Onkyo, has recently released HF Player, and iPhone App which provides high quality audio playback for iOS devices.
Free functionality includes a 16,000-band FIR equaliser, with the ability to create and save your own presets to truly customise your music playback experience.
There’s also collection of built in EQ presets optimized by musicians for Onkyo headphones.
What’s more, an in-app purchase (£6.99/$9.99) also enables the Onkyo HF Player to playback high quality FLAC, DSD, WAV, AIFF and Ogg-Vorbis audio content at sample rates up to 192kHz, with 24-bit resolution!
Although not officially supported, 96 kHz and 192 kHz audio files can be output to a compatible USB audio interface using the Apple Camera Connection Kit for iPad. So iPad users can now use the Onkyo HF Player to enjoy listening to high resolution versions of their music library via their favourite class compliant interface too.
The in-app purchase also enables selectable up-sampling from 44.1 kHz to a possible 192 kHz, and it adds an HD phase-linear equalizer with an incredible 20,000 bands of adjustment in 64-bit mode. DSD-IFF and DSF formats are converted to PCM before playback.
Here’s a short video demonstrating what the powerful FIR equaliser is capable of:
There is a lot of interest in audio interfaces designed to get quality audio out of your iPad. I recently came across the Icon iDo audiophile USB audio interface DAC and headphone amp by Nuforce, which does exactly that.
Unlike many interfaces currently available, it comes with an iDock connector to Standard USB type A connector, allowing you to plug your iPad directly into the iDo. This this means you have an external audio interface without the need to use it with the Apple Camara Adapter kit (like most USB interfaces).
The iDo delivers audiophile grade CD quality 24-bit audio! Bypassing the DAC in your iPad, the iDo it’s own 24-bit DAC a special bit perfect – low jitter USB host mode at sample rates up to 48kHz. It bypasses the DAC inside your iPad (that usually send audio ou the headphone jack), instead ‘Bit Perfect’ digital audio is sent out down through your dock connector into the iDo where it’s converted to analogue and sent out of the high quality headphone or RCA output connection (to sent it off to your stereo em or powered speakers).
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s a co-axial digital output which you could use to send audio to your receiver/amp, if it has a digital coax connection.
A digitally controlled analogue volume control, gives accurate control over your volume, Nuforce’s rational for this is that digitally controlled volume also avoids channel tracking problems often associated with analogue volume pots, where volume can become unequal across two stereo tracks.
The iDo also has a built in headphone amplifier, accessible via a connector on the front of the unit. The headphone amplifier should provide enough power to drive the chunkiest, most power greedy headphones. The makers of the iDo quite rightly point out that this feature alone can improve the audio you hear in high quality headphones, as the iDo is capable of driving them at optimal operating range.
The Icon iDo also charges your iPad, iPhone or iTouch whilst it’s plugged in. So you won’t need to worry about sapping your iPad batteries whilst your enjoying listening to your music.
There’s also an ideal companion for the iDo. The Icon Amp, which takes the RCA analogue signal from the iDo and pumps it out of its 2 x 24w stereo speaker outputs.
Check out another short video by Nuforce featuring the Icon Amp:
Where to get one?
You can get hold of the Icon iDo in various colours (Black, Red, Blue and Silver) from Amazon.
If you want to improve the audio output of your iPad, iPhone or iPod. The iStreamer by High Resolution Technologies is a high quality USB DAC for iPad that will enable improved stereo audio output for your iOS device (16-bit at 33, 44.1 or48kHz). Connection can then be made to your stereo system amplifier or powered speakers.
There is no audio input support on the iStreamer. Instead everything has been concentrated on making a unit to provide a very high quality RCA stereo output. Which should make listening to your iTunes and movie library a real pleasure.
Unlike the ‘host’ type USB connector on most USB audio interfaces, the iStreamer has a USB connection capable of accommodating the USB socket that you’d usually plug into the wall charger or your computer. Meaning that you can plug it directly into your iOS device. There’s no need for the Apple camera adapter kit here!
Because it uses its own DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter)instead of the ones in your iPad, the iStreamer is said to significantly improve upon standard audio that comes from the iPhone or iPad headphone socket.
The unit comes packaged with an iOS dock lead (standard USB at one end and a dock connector at the other). It also comes with a cleaver power adapter that charges your iPad whilst the iStreamer unit is connected (a special USB to micro USB lead is provided to connect the iStreamer to the dual socket USB power supply). So listening to your music at higher quality won’t sap your battery power.
It also comes with a stereo RCA lead to connect to your stereo. It’s housed in a rugged metal casing (which as well as making it robust should also provide a level of protection from electromagnetic interference from other electrical equipment).
If your looking for a simple, compact, but high quality way to squeeze the most out of the audio on your iPhone, iTouch or iPad, then the iStreamer makes a great deal of sense.
It’s becoming particularly popular with applications such as in car stereo systems as well as part of entertainment systems on boats.