To Hans Wetzel,
My brother is very much into audio and quality music reproduction as I am. He has a nice NAD preamp and power amp with some very nice Mission speakers. But he has purchased mostly iTunes music over the years so he doesn't use his old Mission Cyrus dAD3 CD player anymore, which sounded really good back in the day.
I saw an Arcam drDock for Apple's iDevices. It looks quite good and has an internal digital-to-analog converter as well, so it apparently bypasses the DAC in the iPhone for better sound. Are you familiar with the Arcam drDock? He doesn't want to spend a fortune anymore on hi-fi as he has kids and other priorities, but he still loves good sound if he hears it and doesn't want generic, bland-sounding music coming from his good two-channel home stereo. Would this Arcam drDock be a good choice? Are there any other iPod docks that you think are excellent choices? Any info or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
I don't have much experience with the iPod docks out there, but I do know that Arcam makes terrific, high-value gear. They have some talented engineers on staff, and I would not hesitate to recommend their products. In fact, I'm purchasing their new irDAC, which offers very high performance, as my reference standalone DAC. Your brother could start with a drDock, or the newer rDock-uni (which appears to be the model with the built-in DAC you reference), and if he ever wanted to, could interface that with something like the irDAC to have stupendous sound -- even from his compressed iTunes-based music library. Another option, albeit a more expensive one, would be to just grab the irDAC from the get-go. It features a USB input specifically designed to tap into something like an iPod's or iPhone's digital outputs. While over twice the price of Arcam's docks, it offers performance far beyond its asking price of $699. I guess the question is how much you love your brother. . . . Hans Wetzel