Video: Wadia 170iTransport iPod® Dock
Dave Bar worked for Crutchfield from 1981 until his retirement in 2016. After a 23-year stint in the sales department, he joined the home A/V writing staff. Dave's expertise and good humor will be sorely missed.
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Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.
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Learn about the coolest features of Wadia's 170iTransport iPod dock, including its ability to bypass an iPod's digital-to-analog converter, or "DAC."
Dave: Hi, I'm Dave.
Ralph: And I'm Ralph, and we're here today in the Crutchfield studios to talk about the Wadia 170iTransport. Now here at Crutchfield I write about iPods, MP3 players, and other portable electronic devices.
Dave: And I write about home theater equipment and home audio gear.
Ralph: But with the iTransport we have a device that we can both get excited about, particularly after seeing it in action.
Dave: That's right. Wadia dropped by recently to show us this cool and unique iPod® dock. Now for those who don't know, Wadia is a company that's really known for building extreme high end audio components, so it was especially interesting to get their take on something like an iPod dock.
Ralph: Right. Well here's the thing. Inside of every iPod is a digital-to-analog converter or DAC, and that's the circuitry that takes the song files and converts them to an analog signal for the headphone jack and so you can listen to it on your earbud headphones. It's designed to be portable for a portable device and it does a very good job at what it's designed for. What some people have discovered, however, is when they plug their iPod into their home audio system, that the shortcomings of that DAC are, become readily apparent, and that can be a real problem.
Dave: Right. It can result in somewhat disappointing sound quality. So Wadia solves that problem by allowing you to bypass the DAC that's built into the iPod and send that pure digital bitstream information via the coaxial digital output and included cable into the DAC inside your home theater receiver for much higher-quality sound. And so, you know, that's what I really love about this particular dock is that probably for the first time it allows you to use your DAC as a true — er, your iPod as a true high-quality home audio component.
Ralph: Indeed. And the thing is, Wadia worked with Apple to develop this. They're the only company that has a dock that bypasses iPod's DAC.
Dave: That's right.
Ralph: Now sound, sound quality depends on size of files you have sometimes, so when Wadia came by they invited us to bring our own iPods with our own music, and so we really put it through the test. We had WAV files and Apple Lossless files, and all kinds of MP3 files including some really nasty super-compressed 128 KBPS sound files as well. We played them all through the Wadia iTransport into the receiver's DAC and I have to say I was really impressed with the audio results.
Dave: Oh it came through with flying colors. Yeah, the sound quality was most impressive.
Ralph: Indeed. And you know the thing is they also didn't stint on video quality. Most docks have an S-video output, which is okay. The iTransport does as well. But what it also has is a component video output which is a much higher-quality video output. Once again, in their demo, they had a iPod nano with a movie loaded on it and they plopped it into the dock and fired it up.
Dave: Right. Yeah and then they hooked it up using those component video outputs connected to a projection system that we have in our home training room.
Dave: And we had it projected on a big movie screen and even there the picture quality was crisp and clear. It was most impressive.
Ralph: Oh yeah, we were looking at a 480p resolution image, basically DVD quality, and, and that's what, that's what I saw.
Dave: Yeah, the picture and sound were, were impressive.
Dave: So if you can — the Wadia dock is a great device to use if want to really get the full benefits of the digital files, both music and video, stored on your iPod and play them back on a high-quality home theater or home audio system.
Ralph: Now if you'd like to learn more about the Wadia dock you can visit our website, crutchfield.com/170iTransport.
Dave: Or give us a call at 1-800-555-9408.