I have a Yamaha Rx-V663 and and Ipod Touch. How do I make beautiful music happen?
What all do I need?
by John Cole| 70 Comments
This post is in: Science & Technology
I have a Yamaha Rx-V663 and and Ipod Touch. How do I make beautiful music happen?
What all do I need?
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"The Made for iPod logo indicates that the product is equipped to use an optional Yamaha Universal iPod Dock that lets you connect your iPod to this product."
Sounds like you need the optional iPod dock.
Put a Kerker exhaust on the Yamaha and go through tunnels in the lowest gear possible. Oh, it’s a receiver. Never mind.
I have used a standard mini-plug to RCA splitter attached to the iPod dock or headphone jack. It sounds really good to me.
If you want to get really fancy, attach the same thing or – what I now use – a Toslink to miniplug adapter to my Mac and the iPod to my Mac. Most soundcards and nearly all modern Macs have a Toslink compatible output jack.
wait..you want to play the music that’s on your ipod touch on your yamaha receiver (and through your stereo speakers)? is that what you mean?
if so, then you get a Y cable. One end has 1 male nub, 1/4" rca type connector. You put this into the headphone outlet on the ipod. The other end has 2 male rca type connectors (typically one red and one black) that you plug into the back of your yamaha.
or did you want to make your own music?
Gold Star for Robot Boy
the yamaha dock looks like the way to go.
"The Made for iPod logo indicates that the product is equipped to use an optional Yamaha Universal iPod Dock that lets you connect your iPod to this product. With the optional dock you can listen to your music and operate the iPod via the product’s remote control while at the same time charging the battery on your iPod. Depending on your product’s specifications, some will allow you to use the On-Screen Display feature on your video monitor to navigate your music. Some products can even allow you to view your photos and movies from your iPod on your video monitor (view the Specifications of each product for iPod playback compatibility)…"
Pricey but very fun:
DLO HomeDock HD.
For less money there’s the HomeDock Deluxe.
Both offer colorful, on-your-TV-screen interactive controls.
What Will said. All those inputs and outputs, you need some speakers.
Tell us you aren’t using 64kb mp3 formats.
@srv: Yamaha keeps a few tricks up their sleeves to help out people with low rez music.
I walked 47 miles of barbed wire,
Used a cobra snake for a neck tie.
Got a brand new house on the roadside,
Made out of rattlesnake hide.
I got a brand new chimney made on top,
Made out of human skulls…
Oh no, you definitely do not want to listen to MP3 files through real speakers. It’s one thing to have those nasty little ear bud pressed against your ear canals for listening to MP3 music (and Countdown podcasts) while you do Important Things. However, for sitting and listening through real speakers, you want some other file format. I rip my CDs into FLAC format using Exact Audio Copy (shareware) and send them to a Logitech Squeezebox which is attached to my receiver/amplifier. I can also play my iTunes MP3 files through the Squeezebox, but they sound really flat and tinny compared to their FLAC equivalents. There are more expensive solutions, but I’m happy with this set up.
Definitely use a dock. You want to bypass the crappy amplifier that feeds the headphone jack on the iPod.
If you’re in the mood to dump about 800 bucks, get a Wadia iTransport (the only dock that also bypasses the iPod’s equally crappy digital to analog converter) and a decent external DAC. A lot of people seem to like the new Cambridge Audio DAC Magic.
Rather than physically connecting the iPod to the receiver, consider instead wirelessly connecting iTunes to the receiver with an Apple Airport Express. This will let you play all of the music in your iTunes library, not just what fits on the iPod. And you can use the iPod to remotely control iTunes with the slick Apple Remote iPhone/iPod application from the App Store.
Some form of iPod dock-based solution is the way to go, either Apple’s remote/dock solution or some other 3rd party dock. A friend of mine is an audio engineer at Apple, and while I dont pretend to understand the specifics, he assures me that you get higher-fidelity audio output when routing audio via the dock connector.
An important gotcha to look out for is, should you decide to go with a dock based solution, that the dock in question is compatible with the iPod touch. Many older products do not support the iPod touch, or only support it partially. I had a nice remote/dock set where the included remote allowed navigation of the iPod content and playlists and displayed song info, but when I upgraded to the 32GB Touch, it was incompatible. When I went looking for a clock radio that worked with the Touch, I had the same problem, with many existing products not supporting the Touch.
For integration with my A/V receiver I ended up going with the Apple dock/remote set for awhile, and it worked perfectly, but I missed having the ability to navigate the iPod while listening to music. I tried a number of BlueTooth based transmitters, where audio would be streamed wirelessly from the iPod to a BlueTooth receiver attached to the A/V receive, but sound quality sucked. Then I tried this AudioEngine product: http://www.audioengineusa.com/aw2_home.php which uses a dedicated WiFi connection for streaming the audio wirelessly, and it works great. I’m very happy with it.
What Jbean said about the importance of having good files is absolutely true. if you’ve ripped your CDs to MP3, even at 320k, you’ve lost a ton of information. Apple Lossless, FLAC, or WMA at CD-quality resolution or better. Then get a big hard drive and a Squeezebox.
8th inch jack.
1.) I have very nice speakers- NHT’s.
2.) I have no earthly idea what quality all of my rips are. I put cd’s into my Apple while itunes is running, it imports them. I wouldn’t even begin to know where to look.
3.) I guess some form of a docking station is my best bet.
You need a 16 year old Guru nephew to handle all your stereo and computer issues. That’s what I use.
Try something like this if you want a really cheap solution.
There’s a few like it on the market, including Apple’s own universal dock. Basically you want to bypass the headphone jack which sends out a variable signal based on the volume of the iPod and get the line out signal sent through the dock connector.
The advantage to the Yamaha dock is that the Yamaha remote will drive the iPod, which is a very nice feature. Alternately you can look for a dock with it’s own remote interface and just add it to a universal remote. The latter is a bit more flexible since you can use it with any speakers, but it involves yet another remote interface. The HomeDock is indeed very nice if you don’t mind dropping a few more bucks.
This is an overly simplistic answer. There’s no way you can normally tell the difference between 320K MP3 or the iTunes Plus 256K AAC and FLAC or Apple Lossless, but FLAC is goddamn huge for not much benefit. I agree that low quality MP3 sounds like crap, but nobody is forcing you to use low quality MP3.
FLAC will cost about 10MB per minute, so an 8GB touch can hold about 800 minutes of music, or about 18 CDs worth. Fine for your main archive on a cheap TB drive that you might want to transcode into AAC, etc. but just dumb for storing on a portable device.
If you have an iPod and want to have your collection handy and in digital form, encode in Apple Lossless to the TB drive and transcode those to 256K AAC for the portable. If you ever want to transcode to a different format/bitrate, you can do it from the lossless format with no problem.
@John Cole: 2. Um, Right-Click (or whatever the hell it is with Crapples) and select "show in Windows Explorer( or whatever…)".
iTunes menu, click "Preferences," then click on "General" at the top of the Preferences window. You will see a button labeled "Import Settings." If you choose Apple Lossless, your files will automatically have the same resolution as the source file (44.1 kHz/16 bit in the case of CDs). And check the "use error correction" box.
YMMV, but I can hear a difference between 320k MP3s and 44.1/16 Apple Lossless files.
And if you go better than CD resolution (I have a lot of 96/24 files, either downloads from Linn Records or HDTracks, or rips from vinyl), the difference is not subtle at all.
Depends on the iPod. The previous generation shuffle had an audiophile on the design team and has a very good DAC in it. Not sure if it carried over to the current one, but the previous shuffle was the best fidelity iPod in the lineup, ironically enough.
I miss the days of putting a piece of vinyl on the turntable and cranking up the receiver to listen to what was coming out of the speakers (Marantz, prolly, if you had money, something else if you didn’t). It’s wonderful to have hours of music on a little sliver of plastic and metal, but figuring out how to get good sound out of it is just too frigging complicated.
Get off my lawn.
Correct. The Wolfson DAC in the 4th-generation iPod was a good piece of gear. Alas, it cost about $3.00, and became a victim of the need to drive the price down with each successive iteration.
A talented girl?
You need to reconfigure your Kindle to your iMac in a manner consistent with your PC’s ability to Twitter an IM using your WiFi connection therein.
Or read the damn manual.
Amen. I swore I wasn’t going to do it, but I went back to vinyl. It is astonishing how good the current entry-level turntables, cartridges, and phonostages are. Six hundred bucks worth of vinyl gear trumps any $2000 CD player I’ve ever heard.
To serve music around the house, I use Audacity to rip to 96/24 AIFF files, then use iTunes to transcode to Apple Lossless to save space on the server. For stuff that I want on the iPod, I transcode a second copy at 48/24 (which seems to be the highest resolution that current iPods will accept).
I currently have 78 albums (plus the most recent episodes of "24" and "Friday Night Lights") on my 32 gig iPod touch. That’s enough for any business trip. When I get bored with what’s on there, I empty and refill.
Woodrow "asim" Jarvis Hill
I’d agree, in part. I’ve not tested, so I don’t know for certain; I do know I can tell the difference between 192 and 320(VBR or CBR) MP3s on even a craptastic set of speakers.
So far as FLAC, note that FLAC isn’t even supported via iPod/iTunes; I have my recently-bought iPod (5G Video) running on (Ubuntu) Linux, which has a number of programs that auto-convert FLAC to MP3 or Apple’s Lossless format for me. That said, I personally am such an audiophile, and end up editing enough of my music (I’m also a dancer), that having my CDs rip to FLAC for editing is a win.
Ordinary folks, maybe not so much. But there’s also a point where, if you have enough hard drivve space, and an easy way to get it on your iPod, I don’t see where having the music in a lossless format hurts, either.
@Svensker: I have a Thorens turntable in my system. Don’t use it much but it’s there to be used. I believe Sony still makes them also — for DJs.
At risk of being banned for always going OT, but does this, if true, seem odd considering that there was a story recently , sorry don’t remember where, that marital issues were the only thing that mattered about ambassadorships?
If it involves some Nickelback, you’re already there man.
Depends on your needs. If it’s hooked up to a TV and sound system, the people I know who have iPod docks that show a user interface (and also videos, like movies) on the TV screen and which come with a remote you can control using the TV interface have a lot easier time of it. If you have a universal remote you can control it all together with one remote. That way if you watch videos or movies, you can do the normal stuff like a DVD player and pause or rewind, etc.
Again, that Yamaha helps improve the listenability of compressed music, so that low-rez files sound a bit better. If you notice.
I respectfully disagree about being able to tell the difference between MP3 and FLAC files. It is quite easy for a non-audiophile like me to tell the difference. It does probably depend on the sort of music you listen to. Clearly, if you like to listen to head banging music at volumes that make your ears bleed, MP3 is probably fine. However, if you enjoy the lushness of von Karajan driving the Berlin Philharmonic, you’re going to be happier with a lossless format. I use FLAC because I chose it more or less arbitrarily. Pick one of the other lossless formats, if you prefer. I have no idea what the advantages and disadvantages are, but I’m sure wikipedia would be happy to enlighten you.
When I have a new CD, I import it into iTunes (MP3) for the iPod and I rip a FLAC file for the Squeezebox. It means that I have two copies, but storage is cheap. I just bought a little fanless box to use as a music server and one of these days, I’ll get it set up….
If you just want to play the MP3 files directly from your iTouch, then get a dock. They’re cheap. A Belkin will set you back about $30 at Radio Shack.
Recently, I used my sons ipod. It made sitting in a chair having a root canal for two hours more bearable. I’m thinking about getting one. Can you download audio books on it?
How do you back up your stuff? The thought of potentially having to re-rip over 1,500 CDs in the event of a drive failure made me suicidal, so I went RAID 1.
Indeed you can download audiobooks. Go browse http://www.audible.com. Your public library has a selection to. Some libraries even let you download audiobooks over the internet (I have to go check out CDs at my backwoods library). You can also download boatloads of podcasts in every spoken language. I download Keith Olberman every night and listen while I walk the dogs. Audiobooks and podcasts help keep me going when I’m pulling weeds or cleaning house or doing other boring repetitive tasks.
I’m with Dave M. Sending the music wirelessly from your computer via iTunes requires only an Airport Express dingus– no routing or IP networking. And if you have Airfoil, you can send any audio from your computer e.g., play music from Pandora through your receiver. Since you’ve already got speakers and a receiver I won’t give you the rest of my unusually sage advice except parenthetically (get powered speakers and you don’t need any additional hardware).
@JL: @J Bean:
Yes. There’s a lot of spoken audio you can download from iTunes, including books. I do Maher’s show, some ESPN shows, some NPR shows, and 60 Minutes, among others. I love to listen to Maher in airports and watch people look at me like I’m weird or something for occasionally breaking out in laughter.
i have the same amp. i put all my music on a network file server and hooked a laptop running iTunes (and WiFi) up to the receiver through the headphone jack on the laptop.
i’m writing this from that laptop, in fact.
I’m going to pimp for The Coalition of Independent Record Stores’ download site (click on Think Indie). They offer 320kb mp3 downloads for a little over a buck, and buying from them helps keep local record stores in business Local record stores help local music scenes immensely. CIRS also has songs that you can’t get anywhere else, and they’re about as hi-fi as MP3’s get.
@burnspbesq: So tell me the status of vinyl ripping to PC. Are there USB or HMDI or some such solution?
I want to go vinyl, but it’s just all insanely expensive. Let’s say I have ~2K for table, tonearm and cables. What kind of phono pre-amp do I need?
@J Bean: The thing is, John is probably like all the kids today. All that time in tanks, he’s probably happy with 8bit audio.
I can’t believe the crap kids listen to today – not the bands, but the actual recordings. That and dynamic range compression… Crap, they’re probably even mastering vinyl that way also.
Guess I have to become a tape head.
Polish the Guillotines
@Dennis-SGMM: Bo Diddly for the win.
I’m not that sophisticated. I just back up onto a removable hard drive. Someday I want to set up a whole house network with a linux firewall and all the whistles and bells, but the day job gets in the way.
If you are a Mac user, just get the Airport dingus. A newish PC may also be compatible. If you are a Linux user like me, you need the Squeezebox which is dead easy to install (a flaw not a feature to a Linux user).
@srv: No. I would rather not listen to music than listen to a shitty recording. Period.
Might be the Pinot Grigio laughing, but that was damn funny.
Edit: Not that I am mocking John’s military time! John, thank you for your service to our country.
It was just funny.
To the Pinot Grigio. Not to me.
You can get a nice Rega turntable for way under 2k. I’m using a P1 that I got for about $400. I don’t know about pre-amps because I’m still using receivers that have dedicated phono inputs.
Apropos of those downloading spoken word via iTunes: I love the BBC podcast "In These Times"–history, science, philosophy. Just fantastic. I highly recommend it.
First you’ll need musical talent…
I had to do a double take on that. At first I thought that you were saying that a two hour root canal was more tolerable than the music on your son’s ipod. That would be some bad music…
Will respond I’m detail when I get back to the computer-but the short answer is that with that budget you will have tons of options, and one or more of them will knock your socks off.
I feel old.
I have a Yamaha KX1200U single well tape deck that I paid almost $350 (floor model clearance) for back in the day.
I still use it, but only for copying cassettes to CD for both my self and for friends who own tapes that are long out of print and not available on CD.
At the time though it was one of the decks to have, and I got it for half of MSRP simply because I’d returned a lower end deck as inadequate and the sales guy sarcastically suggested that I might like the 1200U for the same price as the one I returned.
I said yes, and after threatening to bitch to his boss about backtracking on an offer, he sold it to me for $350, minus the dedicated remote control.
I didn’t mind that, but when I got home and examined the box’s contents, I found a duplicate (I owned a DSP-A700) Yamaha DSP A-700 remote.
The A 700 remote was a ‘universal’ one, that in addition to already being programmed to work all Yamaha equipment to that time, was a ‘learning’ remote and could control almost anything.
Frankly I made out like a bandit.
At the time I was living in my parents’ basement, and had room for the DSP amp, Carver M0.5t front channel power anp, NEC tuner, the KX1200U tape deck, 50′ rear projection TV, LaserDisc player, and the Klipsch Cornwall II/BIC Venturi surround sound speaker setup.
The only components I still own from that setup are the BIC’s and the Yamaha tape deck.
When I moved out, the Klipsch speakers were too large for the apartment I moved into, and the guy who bought them from me made me an offer for the Carver power amp and NEC tuner as well.
Nowadays my setup is powered by a Yamaha RX-V740 driving the front BIC Venturi V70’s with a Paradigm powered sub handling bass, a NHT shielded speaker for center channel, and two Polk outdoor speakers handling rear channel duties.
Though given the amount of hearing problems I have (permanent tinnitus and lack of sensitivity in the higher end), a Soundesign clock radio would probably work just as well for me. :)
@Laura W: I don’t know how loud an M-1A is, but hanging with the AF crowd, it’s like a Mr. MaGoo festival.
Ain’t tinnitus a bitch? I was a drummer in my 20’s and my ears have been ringing for 30 years. It sucks.
Even in the dead of winter I have to leave a small fan running in order to make enough background noise to mask it enough simply to fall asleep.
A prolonged period of dead silence would have me confessing to shooting Lincoln if that’s what it took to make the silence stop. :)
There are USB phono preamps out there – Pro-Ject and Bellari among others – but they tend to output to USB at CD resolution, and what’s the point of that?
I have a Rega P1 turntable, which comes with an Ortofon cartridge pre-installed, a Music Hall pa 1.2 phonostage, and a decent Audioquest cable that takes the signal from the phonostage to the "microphone" jack on my MacBook Pro (which doubles as a line-in jack). As I said above, that was a total of $600, and I am happy as a clam.
If I were going to spend more, the additional investment would skew heavily toward more cartridge. I am a firm adherent of the theory that any inaccuracies that get introduced at the beginning of the signal chain can never be fixed thereafter. It is also the case that cartridge design decisions have sonic consequences, so it’s important to listen to several and find the one that sounds best to you.
The websites of Stereophile and The Absolute Sound have lots of useful information, and their annual buyer’s guidee issues are probably in the magazine section of your local Borders or B&N right about now.
@burnspbesq: Thanks, I’ve read all the USB turntables are crap, but I just don’t have faith in the PC’s input side. Given the incredible performance I’ve seen from high-end USB driven headphone amps (over external cds), it just would seem the weakness is on the ADC side. If you’re laptop jack is sampling 16-bit….
Now if only this was in a pcmcia format, or a USB device.
I have an old CD boombox next to the bed. I’ve learned how to focus on the music (over the noise) so I can play it very quietly and I’m almost always asleep before the CD ends. Tinnitus mostly bothers me when I’m out in the middle of the woods or sitting by a lake and realize how negatively it’s interfering with the experience. Maybe someday they’ll find a cure…
I get audiobooks from audible.com. I listen on my iPod with headphones if I am on foot, and when I am in the car, I hook the iPod up to the stereo via the headphone jack.
Near as I can tell, the line-in jack on my MacBook Pro is completely analog. The sample rate and word size settings that I set in Audacity are what I end up with in iTunes at the end of the process. And my desktop system (Headroom Ultra Micro DAC and Ultra Micro Amp) can handle whatever comes down the USB cable with no drama.
Audacity is one bitchin’ piece of open-source software.
@gbear: lol, My son and I both like some of the same indie music so his ipod worked fine. He has a classic but I’m thinking about buying a nano although he wants me to buy a touch. I think he is hoping for some type of trade.
I use an Airport Express as part of a WDS network with its audio output plugged into the aux port on my stereo, and beam my music directly from iTunes running on my Macbook (and if you have a iPod Touch or iPhone you can control the playback with the iRemote app).
Kind of related, the Squeezebox is a pretty cool addition to a music system, especially if you listen to Pandora a lot.
Polish the Guillotines
Dude, that sucks. I’ve been playing drums since, like, forever. Fortunately, my father was a speech pathologist/audiologist, so I got the ear protection religion early.
I’ve had it since I was a kid and frankly my doc isn’t sure what the cause is, though it did worsen when I fired a .22 pistol without hearing protection in my early 20’s.
Silly me thought a .22 pistol wouldn’t be any worse without protection than a .22 rifle (from the shooter’s end, quieter than most firecrackers are these days) was.
No matter how damaged your hearing already is, fucking always use hearing protection with any firearm.
One thing about the tinnitus that sticks out was 15 years ago when a co-worker and I were discussing music and sound systems, he wanted to come over and hear my setup.
The first thing he did after I started playing a disc was to ask ‘May I’?
I said sure, and he dialed back the AudioControl EQ to the point the music sounded flat and lifeless to me and pronounced that I had a ‘bitching setup’ that sounded awesome and that he’d love to own.
At that point I began to realize just how much my tinnitus has deprived me over the years, because Chris was a talented musician (guitar player in a local band) and asked me why I’d screwed up such a decent home audio setup.
When I told him why, he was all apologetic but I told him not to worry as I knew I had hearing problems before inviting him over.
I didn’t tell him that he’d ‘brought it home’ in a manner that few people could have because I didn’t want to offend him or hurt his feelings and he had no way of knowing beforehand.
I can’t carry a tune in a sack, but I do love listening to good music.
HomeDock it, John:
Wile E. Quixote
About 95dbA ambient inside of the tank when you’re not firing any weapons. The last time I went in for a hearing test for the Army I did the thing where you sit in the booth and push the little button every time you hear a sound. When I got out the technician was looking at my results and asked "armor or artillery". I told him "armor" and he said, "yeah, you can always tell by the hearing test".
That being said I think that the people who extol the sound quality and clarity of vinyl over CDs are insane or ignorant. The physics of vinyl recording require that you discard huge amounts of information in order to produce a playable recording; as an example serious compression needs to be done on the low end because any high dynamic range transients can actually cause the needle of your turntable to skip out of the groove. You also have to deal with skips, pops, static crackling and a host of other annoyances that the CD eliminates. Admittedly there were early CDs that had absolutely atrocious sound compared to their LP counterparts, however the reason for this was generally that the CD had been produced from tapes that had had an RIAA equalization curve for vinyl applied to them. Playing back anything mastered with RIAA equalization without the proper processing is going to sound horrible. Once recording engineers got used to having a flat frequency response curve across the audible spectrum this problem was eliminated. There was also the fact that a lot of early CD players used overclocked 14 bit DACs instead of 16 bit DACs, which reduced linearity.
If you want a test of how much better CDs sound than LPs go find a CD copy of one of the RCA Living Stereo releases and a vinyl copy of the same recording and listen to both of them. The RCA Living Stereo recordings were a promotional series that RCA did to promote stereo in the late 1950s and since they were showcase items RCA went all out in the recording and mastering process. Even though these are 50 year old recordings they sound incredible on CD and in fact when SACD came out were some of the first recordings to be remastered. The LP versions of these recordings can’t even begin to compare.
All of this being said when I was building my stereo system a few years back I did purchase a Technics SL1200MkII turntable and a Shure cartridge because occasionally there is something very satisfying about going through the ritual of playing a vinyl LP. There’s also the fact that LPs had incredibly cool liner notes and jackets compared to CDs, one of the reasons that I’ve held on to my double gatefold release of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", Led Zeppelin’s "Physical Graffiti" with the cool record sleeve with the cutout windows and of course my copy of "Frampton Comes Alive" on gold vinyl.
If you buy the Yamaha optional ipod dock it puts the output through the sound expander and comes out really good. I get to use the 7 channel surround & it’s great.
I bought mine on e-bay for half price. It’s a no-brainer.
Well, I feel old. My main rig is an ancient Denon DP-45 turntable which I bought 25 years ago, running vintage vinyl through a Shure mx97xe cart and a homebuilt DC Darling tube amp and vintage ADS 2-way speakers with Peerless tweeters. Not expensive at all but sounds good to me which is what counts. I’ve never subscribed to the audionut philosophy of gold plated interconnects and oxygen free cables-a lot of my stuff is home made and/or tweaked using off the shelf bits and pieces. Nak bx-300 tape deck, Kenwood analog tuner, Sony cd changer, home made phono preamp, NAD 1155 preamp (which has a great phono stage), a home built Dynace ST35 clone, al of which gets swapped in and out depending upon my mood. No audiophile parts here-all my mods are done using stuff from Mouser or Digikey. My MP3 player is a iriver running rockbox and ogg files, which I hook up to the Darling with a simple patch cable. I would like to get modern and get a Squeezebox, but would probably get flustered by the remote-everything else uses knobs and dials which have to be turned by hand. I still look for vinyl wherever I can, obsolete media is a lot cheaper than CD’s.
Someone wanted to know about phono preamps-a NAD PP-2 would be a good simple preamp. Or hit Ebay for a used preamp that has a good working phono stage and tape record in/out jacks, and patch your turntable to your PC that way. A good soundcard helps quite a bit.