Alpine CDA 9887 and Pioneer DEH800PRS dont have USB plugs. Both use the AInet or IPBus system to plug into the head unit. So my thinking is the only way a headunit can read the higher bit rate AND bypass the iPod DAC is if it has a USB port on it.......again though i could be way off
Regarding file formats:
You are correct that FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) will prodice a better copy of an original than a lossy format such as mp3. FLAC files are going to be larger than files converted to lossy formats, but that is not really a big deal with storage being so cheap these days. There are other lossless formats, and other lossy formats (ogg) that are sonically superior to, but less well supported than mp3. FLAC and ogg also happen to be free and open source alternatives, if that is important to you.
The thing to remember is that when a file is converted using a lossy format, information is permanently removed from the file that can not be recovered. A higher bitrate mean less is lost, but the resulting file is larger. So, there is a balancing act between file size and sound quality when using lossy compression. Lossless conversion does not remove any information from the original, so the sound quality is superior, and the integrity of the original is maintained.
You can rip a file to a lossless format for archiving and use on a home system, for example, and then make lossy copies for use in your portable device. That way you have a pristine original. It does you no good to convert a file that was originally compressed to a lossy format (such as an mp3 that you may have downloaded) to a lossless format because the information lost during compression cannot be recovered.
Some portable music players will handle more formats than others. I rip all of my CD's and vinyl to FLAC; I have some ogg and a few mp3 files that I purchased and downloaded; I use a Cowon O2 to play them all in my vehicle.
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