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NOS iPad music player with AES/EBU for big boy DAC's

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  • NOS iPad music player with AES/EBU for big boy DAC's

    This is a repeat of sorts, because I had this setup working years and years ago when I lived in Livermore, for my bedroom system- and now I wanted to set this up again. Of course, you can never go home, and sometimes things quite working... like the iPad 1 I used in it!


    The motivation is having a fast and friendly music selection here in San Ramon while most of my gear is in storage in Idaho- including my music server bits and pieces.

    This was originally used in a bedroom system with a Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC- which Steve Manning now has.
    This is the first DAC I ever heard that had imaging that was reminiscent of my vinyl setup from Colorado many years earlier.





    The key to putting this together originally, and resurrecting it now, is the Cambridge Audio ID100 dock.

    https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/usa/e.../archive/id100




    There wasn't any way to test this without a 30 pin pod, iPhone, or iPad, so I had to take this on faith that it probably still worked.


    The solution on the iPad side proved to be easier than I expected- there are a lot of "refurbished with new battery" iPads on eBay, the last model year with 30 pin connector and max'd out storage generally goes for about $100. The vendor I picked said they were delivered in Apple packaging. This was true, and in fact, given the packaging and the iPad were absolutely pristine, and the battery completely discharged, I suspect I got an NOS part- "New Old Stock".

    I spent a bit of time setting it up from scratch and NOT getting mail or other services working, so that it wouldn't use up storage space. I loaded up my iTunes setup on my iMac Pro with a variety of ripped CD files and some high res stuff, too, such as Jazz at the Pawnshop. I don't need my whole music collection, just a good sampling of things I currently want to listen to and use for demo's once I have some "real" speakers working here.

    One obvious problem right away was that I didn't have any of the rubber pads used to support different device types, and would have to come up with a solution to relieve the stress on the 30 pin connector...

    A little observation and experimentation, and I settled on the nice white coated phenolic board I like to use for building crossovers...


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    I ended up gluing the phenolic cut to size to the dock using marine epoxy... (in for a dime, in for a dollar)


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    The result was reasonably sturdy and steady...

    Next step was to hook it up to the system.... via AES/EBU- I'm sort of a stickler for pro balanced interconnections, whether analog or digital.


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    the AudioWorx
    Arvo Pärt
    Isiris MLBL
    Modula MT
    Natalie P
    M8ta
    Modula Neo D CC
    Ardent
    Modula MT XE
    Modula Xtreme
    Isiris
    Wavecor Ardent

    SMJ
    Minerva Monitor
    Calliope
    Ardent D

    In Development...
    Isiris Mk II updates
    Calliope CC
    Obi-Wan
    Saint-Saëns Symphonique
    Modula PWB
    Calliope CC Supreme


    Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
    Just ask Mr. Ohm....

  • #2
    The "system" is odds and ends of stuff that has been acquired since most of the good stuff was packed off to storage in Idaho two years ago...

    The speakers right now are just a pair of small REVA 2 Wharfdale's I'd picked up out of curiosity to test the LF alignment.

    The DAC is the Denafrips Terminator which I've written about before, and it's great for experimenting because it has multiple AES/EBU inputs, SPDIF, and three formats of I2S. It's a techno-dweeb's delight, and it sounds pretty dang good, especially since the firmware update last year. Like my TotalDAC D2 it's a discrete R2R ladder DAC with FPGA control circuitry, and with a massive power supply built in. It weighs more like a small power amp, and has more inputs than a lot of preamps and integrated amplifiers.

    The preamp is the Benchmark HPA4, which also drives headphones, and which JA at Stereophile said was the widest bandwidth, lowest distortion and lowest noise preamp he's ever tested. It is designed to work at Pro signal levels to optimize dynamic headroom and S/N. The touch screen front panel makes monitoring and some control functions easy to access while keeping the main controls simple, and yes, the display has brightness presets and a dim mode.

    Power amp is a Cambridge Audio Edge W; it uses their offset class A bias system like the earlier 840 and 850 models, so at moderate signal levels the output stage behaves like single ended Class A, but has a beefier internal architecture, circuitry, and heatsinks. I need to find some time to bench one of them some day. With it's input pass through XLR connectors, it's easy to setup for balanced mono block operation, by using a crossover XLR cable.


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    Yes, it makes tunes!

    No "critical listening" at this point yet, just functional checks! The next step will really be cheating, as once I get another AES/EBU cable, I will route the output through the Mutec MC3 re-clocker (just using it's internal clock- my Rubidium clocks are all in Idaho, too)


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    If this isn't putting a lot of lipstick on a piglet, I don't know what is!


    But it should do what I hope, quickly play a selection of different tracks I have loaded... without going through my boxes of CD's.
    Attached Files
    the AudioWorx
    Arvo Pärt
    Isiris MLBL
    Modula MT
    Natalie P
    M8ta
    Modula Neo D CC
    Ardent
    Modula MT XE
    Modula Xtreme
    Isiris
    Wavecor Ardent

    SMJ
    Minerva Monitor
    Calliope
    Ardent D

    In Development...
    Isiris Mk II updates
    Calliope CC
    Obi-Wan
    Saint-Saëns Symphonique
    Modula PWB
    Calliope CC Supreme


    Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
    Just ask Mr. Ohm....

    Comment


    • #3
      ha!
      leave it to you to cobble together spare parts just lying around and end with with a killer system!
      do you have a quick impression on those Wharfdale's that you might share with us?
      _


      Bill

      Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
      ....just an "ON" switch, Please!

      FinleyAudio

      Comment

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