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Old 6th July 2005, 01:14 PM   #1
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Question iPod

Hi,

Is it possible to get a digital out signal [SPDIF or TOSLINK] from the iPod to connect to a Panasonic SAXR 10 digital input?
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Old 6th July 2005, 09:25 PM   #2
gmarsh is offline gmarsh  Canada
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The main PP5002 chip inside the iPod has a SPDIF output, but it's a BGA package and the particular ball is probably buried well underneath the chip and disconnected from everything..

I2S runs between the PP5002 and the DAC, so you could hook up a SPDIF transmitter chip from Crystal/TI/AKM/whoever and get a SPDIF output from that. But this involves adding an extra chip, a few extra passives and a connector inside the iPod - good luck making that fit..

Other digital players do have Toslink outputs - eg. the iRiver IHP-120.
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Old 7th July 2005, 08:28 AM   #3
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Hi Gmarsh

Thanks for the info. It sounds way too difficult for me to attempt. I was hoping that it would be possible via the docking plug/cable or some firewire to SPDIF/TOSLINK adaptor.
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Old 7th July 2005, 12:48 PM   #4
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The G4 iPod uses the PP 5020 which has the capability of being a USB host (something that is used in the iPod photo to allow it to download files from a camera.) There is no intrinsic reason why any G4 (photo or ordinary) iPod could not become a USB host and deliver digital sound to a generic USB sound output device via the dock connector. That it can't is simply a marketing choice by Apple. (As is preventing a non-photo G$ iPod downloading files from a camera.) It may be that they are acceding to pressure from the recording industry to make it hard to get digital audio out of the device without and DRM tags. Curious really since any Apple computer will do it, and indeed an Airport express will as well.

This is my single biggest beef with the iPod. There is no sensible reason why it should not be able to deliver output to a USB sound device.
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Old 7th July 2005, 01:19 PM   #5
gmarsh is offline gmarsh  Canada
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sensible reasons include...

- someone has to write the USB audio driver for the iPod and exhaustively test it.
- somoene else has to design a cable/connector/power supply/etc for providing a powered USB jack, and get all the molds/production/electronics manufacturing/etc going for manufacturing it.
- someone in marketing has to convince the general public that they need to buy a huge pile of crap that renders the iPod non-portable just so they can plug a USB soundcard into their iPod, and also explain to the general public exactly what a USB soundcard is.
- someone has to pay for marketing's advertising budget
- someone has to answer the phone when someone calls support asking why they can't plug their mouse into their iPod's new powered USB jack.

And all of this effort will be to promote something that you and maybe four other people will buy. Doesn't seem like a good idea somehow.

I wouldn't be surprised if the iPod linux folks figure out a way to do this, but as for a feature coming from Apple themselves, seriously now...


Quote:
Originally posted by Francis_Vaughan
The G4 iPod uses the PP 5020 which has the capability of being a USB host (something that is used in the iPod photo to allow it to download files from a camera.) There is no intrinsic reason why any G4 (photo or ordinary) iPod could not become a USB host and deliver digital sound to a generic USB sound output device via the dock connector. That it can't is simply a marketing choice by Apple. (As is preventing a non-photo G$ iPod downloading files from a camera.) It may be that they are acceding to pressure from the recording industry to make it hard to get digital audio out of the device without and DRM tags. Curious really since any Apple computer will do it, and indeed an Airport express will as well.

This is my single biggest beef with the iPod. There is no sensible reason why it should not be able to deliver output to a USB sound device.
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Old 7th July 2005, 01:46 PM   #6
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Actually it is not hard to do this at all. The adaptor plug exists - it is the camera adaptor Apple sells to allow you to connect the iPod to a camera - all it contains is a set of wires from the dock connector to the USB host plug, and a resistor that tells the iPod that this particular connector is attached. iPod dock plugs are actually dirt cheap. (I got 10 for $20.)

So, Apple have a plug, they have host driver code (for the camera download). It would be trivial to stuff the digital stream down the USB instead of the I2C.

As to the device you connect it to. How about a Headroom Bithead? Or for home use a large number of the other new Headroom headphone amps. Or you could connect it to the original version of the Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks. Or I could connect it to my M-Audio USB Audiophile, or the legion of new USB based DACs.

For something that simply needs the will to do this lack of functionality really is silly.

And yes, I have high hopes for the iPod Linux guys. I'm waiting for a stable build for the G4, then I might be tempted to simply migrate, almost as a protest. Unfortunately Portal Player make no internal documentation available, so everything is painfully reverse engineered - no small feat - and they have no USB support at all currently.
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Old 8th July 2005, 07:33 PM   #7
gmarsh is offline gmarsh  Canada
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So why doesn't Apple support USB mass storage devices in the iPod? I mean, the iPod does support master mode USB so you really should have the ability to plug a 600 gig external hard drive into the iPod and play mp3's from that, right? (and certainly there's a market for this, right... i mean, don't you wish you could carry your iSuitcase full of songs with you, to go with your iPod?)

It's Apple's hardware, it's Apple's software. It's their decision as to what they pay their software and hardware engineers to spend time on. Apple designs the iPod for people who take the plain iPod, plug in a set of headphones, load it up with music and carry only the bare unit with them. Even people using analog headphone amps are a rare breed.

And if they were worried that the iPod's audio quality wasn't that great and thus necessitating external USB audio devices... I'd figure they'd work on putting a better DAC into the iPod rather than spend money on an accessory that will have to be marketed with a theme of "so the DAC inside our unit sucks, abd that's why you need this extra accessory"...

bottom line: If you've got strange feature requests like this, then maybe you can look at another company's products.

(apologies for the rant, I'm a bitter hardware engineer with a vehement hatred of feature creep...)


Quote:
Originally posted by Francis_Vaughan
Actually it is not hard to do this at all. The adaptor plug exists - it is the camera adaptor Apple sells to allow you to connect the iPod to a camera - all it contains is a set of wires from the dock connector to the USB host plug, and a resistor that tells the iPod that this particular connector is attached. iPod dock plugs are actually dirt cheap. (I got 10 for $20.)

So, Apple have a plug, they have host driver code (for the camera download). It would be trivial to stuff the digital stream down the USB instead of the I2C.

As to the device you connect it to. How about a Headroom Bithead? Or for home use a large number of the other new Headroom headphone amps. Or you could connect it to the original version of the Harmon Kardon Sound Sticks. Or I could connect it to my M-Audio USB Audiophile, or the legion of new USB based DACs.

For something that simply needs the will to do this lack of functionality really is silly.

And yes, I have high hopes for the iPod Linux guys. I'm waiting for a stable build for the G4, then I might be tempted to simply migrate, almost as a protest. Unfortunately Portal Player make no internal documentation available, so everything is painfully reverse engineered - no small feat - and they have no USB support at all currently.
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Old 8th July 2005, 08:59 PM   #8
jleaman is offline jleaman  Belgium
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I'm Glad apple has not made lots of wigets and gadgets and plugs lights buttons on the ipod it is a perfect autio player and if you can listen to 60gigs of music in a sitting your insane.. 60gigs of music is alot of hours.. I think if you want a mass storage device id buy a computer a small forum of some sort and stuff a few 200giger hard drives in it.. Me i would never do that im the cd guy/ LP's..
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Old 8th July 2005, 09:01 PM   #9
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Old 13th July 2005, 05:09 PM   #10
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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(apologies for the rant, I'm a bitter hardware engineer with a vehement hatred of feature creep..)

Me too! About time someone added that comment to the mix. Things have been better since I got out of consumer audio a year or so ago!!

Finally I guess I would add that highly compressed audio like m4a and aac, etc just doesn't sound that good.. Great for a portable, but is this what you want for home use? I don't think so...

I love my iPod, but it sounds like cr*p, particularly with those awful earbuds apple sells it with. Compared to CD the loss of quality is quite audible even with cds ripped at the highest sampling rate to m4a..

Kevin
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