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Music playing system - where to now?


DavidL
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My first post so hello to everyone!

 

I have read many, many threads on this site and while I have definitely been educated I would still appreciate some specific advice.

 

My current system for playing music has several digital sources feeding into a Bel Canto DAC3 which drives mono-block power amps directly. The sources are: AppleTV, CD transport, DVD player (both DVD-V and DVD-A), DAB radio, TV; all connected via Toslink, RCA or BNC SPDIF.

The AppleTV is almost entirely used for streaming audio, which is received wirelessly from an Airport Extreme base station that is connected by ethernet to a MacPro with an internal 2TB RAID disc. The music (40,000 tracks) is stored in iTunes Apple Lossless format. iTunes on the MacPro is controlled remotely by an iPod touch. This system seems absolutely bomb proof: the only interruptions I ever experience occur when it is necessary to update software in one of the elements or there is a power cut! The control via iPod touch is brilliant - far better than using the AppleTV remote.

 

The problem is that I can currently only access high resolution music via the DVD player. I have recently started archiving my LPs to 24/96 PCM format using Peak 5 software on the MacPro, and burning the PCM audio onto DVD-V or DVD-A (the former I find easier to navigate). I have also experimented with hi-res downloads, again burning these to DVD-V.

Streaming hi-res through iTunes (i.e. AirTunes) only gives me 16/44 output from the AppleTV.

What is the best way to implement hi-res streaming wirelessly?

Can the AppleTV be replaced by an alternative wireless bridge that can accept an iTunes stream?

 

Whatever I do I would also like to improve the output sound. While it is currently similar to that from the disc transports, I suspect that the AppleTV has a relatively high level of jitter in its output. For the same reason I am considering replacing the CD transport.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

 

David

 

 

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Thanks; I had started thinking along this line.

 

I have made several attempts to communicate with Apple to encourage them to modify AppleTV so that there is user-access to control the core audio and wireless comms. It should then be very simple to setup 24/96 digital I/O and hence handle 24/96 streaming via Airtunes. I've checked the capability of the wireless 802.11n to transmit 24/96 PCM audio by synching the AppleTV with my iTunes music on the Mac Pro. The files arrive OK and can then be "played" from the AppleTV. I'm surprised that there is no response from Apple as this low-cost enhancement could marketed as a top-end product.

 

My son uses a Mac Mini as the control device for his media centre but I don't really want another full-blown computer in the system. The Mac Mini is connected directly to his iTunes music store but I'd like to avoid having a local hard-disc. I've found that the sound from the AppleTV improved considerably when I moved it 1m further away from the DAC (the only connection is optical SPDIF).

Because of the relatively low storage capacity needed for streaming, a processor with only solid-state memory should be adequate (i.e. like a cut-own Mac Book Air).

There is also the question of the quality of the digital output from typical commercial machines. I guess some form of buffer interface (re-clocking, de-jitter) would be necessary.

 

David

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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