MSB promises ‘audiophile iPod’ with iLink | iLounge News


MSB promises ‘audiophile iPod’ with iLink


MSB Technology has announced the iLink, a new iPod docking system that aims to produce true CD-quality sound. To use the iLink, a fifth-generation iPod must be modified to bypass the DAC (digital-to-analog) converter, enabling bit-perfect CD quality digital audio output. Your music must also be encoded in the Apple lossless format.

“iLink is the world’s only iPod docking station that offers a true digital audio output,” the company says. “This is done by modifying the iPod to allow digital audio to be sent to the iLink and output via Toslink optical, coaxial or balanced AES/EBU format. With this output, audiophiles can transform their iPods into a high-end source and achieve sound reproduction on a par with a good CD transport.” The iLink also comes with an RF transmitter, and charges the iPod when docked.

The iLink system and iPod upgrade service are sold together for $1,995. The upgrade service for additional iPods is $199 each. You can also buy an iLink system and a new, upgraded 80GB iPod for $2,349.

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$2000 for a digital music player? I could buy a good small computer (mini ITX) and top of the line sound card for less than half of that.

I predict a total failure for this.

Posted by Dave on December 28, 2006 at 11:18 AM (CST)


Well for those who are sh***ing money, this is your gadget

Posted by doogle on December 28, 2006 at 11:31 AM (CST)


Dear iLounge editors, there appears to be a typo in this story. As it currently reads, the price for this product is $2000. Obviously this is an amusing (laughable) error.

Posted by urbanslaughter on December 28, 2006 at 11:36 AM (CST)


this must be targeted for audiophile with a lot of cash.

Posted by Oliver on December 28, 2006 at 11:36 AM (CST)


... and the $2000 doesn’t even include the media player.

Posted by Dave on December 28, 2006 at 1:03 PM (CST)


And remember folks, to take FULL ADVANTAGE of this offer, you must convert all of your CDs into the space-eating Apple Lossless format! Not only does this mean you wont be able to fit a small music collection on it, but you will more than likely need to purchase multiple iPods! But no need to worry at $350 / iPod plus $199 for every ADDITIONAL iPod, you may as well donate to charity instead!

Posted by fxspec06 on December 28, 2006 at 1:16 PM (CST)


What, you can’t spend more money to send the music through tube amps for that “warmer” sound or set the iPod on an anti-vibration dust-repelling table while wearing $300 white gloves? I think they losing out on the super-rich market by not offering even more ways to spend to get that perfect sound.

Posted by morebinky on December 28, 2006 at 1:54 PM (CST)


There may be a soliciation charge involved here. I mean, they ARE charging you to get screwed.

Posted by urbanslaughter on December 28, 2006 at 2:34 PM (CST)


For those without the extra cash on hand, I would think that online services would go to higher bitrate music fairly soon given that HD movies are coming soon to download services.

Posted by Jeremy on December 28, 2006 at 2:43 PM (CST)


as an added bonus, it’s butt ugly.

Posted by mrmojorisingi on December 28, 2006 at 2:50 PM (CST)


Look on the bright side… if there’s a market for highly over-priced, niche-market, useless devices, then the economy must be doing great!!!

Posted by Cellulose on December 28, 2006 at 3:22 PM (CST)


You can’t get cd quality from compressed audio.

Posted by shickashicka on December 28, 2006 at 3:31 PM (CST)


Audiophile, when used by a company, is generally a buzzword for “snake oil.”  People love to fool themselves into thinking that can or - if they have spent a fortune - can’t hear something in their audio.  Most “audiophiles” I have met fail blind tests.  I once knew a guy who SWORE that his $2000 silver speaker wire made his cd player sound better.  His friends blindfolded him, hooked his two mains up with coat hangers and switched between the two.  They never told him what they were using.  Almost 90% of the time he picked the coat hangers as the superior sound, swearing it was his expensive braided silver every time.

This dock sounds like it might…MIGHT actually be doing something, but nothing you can’t emulate for about 20 bucks and the cost of a Sik cable…

The key to great portable audio without spending a fortune - experiment with the best headphones you can afford until you find the ones that best match your ears.  Buy the best audio player you can afford.  Use lossless if you can afford the space, or be careful when you encode and go for quality, not size.  Maybe - MAYBE - use a portable headphone amp, but never a Boostaroo.  After that?  Be happy with what you have.  Save the high-end stuff for a non-portable solution.

Posted by stark23x on December 28, 2006 at 3:31 PM (CST)


shickashicka- correct. That’s why the article says you must use Apple Lossless format - that is, not compressed audio.

Posted by dodo on December 28, 2006 at 3:55 PM (CST)


i work with MSB. i am not here to sell you on this product, but i want to clear up some misconceptions.

almost all sound cards have a clock designed for flexibility, not bit-perfect data. it uses algorithms to adjust its sampling frequency and in doing so creates jitter in the signal which you can hear with a good sound system. that is why you can’t simply buy an audio computer for cheap and recreate this product.

this product is not for people so deaf that they can’t tell the difference between coat hangers and speaker cables. i hope you’re kidding and not saying that the years and millions of dollars in testing and research put in by companies like Kimber and Monster and others can be negated by a coathanger.

this product is also not for people who think bose makes great systems (sorry, bose) or that apple’s hi-fi system is the best sound available (great product for its price, i’ve heard). it’s for audiophiles. people who really, actually, know what a nice sound system sounds like. just because you haven’t taken the time to understand the tech behind a product doesn’t mean you can simply write if off as “snake oil.” it’s offensive to the company i work for, and it’s ignorant as well.

AIFF, or apple lossless, uses about half the memory of a WAV file. so it’s compressed, but it’s not lossy.

the product looks nothing like the pic. it was something we threw together when putting up the website. we’re all about sound, not looks. the product will be available at the beginning of next week so we’ll post actual pics then.

we’ll be showing in the venetian suites (with the rest of the reference audio people) during CES. please visit if you’re in the neighborhood. i guess you have to hear this thing to believe it.

Posted by Curtis on December 28, 2006 at 5:48 PM (CST)


whatever you say… whoever you are or whereever you present your product… 2000 dollars for something that hooks up to an iPod is waaaaaaaaaaay out of the ball park. I hope you realise that your market will always be limited. Why would I really spend $2000 on an iPod system which is not even really portable (because if you have that dock you also need some pretty great speakers which are big, not portable) when I can upgrade my home system with some new hi-fi components. And that will really sound great. Get real

Posted by Just me on December 28, 2006 at 5:57 PM (CST)


we understand it’s a limited market. look, we sell a pair of amps for 15k. we sell a cd player for 10k. a digital to analog converter for 10k. we’ve been doing this for over 20 years.

and quite a few people buy our products. why? because they’re amazing from design to production and worth every penny.

as i said previously, this is not for people looking for better sound for their ipod. we don’t expect people to spend thousands on a back end just because they want a new trendy item. this is for people who have already spent the money on their hi-fi system and want a convenient source that offers bit-perfect data.

Posted by Curtis on December 28, 2006 at 6:20 PM (CST)


Thanks Curtis for clearing this up.
I wish when people read these sort of news stories they would remember that they are not the target audience. These sorts of devices are for the sorts of people who actually enjoy LISTENING to music properly, and not the run of the mill iPod user who loves how cool the white crappy ear-buds look.
There are people who can hear jitter, and who desire bit-perfect representation of their music. To be honest if your music is ripped as Lossless then you probably already own the CD, in which case an audiophile CD player would probably a wiser purchase. But just because this is a niche product doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Anyone who insists that it is is a cloth-eared moron, and I would advise such a person to educate themselves a bit before the pass judgement.

Posted by stadidas on December 28, 2006 at 6:35 PM (CST)


When I first got my iPod, I tested the sound quality. I took the line out from the dock and patched it into a preamp and level matched it to the output of my home CD player. I played an AIFF rip on the iPod and the original CD in the CD player… no audible difference.

If the iPod had a lousy DAC, direct digital out might be needed, but that isn’t the case. The Wolfson DAC in the iPod is the equal of the DACs in home CD players.

This product is purely for people who listen with specs on a chart and not their own ears. It’s a waste of money.

See ya

Posted by Stephen Worth on December 28, 2006 at 6:41 PM (CST)


Bit perfect output is important if you are trying to resolve multichannel sound. In a portable audio player designed to be listened to with headphones, it’s as necessary as teats on a bull hog.

See ya

Posted by Stephen Worth on December 28, 2006 at 6:45 PM (CST)

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