Two helpful denizens of this site (Justin and Barrow) suggested a number of music players I should try now that I've got the basic set up working. I wanted to try BitPerfect but I have a problem with the Apple Store (I forgot my user name and password) so I decided to take a look at PureMusic. The download went smoothly which is always a plus and it came up just fine. Pushed play and... nothing. Oops. So per Justin I read the manual. Ahhh. Have to set the output in PureMusic. OK, click click. Now I've got tunes! Well sort of. Why is the volume so low? Quick look at the screen and I see the volume is -20db. Wonder why? OK so I crank up the volume on the preamp and listen. We are not impressed. This just doesn't sound any better than iTunes. Maybe it's a little worse. Not bad mind you, just not any noticeable improvement. I remembered the comment about memory play so I went to the manual and found how to use it. OK now were talking. But I'm still hearing something not right. Not sure how to describe it "strained" is the best adjective. I checked the volume level on the preamp. Ayre gives you a readout from 0 to 100. I was up around 83. Hmmm. Maybe my preamp is out of its comfort zone. So I increase the volume on the PureMusic console to -5db and put on Bruckner: Symphony #4 In E Flat, Bruno Walter: Columbia Symphony Orchestra.
Kowabunga Bat Man!! It sounded incredible. The sense of strain was gone along with the very slight edginess that I'd heard with iTunes alone. I was literally spell bound. While listening I also that PureMusic increased the sense of the hall and the imaging was also improved. Depth was incredible (i.e., the orchestral players were layered and the space between sections was distinctly presented. Earlier I'd talked about the increased sense of dynamics that I heard. It's analogous to taking a rubber band and stretching it out. The distance between all the points on the band increase as it's stretched out. The effect is to make subtle dynamic changes much more apparent. I also realized that PureMusic stretched the depth of the sound stage by about 50%. I tried to use Hog Mode, but it wouldn't allow me. Not sure why, maybe because I have only one output going. Maybe it hates me. I did a little more listening and noticed that the difference between different CD was much more pronounced. At this point the combination of the DACiT with PureMusic on memory play is definitely superior to my CD player.
So yes IMO the PureMusic appreciable increases the sound quality. Will I buy it? Maybe. I think that there's a lot of features that I will never use or at least don't understand now. Part of this is due to the fact that the DACiT only supports up to 24/96. There's a lot of discussion about DSD which I don't think my DAC supports either. I'd like to have the benefits of memory play without the complexity. It also seemed pretty reliable. Will say that the manual was more than a little confusing.
Did realize one thing late last night. My Midi setting was incorrect. It was set at 24bit 44.1 rather than 16bit 44.1 I reset it. Nice to know I can screw up a little and still have good quality sound.
Today will be a rip festival while I watch the Broncos. Going to rip some jazz CDs and see if my SACDs will go into iTunes.
Happy Holidays folks.