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back to article Cambridge Audio iD100 hi-fi dock

The Cambridge Audio iD100 is a dock with apparent delusions of grandeur. Brushed aluminium bodywork and a surfeit of serious connectivity signal a determination to squeeze every last drop of performance from any iOS device that comes its way.

 Clearly it takes the music on my iPod far more seriously than I do. Cambridge Audio …

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Anonymous Coward

"hifi dock" .... I was wondering why I would want to dock my hifi and then I realized that this is a dock of iThingies ... perhaps its an indication that Apple are about to declare that "dock" is now a word that is totally linked to iThingies to be followed up by cease and desist orders on Avonmouth, Immingham and Felixstowe!

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Anonymous Coward

"I was also struck by just how rounded my BBC podcasts sounded. Vocals are consistently warm and believable."

More hi-fi review woo. I have a range of great value oxygen-free copper cables you might like.

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WTF?

Errr ... 'woo'? No, it was a description.

Just because you wouldn't know your music from your sound or indeed how to achieve the former via technology doesn't mean you can be rude to those that do!

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Headmaster

It's an iDevice dock.

It goes from digital to digital and as far as I can tell it does no audio processing en route.

Please explain what "technology" you think is changing the quality of the sound passing through this device. Otherwise the previous poster is quite correct and that statement is purest woo.

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Anonymous Coward

What are the audible characteristics of a "warm and believable" sound? How does such a sound differ from a cool, implausible one? Describe what is meant by a "rounded" sound.

I'm all ears.

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Silver badge

>I'm all ears.

Should know a lot about sound, then!

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Are there not?

Do they only make these things for Apple stuff? I am never gonna buy an Apple device - sorry I just don't like all the lockins, culture, crazy fanboy shit, itunes, whatever - so it seems to mean that I am never gonna be able to dock my phone or mp3 player to anything.

What gives?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Are there not?

Philips is doing docks for Android phones:

http://www.reghardware.com/2011/09/01/philips_intros_fidelio_headphones/

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It's down to volume. All of Apple's devices have the same physical connector, so there's a huge market for accessories. The market for non-apple docks is much smaller, so the selection is tiny.

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Anonymous Coward

obsolescence

How long will this dock be able to accept newer iPods? Apple requires their micro IC to be installed to communicate with current products and they don't give much advance notice when they come out with a newer IC (speaking as someone that works with the hardware). Older micros are not always compatible with the latest/greatest, so does this unit provide an upgrade path for the next IC? I haven't bought one of these for my g.f. because I keep all of our music on an HDD connected to a media player. She'd like to run her iPod, but she constantly is upgrading due to bad batteries or dropping them.

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Thumb Down

Magical "HiFi" mark-up.

This is just a translator from the iPod connector to a selection of digital AV connectors using standard off-the-shelf components. What is the other £125 for?

The rubber feet and brushed aluminium paper weight that they're built into? Or is there something magical hiding in here that you forgot to mention?

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Digital outputs?

So the digital file, lets assume you're using apple lossless, is converted to Analogue by the ipod using whatever cheap D/A converter Apple were sourcing at the time. This is then passed over the dock connector into the dock where it is converted back to digital to be sent over a cable to your D/A converter to be converted back to analogue again.

I'm sure that helps improve the quality.

What exactly is in this dock apart from this pointless conversion that makes it worth £150? An ipod dock should simply be a passthru for the AV connections and a method of remote control.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Why do you think that the Apple DAC is involved at all?

It's taking the digital feed that would have gone to the Apple DAC, bypassing it completely and feeding instead to whatever HiFi grade converter you might have. That Apple connector has digital pins also you know.

High bit-rate AAC or lossless audio played back via a quality DAC, Amp and speakers is a treat easy to distinguish from jacking your iPod headphone socket into your amp.

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I didn't know the dock connector had digital outputs, in that case, what the hell is all the money for?

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FAIL

Meh

A ten quid cable adaptor with a 140 quid shiny shiny paperweight attached; OK maybe another tenner for the remote control, make that 130 quid paperweight.

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Bronze badge
Trollface

Composite video

Is analog video the new retro-tech that makes audiophile equipment sound better?

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Go

Analog video gives a heartier and crunchier picture

with an exquisite opalescence to the bright tones that are inevitably fulgurated by digital. You need to use an ion-balanced gold and spider-thread composite cable. Obviously.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting...

A quick poke around indicates that the ipad connector has no digital audio pins.

A second glance indicates that the use of the camera connection kit (usb version) allows the connection of usb sound cards.

So what we have here is a £150 usb audio device that only has a selection of (apparently based on the same protocol but with different physical layer) digital outputs and the input only works with iDevices.

Nice paper-weight, but I don't have an iPad/Pod/Touch, and this could probably be achieved for less.

As for sound quality, we'd love a review of your DAC and amplifier setup, but all digital sources are roughly equal.

Posted as anonymous as I'm too embarrassed to admit I spent time on this.

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Apple TV

If you have a Wi-Fi network and an amplifier with Toslink or HDMI input, it seems to me that the Apple TV is a far superior solution, and quite a bit cheaper too (currently £92 from El Reg's preferred online retailer). Once the network settings are configured, the Apple TV can be used as a "headless" AirPlay receiver, if desired.

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Happy

Cheaper alternative...

... but not as substantially built is the Pure i-20, about £80 from Amazon. Does the digital passthrough to your own DAC/amp with a digital input like this unit, and also has its own DAC and line outs for those of us without an amp with a digital input, but who want better sound than the iPod outputs through its dock connector analogue line out.

Bought one about a month ago and it makes a huge difference.

http://www.pure.com/products/product.asp?Product=VL-61429

http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Pure-Digital-i20/

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