What is the Algorythm Solo -dB?
d is for DAC – USB audio from computers and Apple devices. B is for Balanced – balanced output from source to amplifier. The Solo -dB is both a Digital to analog converter as well as a USB to SPDIF converter. You not only have the ability to use it as a free standing Dac but you can also use it to conver USB audio from either your Apple iDevice or Computer and output it via a COAX SPDIF output to your high end audio system.
How does it work?
The Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo –dB ® and AlgoRhythm Solo -R ® have a multilayer circuit board, a main processor, DAC and other components. It is essentially a small computer. The AlgoRhythm Solo –dB also works as a 24/192 DAC with Mac’s and PC’s. They communicate using Apple’s proprietary iPod Accessory Protocol (iAP) over USB. Authentication of the accessory to the iPod is performed using the Apple authentication coprocessor. Advanced software and the integrated processor control the decryption of the digital audio stream from the Apple device, then pass it to the on-board digital to analog converter for output to the analog output. You may used an external DAC via the SPIDF RCA jack, but your sound quality may degrade by comparison simply because the DAC built into the AlgoRhythm Solo is one of the best available. A headphone amplifier or home stereo amplifier is required. Do not attach headphones directly to the AlgoRhythm Solo’s line level output.
How do I connect to Apple Products?
Make sure to align the connection on the bottom of the iPod with the multi-pin metal connector located on the included synch to USB cable. Do not force the iPod connection or you may damage the multi-pin connector and damage your device. The USB end attaches to the AlgoRhythm Solo –dB or AlgoRhythm Solo -R. To remove the iPod, grasp the iPod and pull on the cable head.
Can I attach the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB to my computer’s USB port and hear 24/192 quality music?
Yes, direct USB connection to your computer is supported, using the supplied USB-A to USB-mini-B cable. Apple Mac® OS X 10.6.3 and above natively support the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB. Windows based PC’s require the Cypher Labs software driver. Download it from our website free of charge at http://www.cypherlabs.com After. installing the driver, or if using a Mac, attach the USB-A end of the cable to your computer and connect the USB mini-B end to the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB. Attach your headphone amplifier to the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB. Turn on the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB. Attach headphones to the headphone amplifier. Play music on the computer using iTunes or another player, particularly one that is capable of playing higher resolution files. You may need to select the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB as the default playback device in your computer’s audio settings.
Can I attach the AlgoRhythm Solo -R to my computer’s USB port and hear 24/192 quality music?
No, only to Apple devices. If you need dual source connectivity, purchase the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB
How do I connect to Apple Products?
Make sure to align the connection on the bottom of the iPod with the multi-pin metal connector located on the included synch to USB cable. Do not force the iPod connection or you may damage the multi-pin connector and damage your device. The USB end attaches to the AlgoRhythm Solo. To remove the iPod from the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo, grasp the iPod and pull on the cable head.
How do I make the analog connection?
Connect your chosen 1/8” (3.5mm) cable to the AlgoRhythm Solo –dB or AlgoRhythm Solo –R analog line-level output to the corresponding analog input on your headphone amplifier, other analog input device. Alternately, connect a 4 pin balanced male-to-male cable to the AlgoRhythm Solo –dB analog line-level output to the corresponding analog input on your headphone amplifier or other analog input device. Both analog and digital outputs work at the same time.
Make sure to align the connection on the bottom of the iPod with the multi-pin metal connector located on the included synch to USB cable. Do not force the iPod connection or you may damage the multi-pin connector and damage your device. The USB end attaches to the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB. To remove the iPod from the Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo -dB, grasp the iPod and pull on the cable head.
- Always make the connection in this order:
- Make sure the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB® is turned off
- Attach all cables, connect the USB cable to the
- Apple device and to the AlgoRhythm Solo
- Turn on the Apple devices, if not already on
- Turn on the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB®
How do I connect the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB to AC power?
Check to make sure that the power cord shipped with your AlgoRhythm Solo –dB has been manufactured
for operation at your AC line voltage or that you are using the proper plug adapter for your country. Damage caused by improper operation is not covered by Cypher Labs warranty.
How do I make the digital connection?
Connect your chosen cable from the S/PDIF Coaxial Digital Audio output on the AlgoRhythm Solo –dB
to the corresponding digital input on your Digital to Analog Converter, Digital A/V Receiver or Digital
Preamp/Processor. Both analog and digital outputs work at the same time.
How do I reset my iPod if it locks up?
iPod – Toggle the Hold switch on and off (slide it to Hold, then turn it off again). Press and hold the Menu and Select buttons until the Apple logo appears, about 6 to 10 seconds. You may need to repeat this step. iPod touch – Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time until you see the Apple logo.
Why should I keep my iPod firmware up to date?
Make sure that your iPod firmware is up to date. You can make sure that your iPod firmware is up to date when you sync your iPod with iTunes. Select “Check for Updates” in iTunes to make sure that you have the latest firmware.
How should I clean my product?
Use a dry polishing cloth or a free cloth to wipe the exterior only. Be careful not to use water or get any liquid inside the product. Solvents will damage the finish, do not use them.
What if the connection is not made after a few seconds?
When you dock your iPod, the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB first initiates a handshake with the iPod. Sometimes the cable connection is not complete or an application error has occurred on the iPod. Try restarting the iPod and try the connection again. Make sure you have attached your output cables to the correct input jack on your amplifier or DAC.
How come I can’t hear my music immediately when I dock my iPod?
When you dock your iPod, the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB first initiates a handshake with the iPod and the iPod verifies communication with the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB. Once the handshake has taken place, the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB has access to the audio stored on your Apple device and will stay synced until it is undocked. The communication usually takes just a second or two. You will note the charging symbol on the Apple Device indicates it is receiving power.
I want to play music without using an amplifier. Can I do that?
Not really. The analog line level output volume is not adjustable. The line level out is best used for delivering the audio stream to powered speakers or an amplifier, either a headphone amp or home amp.
How is the battery life of the iPod when using the AlgoRhythm Solo -dB?
As you know, batteries are ubiquitous and are long lasting these days, but power management is complex. Even Apple forums are filled with comments and questions about battery run times, life-span, etc. We all know that real world experience will vary from theoretical or laboratory data. At the end of this section, we’ve included some recommendations for getting the most out of your Apple and Cypher Labs batteries. When beginning with a fully charged iPod or iPhone you should expect to get over 14 hours of continuous play time, and at the end of the battery life your iPod or iPhone will still be fully charged. If you begin with a less than fully charged iPod or iPhone then play time will vary. The battery has a high capacity and recharges quickly. Apple Device model,
OS version, temperature, altitude, age, type of file used, device settings, etc. all impact power usage. Apple Device USB output processing requires more power since it does not allow the Apple Device to go into low power mode. This is overcome by providing a large capacity battery to charge the Apple Device while playing.
• Dual source input from either computers or Apple devices and input detection is automatic
• USB audio resolution up to 16/48 from Apple devices
• USB audio resolution on Mac (natively) or PC (with included driver) up to 24/192
• Larger capacity battery delivers long play time, up to 14 hours and charges Apple devices
• Fully balanced analog line-level output (4 pin)
• Single ended line-level analog output
• Digital S/PDIF output
• USB mini-A input allows input from computers (USB A to USB mini-B) or Apple devices (use our 30 pin to USB mini-a cable)
• Includes custom right angle 30 pin to mini sync cable for Apple devices
• Includes USB A to mini-B cable for computers
• Includes small USB female A to USB male mini-A adapter. Use with any standard 30 pin to USB A or Lightning to USB A sync cable
• Asynchronous USB audio conversion to analog for extremely low jitter
• High capacity lithium-polymer battery – isolated AC switching
• Volume gain settings optimized for all headphone types
• Fast re-charge time about 3.5 hours
• High end AKM 24 bit DAC model 4396
• Designed and assembled in the USA
- Outstanding DAC that ticks every box. Review by Bassgroove
Quality Price Value
When I got the Schiit Bifrost, it initially sounded like a little metallic sheen coated the sounds. After even 10 hours of burn in this faded and after thousands of hours the Schiit has been a great desktop DAC that feeds my custom built Icon Audio headphone amp into Ultrasone Edition 8s. I had no problems with this setup, it sounded great. It was the pinnacle of what my listening experience after years of tinkering with kit and swapping components.
I bought the CLAS -dB as a portable rig to go with an RX amp and iPod classic into the ultrasones and some CIEMs (Frogbeats C4). I thought it would be quite good, but didn't think my portable rig would get close to the listening experience my desktop rig provides.
I was wrong.
Right out of the box I could instantly hear a huge difference in the precision of timing from the CLAS. From my experience a good DAC should stop music sounding muddy and jittery simply by timing the flow of data well. Notes/sound waves begin and end when they should so they don't bleed into one another causing this boggy, muddy sound that I hate.
The Schiit does this well, but the CLAS -dB is simply stunning and worth every penny/cent.
In a phrase, the CLAS -dB is the single most impressive upgrade I have made for years.
On top of that, it is portable! Built to last generations, works with my Macbook, iPod, iPhone, etc.
I am confident that you'd enjoy this box both for portable and even for DESKTOP use! It is that good.
Pair it with a great amplifier and hear your music come back to life again.
Naturally, even being in the UK and shopping via Moon Audio in the US it is always a pleasure. Moon Audio take the stress out of buying stuff from the other side of the world and they know their stuff.
So, on all levels, great!
Thank guys. (Posted on 3/7/13)
- Great product Review by Rat fink
Quality Price Value
The great thing with it is, it constantly charges the ipod when switched on, meaning when the time comes to charge this very sweet sounding handful you just have two cables to plug in. No removing iPod 30 pin to put power to iPod.
The unit has a good finish and looks like it could take a good beating. Not that you would want to. It sounds great. I have had it for around six months. Setup is old iPod JH3a, algo. In the time I have had this unit, I don't think a day has gone by where I have not used it. It really changes the way you listen to music. You get great depth of sound. And now, I can hardly hear the wife. Winning. (Posted on 3/6/13)
- Amazing sound quality with iPad + mog.com Review by Jason Buberel
Quality Price Value
Strangely, the audio quality using the Cypher-provided drivers on a Windows PC is not as good (to my ears) compared to the purely digital output from the iPad. (Posted on 2/4/13)