Should an iPod dock be considered a standard component for a high-end audio system?

Stereophile's picture
Now that Krell has added one to its product lineup, should an iPod dock be considered a standard component for a high-end audio system?
Should an iPod dock be considered a standard component for a high-end audio system?
Yes, and I already have one
14% (35 votes)
Yes, I plan to add one
14% (36 votes)
Yes
15% (37 votes)
No
28% (71 votes)
Double No
30% (75 votes)
Total votes: 254
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Comments
Stephen Curling's picture

For the most part I'd have to say no. I'm assuming that most people use MP3 or AAC files on their iPods and that would not qualify for a high end audio system. However, if you encode your music as Apple Lossless (my personal choice) or other very high fidelity format then an iPod dock would be worthy of a high end audio system.

Ken's picture

Or an Airport Express hooked up to a high end DAC via the Toslink. And of course, compress with Apple Lossless.

Mike Agee's picture

Yes, as long as it doesn't degrade the sound of other sources. Being a birdwatcher, and listener (don't laugh, it's the most ancient music in the world yet is being passionately created live all around you every day . . . it helps to live outside the city though), I may never opt to close myself into a private acoustic when outside, but iPods should be granted their due as a legitimate source.

Chris's picture

Properly used, an iPod is just a compact storage unit for digital audio files (if recorded as AIFF or lossless). There need be no difference between an iPod used as a transport and an internal HD in a music server. So a dock is just a convenient digital connector.

Matthew Martin's picture

Analog out of iPod is very low quality. Until digital out is available, iPod is the furthest thing from high-end!

Epigmenio Alvarez's picture

Only if music is loaded in lossless compresion formats.

Max L's picture

Well, it doesn't cost enough, it isn't heavy enough, and it isn't glitzy enough, so those are three serious drawbacks and reasons for exclusion from a serious music system. Ah, but it does provide gobs and gobs of music. If it's the music that matters, the obvious answer then, is yes. If you're just an equipment whore, the answer is no.

Tom Lang's picture

It is easy to plug an MP3 player into the aux slot with the standard dock and cables.

John H's picture

What an oxymoronic product. It's like hiring a moving van to go pick up a newspaper and a bottle of soda. Every other computer compression scheme involves decompression on the back end. None needs it as much as MP3. That makes it a failed format. I can enjoy listening to MP3s in the background on my computer. For that purpose, I don't necessarily miss the 88% of information that's been removed from a 128 kbps song. If I had a portable player, I might feel the same way. If I didn't want better for foreground music, I wouldn't be an audiophile. Finally, the iPod is the most inexcusable of MP3 players. Apple’s proprietary implementation is a closed-loop system requiring Apple’s software and purchasing media from Apple. Unless you want one as a status symbol, the iPod is overpriced relative to the competition. Reviews say sound quality is ordinary; the iRiver players apparently sound much better. iPods have poor reliability, too.

Nodaker's picture

Ummm, no-no. And what about those that use a player other than an ipod? Should my portable cassette player be considered high-end? Should my radio on a rope be considered high-end (hey, I can plug it into my stereo)? How about my creative zen? You-all can consider them high-end if you want, but to me they are mobile devices to be used on the go. But others may see it differently, heck, others might actually watch a movie on one of those 2 inch screens, but not me.

Old Fashioned Audiophile's picture

Last I looked, Krell wasn't discontinuing their SACD players. The best thing about this from an audiophile standpoint is that kids can now plug their iPod into the KID and hear how much better a high end system is compared to the usual docking system, and also how much better a high end source is compared to the iPod.

Tom B.'s picture

Since an iPod is not a high end source component, there is no reason why it should become a standard component in a high end audio system.

Lasse's picture

But Apple should open iTunes for lossless downloading of songs.

Al Marcy's picture

Some would follow Krell into Hell ...

Brankin's picture

Sure, why not? If there is a market and people want and use them, what's the harm. Personally, I'll be dragged kicking and screaming into the Ipod world, just like I was for CDs. Just because I'm an old fuddy-duddy who plays albums doesn't mean others have to see it my way. Oh, and please send your dusty, scratchy old LPs to my attention after you digitize them - OK?

Douglas Bowker's picture

A possible component for a high-end audio system, just as a tuner or whatever. But it is far from necessary at this point; more nice to have (maybe). I just set up an Airport/laptop to outboard DAC in my system and the sound is certainly passable for entertainment or background music, but it's not posing any threat to my other front-end equipment. Plus, the whole iPod dock thing is getting into bed with one brand, not a format!

JK's picture

Because the Wolfson DAC and the rest of the signal path isn't anything to write home about.

Larry Elmer's picture

There is nothing high end about an IPod, and I own one...

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

Standard? No. But they aren't evil either. Sometimes you just want music around you, and when you aren't really listening they do just fine.

John Gossman's picture

Is this really an important question?

Justin Forbes's picture

While iPod with Apple Lossless is a fine source, I would much rather see DRM free flac sources widely available. Devices such as Slim Devices' Squeezebox are great middle grounds without forcing closed standards or lossy formats.

Russ's picture

What's high end about an iPod?

ED's picture

The sound from an iPod is inferior. The source must be of a minimum quality.

Jim Walker's picture

I plan to use my iPod device as a .WAV file server. The iPod dock should have a state-of-the-art D/A circuit, and use it rather than the low-end consumer circuit in the iPod.

dawn p's picture

As soon as it have enough storage for high-rez recordings.

Wayne Ashbery's picture

Mass storage of digital music is a reality. Comparision and evaluation of the quality of such compenents are a valid as a review of compact disc players was in 1985. Whether it is a dedicated music server PC, a Squeezebox, an Apple TV, or an iPod with a dock ing station, music enthusiasts will seek out the optimal means of reproducing their favorite tracks.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

Of course not. If Boeing starts selling something like that, with its name on it, would you consider it an airplane? It's not the brand name that matters. Or is it?

H.  Williams, Hollywood Hills's picture

Krell ought to be ashamed of itself for giving into a passing iPod craze. What's next? Eight track docks by Lamm?

noel's picture

Limited limped spectrum.

Macksman's picture

Because it seems to be a major player in the dumbing down of the American music consumer, because it definitely minimizes the importance of fidelity for the vast majority of it's users, because it seems to be driving the deconstruction of distribution systems and in spite of the fact that it can be successfully implemented into a high-end system, NO an iPod dock is no more a "standard component" than is multi-channel. Everyone that wants one should have, but none should be diminished for passing on the opportunity. Respectfully, I say that Krell is responding to a perceived opportunity and testing for a market, not driving a technological imperative. That's fine but it should be seen for what it is.

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