How Can I Connect an iPhone to an Old AV Receiver?

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  Q Can you recommend an affordable device to connect an iPhone or iPod to an old AV receiver and still get good sound? — Stan Reed 

  A If you had you asked this question a few years ago, there would have been a bunch of high-quality iPod/iPhone docks I could recommend that do precisely what you’re looking for. Here’s what I mean by high-quality: The dock would bypass the iPod/iPhone’s digital-to-analog converter and feed audio data directly to its own built-in DAC for output via an analog stereo connection, or route it from a digital output to an external DAC (such as the one in your receiver).

  The pool of such devices right now is much more limited, though they do exist. Affordable? That’s another story. You can find Arcam’s rSeries drDock and rDock-uni (both $299) at The difference between the two is that the drDock has a 30-pin connector for plugging in an iPod or iPhone (up to model 4s), while the rDock-uni has a Lightning connector for use with newer iPhones (5 and 5c) and iPods (7th-gen Nano and 5th-gen Touch).

  If you’re using an iPhone or iPod Touch, another option would be to go wireless using Bluetooth. Mass Fidelity’s Relay ($249) is a high-quality Bluetooth DAC that can output either an analog stereo or digital signal. And if your receiver isn’t so old that it lacks HDMI or optical digital inputs, one more wireless option would be to hook up an Apple TV box and use Airplay to stream uncompressed audio to it from your iPhone.

robfol's picture

Greetings from London, I work with Arcam and hope you find this of interest.

Both Arcam rDocks contain serious high-performance DACs and Hi-Fi grade output stages, taking music in raw digital format and getting it to sound remarkably good. They can handle Phones, Pods and iPads, have solid alloy construction and simply cannot be beaten as the best way to get music from an iDevice. The Lightning rDock uni can also handle 30 pin iDevices via it's rear mounted USB input.

If you want Bluetooth? the Arcam $159 miniBlink and $249 rBlink both use Arcam's new Bluetooth front-end, professional de-jittering and quality DACs to deliver the best sound possible. The mini is portable, the rBlink adds digital out. Nice if you want wireless

utopianemo's picture

The arcam dock has me interested. My question is, how does it do for decoding different formats? I have converted all my music in which I value sound quality to ALAC files. I have noticed that on certain streaming devices(Roku, for example), Apple proprietary files aren't recognized and thus won't play.

Do the Arcam units recognize and decode formats such as FLAC, ALAC, and so on?

Joboso's picture

Why not use Apple Airport Express? It has optical output and you can stream wireless from iPhone to this router. It uses the native digital resolution of the iPhone; you cannot get better then that. OK it does not charge the iPhone .. but that is not worth the extra cash? And you get the remote for free (your iphone)

bigberts's picture

The simplest and cheapest connection would be a 3.5mm to rca cable from the headphone jack to a line in connection. For less than $5 this is the lowest cost connection possible and will have good (not perfect) sound quality. The old school analog connection will beat any bluetooth device you can integrate to your receiver.

If you want awesome sound with other remote connectivity, then there are many choices.