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Plugging in to a traditional stereo

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I have a very good stereo sysyem and would appreciate some advise.


I have a home theater with an Appletv (optical out) connected to a Theta casablanca and on to the sound/video system. I really enjoy the convenience of the Apple tv and the sound is satisfying for a theater/audio setup.


I also have a listening room with my "Big Dog" system.

Here I have an SACD (SCD-1) plugged into an Atmasphere MP-1 preamp (balanced connectors only) to a pair of MA-1 tube OTL's playing a pair of Vandersteen 5a's.


Room is setup properly and the system is a joy. But I'm so enthused about the convenience of the Apple TV, I want to incorporate computer music into the system.


No computer, not TV in the room, so how do I get there. I think I can use my apple iPhone as a control device if I go Apple TV. The Apple DAC is a no go. A friend suggested a mini into a dac into the MP-1. Not sure if the iphone remote will interface.


I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to get to the promised land.




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Hi Bob - There are many roads to Rome. Since this is your "Big Dog" system I recommend putting a Mac Mini in the listening room. This will allow you much more freedom than an Apple TV or Airport Express. The Mini gives you the ability to connect to a DAC via USB, FireWire, or S/PDIF optical. The iPhone remote will control iTunes on the Mini very easily.


AppleTVs really need a display in my opinion. There are some things that need to be done every once in a while that you'll either have to bring a display into the room or move the AppleTV to another room to figure out.


I'm guessing you have a Mac or PC syncing to your existing AppleTV. If you want a really easy route to your bigger system just pick up a $100 Airport Express and pipe the music from your Mac or PC to the Airport Express. This way you have one library to manage. The iPhone can control which room you send the audio to as well as all the music.


I could go on for pages about this topic but I'll stop here and wait for your response.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems

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Chris, thanks for replying,


I do have a Mac with a big external drive for my itunes library. I keep all my ripped songs in apple lossless. I tend to mirror much on the Apple TV. The house has FIOS with a wireless router (I run my business out of the house). Connectivity is not an issue. I just don't want a computer monitor mixed in with the stereo components (not much room in racks).


I prefer what I use to be stand alone in the stereo room storing songs/files on the mini/Atv for a listening session. I think your were referring to live streaming from the mac desktop to the stereo. I do video 3D rendering (creativegeographics.com) and when I'm rendering a project, I need every cpu cycle I can get.


I could use the help. While I get old time hardware, I can talk triodes for hours, I'm a babe in the woods when it comes to setting up the optimum way to interface downloaded HD music.











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If you don't want a monitor on your rack, then you need to control your music server (in this case a hypothetical mac mini) with some sort of remote ie. your iphone, a laptop or netbook. The iphone will interface with itunes while the other options mean remote desktop sharing with the mini.


In terms of the setup, you can view the computer/music server as the transport [hence "computer as source" (CAS)] sending the digital signal to a dac which converts it to analog. In effect, this is a cd player in two parts (or a cd player is a one box solution to this). The chain looks like this: music server: hard drive---> playback software----> digital output (ie. usb or optical)----> dac digital input----> dac analog output----> pre-amp (sometimes bypassed) etc. The important parts to consider are the music playback software and the digital output.


The software and digital output must be bit perfect which means that whatever comes from the hard drive leaves the server and enters the dac. On a mac, iTunes is bitperfect at 100% volume, while Windows XP or Vista requires you to bypass the system sound because it resamples the signal which degrades the sound.


One possible easy solution is like your friend said Mac Mini----> optical/usb/firewire output ----> dac of your choice (ie. Weiss Dac2/Minerva) ----> pre-amp.


Your iphone interfaces with the music server (ie. the Mini) and specifically itunes if you use remote.app so you can use whatever dac you want.


Hope that helped a little


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I have both an iPhone and a macbook, I get using remote desktop to configure mini.


OK now I go from mini to DAC. I will assume there are DAC's with XLR output to Pre-amp. Got that.


Storage, I can point mini at my large drive on the network, correct... and pick and choose what files reside on mini HD just like I do on the Apple TV by syncing in itunes. This is where I'm grey.


Can I create playlists on main CPU and sync that to mini like I do with the Atv. Forgive the simplistic questions, I'm just getting my feet wet.


does 24/192 present a problem storage wise. All of my HD audio is on optical disk, either SACD or DVD-a which I have also.


lights going on, thanks for the patience. I just read your 3 part streaming set of articles. Gaining clarity.








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You don't actually need the files on the Mini HD; if you have a music collection of any size (especially 24/192) then you will need to keep it on external drives either NAS or usb/firewire drives. You just point itunes to where the music is stored and it will add it to its library while still keeping the music on the external disks (make sure you uncheck "copy music to itunes folder" in itunes preferences).


Rather than importing playlists, which is possible, it might be easier to create the playlists directly on the mini with either iphone or macbook (possible on either).


There are other threads detailing what programs to use to rip dvd-a and I think that SACD is still a no go in terms of ripping.


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