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jon
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For sometime I've been unhappy with the way my hifi sounds. It would sound good for a while and then quality would drop and everything sounded veiled and muffled.

 

All Itunes, audio/midi stuff was set correctly so I knew it wasn't that.

 

After trying many different things I decided the mac mini must be at fault.

It has been upgraded from tiger to leopard some time ago and had various audio software installed and deleted over time: play, songbird etc plus some quicktime time plug ins like perian and flip for mac.

 

As I use it only as a server I did a full erase and install of leopard and everything is sounding better than ever, more detail, clarity etc.

 

I'm not sure if there was an individual culprit or if anyone has problems with Perian as it has that weird compressor /limited thing built into it.

 

May be worth a try if anyone else is thinking itunes sounds a bit flat

 

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Itunes Sucks!!!!!!! Use J. River Media Center which is only for Windows.

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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How did I guess what Lizard Kings response would be... Be assured that most people feel there is not much wrong with iTunes (especially on MacOS) though it is possible it can be improved on by pro DAW software - I don't think you were wanting to open discussion for what / how / why things are better as playback software.

 

Anyway I guess you ended up with lots of services/daemons, running in the background that were no longer needed which would have used up memory, etc. A reinstall is always a good way to ensure that your computer is as efficient as possible - whether running iTunes on MacOS or J.R.M.C. under Windows.

 

Glad you got your system sounding to it's best. A good piece of advice for others (off topic but I noted Amarra recomend a clean install).

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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...sounds similar to mine (iTunes suddenly sounding muffled and constricted). I have an HP laptop running Vista 32. I thought maybe it was QuickPlay at first but there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. I updated the driver software for my soundcard (Realtek HD) which didn’t help. I also uninstalled and reinstalled iTunes and QP with no luck. I’ve been checking and adjusting my sound levels but they were fine before. One thing I’ve noticed it that normally when you slide the arrow up on the volume, the sound meter rises with it. In this case, the meter doesn’t rise at all. Even at the max setting, the meter is only peaking at about 30 so I’m wondering if it might be a QP issue. I’m running my sound from my PC to a CI Audio VHP-1 headphone amp (I don’t have a DAC yet but I’m working on it) with the sound coming out of my Grado 325i cans.

 

I’m in the process of transferring my music files (WAV, lossless, [email protected]) from Zune to iTunes (Apple Lossless, [email protected]) because, well, iTunes sound much better and it’s a lot more flexible! Everything was sounding great until this issue came up. Zune and WMP files still sound fine and audio from the web is fine too but I can’t figure out what the problem might be with iTunes.

 

Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks. And please, no Apple sucks comments! :-)

 

 

Sources: iPad Air 3, iPhone 8+, Asus Chromebook C201-PA

DAC/AMP: Hidisz S8, Astell & Kern XB10 Bluetooth module

IEM's: Fiio FA1, Hidisz Seeds, Fiio FH1S, Shouer H27, BGVP KC2, KZ ZS10 Pro's, (and several lesser iem's and earbuds)

Accesories: Various MMCX and 2-pin cables.

-----------------------------------------

Professional pianist, composer - master improvisationist.

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JRMC looks awesome! This looks to be a true and complete multimedia center and does everything other media app can do. I even transferred a few files and it sounds great. I'm impressed.

 

Sources: iPad Air 3, iPhone 8+, Asus Chromebook C201-PA

DAC/AMP: Hidisz S8, Astell & Kern XB10 Bluetooth module

IEM's: Fiio FA1, Hidisz Seeds, Fiio FH1S, Shouer H27, BGVP KC2, KZ ZS10 Pro's, (and several lesser iem's and earbuds)

Accesories: Various MMCX and 2-pin cables.

-----------------------------------------

Professional pianist, composer - master improvisationist.

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Itunes sounds like Crap! I suggest you use a real setup and get a real front end player. Of course if you limit yourself to usinbg a Mac, you have no real options!

 

Windblows rules!

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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Lizard_King - It's time to stop intentionally stirring the pot and adding absolutely no value to the conversation. We all respect your opinion that you prefer a Windows based system just like many readers here at CA prefer Windows based systems. However, your comments not only detract from the discussions they also undermine your point severely. I encourage you to express your opinions but in a much different way than you've done lately. For example, "I prefer Windows because ..." or "iTunes gives you no options because ..." This would be very helpful for people trying to decide what platform to use. Statements like iTunes sucks are nothing but a disservice to everyone including yourself.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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One of the best posts ever to grace this website.

Thanks for saying what we've all been thinking Chris.

 

Advantages and disadvantages to both systems.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Despite the "feelings" exhibited by Lizard King, he did suggest a great software to use (J. River Media Center) so I'm now using this exclusively. I love its flexibility and user-friendliness and it sounds fantastic to boot! Naturally, no software is perfect but so far, JRMC comes very close (for me, anyway).

 

 

Sources: iPad Air 3, iPhone 8+, Asus Chromebook C201-PA

DAC/AMP: Hidisz S8, Astell & Kern XB10 Bluetooth module

IEM's: Fiio FA1, Hidisz Seeds, Fiio FH1S, Shouer H27, BGVP KC2, KZ ZS10 Pro's, (and several lesser iem's and earbuds)

Accesories: Various MMCX and 2-pin cables.

-----------------------------------------

Professional pianist, composer - master improvisationist.

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Thanks for saying what we've all been thinking Chris.

 

Okay, ranting a bit maybe, and for sure not because you said it Matt, but to me it looks like - in here - eleborating sometimes puts more questions than answers to things.

 

Besides, it is just what you are "used to". Don't shoot me now, but if I see someone referring to "AA", and 90% doesn't know what this is about, well, it just needs too many words to explain I guess.

 

Phenomena, good or bad, can't go with silly explanations. Was Lizard King referring to such a phenomenon ? maybe for his world he was.

 

Try to keep in mind that in here (it just is so for the majority) iTunes is it, and just because that is so, explanations won't help. Not with audio. Nothing to do about that.

 

Just try to imagine all the fuzz about Amarra. One (ONE) reference is used for it only : iTunes.

Currently there is also one mentioned advantage : auto sampling rate switching.

Now, who openly laughed about that ?

 

For that single reason alone Lizard King is right. Amateure stuff, I'd say.

What Chris asks is explanation about things like these.

 

So, everyone has his own world. And sometimes that collides.

Peter

 

PS: And *of course* how can newcommers know ? I don't have a solution to that, except for a kazillion times repeating things. That's not for everyone ...

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Of course Lizard Kings' wording could have been very different.

Which is a reason (IMO) why Chris is right in a first place.

 

Just wanted to add that. :-)

or should have in the first place.

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Omahapianist, I am glad you like the program. I have tried all the popular programs and no doubt, J. River configured properly satisfies my discriminating Audiophile ears. I am a dedicated audiophile, not a recording engineer. Why limit yourself to my findings? Trust Gordon at Wavelength. He makes great stuff and posts on his web page about J. River.

 

I want to convey that I am not stabbing Itunes/Apple/, I try to emphasize what Audio is about. My experiences withg Itunes and others within my Audiophile club have convinced us that for home based, computer USB audio, that Macs with Itunes compared to Windows with J. River, MediaMonekey, Foobar2000, etc. can't compare at resolving the musical experience.

 

Let's take my friend who uses a Bel Canto Dac 3 going into a Bat Tube Preamp going into a big Krell amp.. He takes his music seriously and uses his latop feeding the Dac 3. His laptop developed a problem so he bought a Mac Book in part beciase hios children wanted to play. He tried using Itunes and Apple lossles yet he was not satisfied with the playback evn though hge had the configuration right.

 

He runs Windows Vista on his Macbook and uses J. River Media Center 13. Even though his computer is Apple Mac Os and Itunes, he still uses Vista with J. River.

 

 

I have another freind who is a neurotic audiophile who was using a Dac3 with his Mac Book. He changed his Dac to the Musicsteam from Ultra-Fi Systems and had the group come over for a meeting.

I was aksed to bering over my laptop so we could compare a Mac versus Windows.

 

I had my laptop sounding great and this was before I upgraded from ASIO4all to the real ASIO driver.

 

That night, people were engaged in conversation when the mac was playing for a while. I then hooked up my laptop and the group sat down and listened. Many commented on the naturalness of the SQ.

 

Within 48 hours, this freind went out, both a laptop with Vista and swichted to using J. River and has not looked back.

 

I am trying not to be too biased yet look at two people who are like me in terms of being dedicated audiophiles.

 

These are the two most significant instances that I can convey to you, other than my own.

 

It is my hope though I wil admit , my method is not to best to convince other audiophiles to open their eyes and ears and let the music do the talking.

 

I will try and work on my method yet you all realize how strongly I feel about this.

 

I truly hope there are people on this wonderful site who will benefit from my statements.

 

 

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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I'd like to thank you for your most recent post, may I say when you don't "rant" about J River vs iTunes you make some well reasoned points.

 

Having said that, can I suggest that maybe this thread has got rather off topic. The OP made a particular point about reinstalling improving sound quality. That point was well made, but the thread was "perverted" into a A is better than B thread.

 

Eloise

 

 

 

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I recommend to my customers to NEVER use iTunes on a PC. There is not much you can do about windows audio stack. Its crippled from the get-go. Even WiFi from iTunes on a PC is worse than Mac. Dont ask me why. It's not possible....

 

The Mac on the other hand has no reason to sound pregressively bad with iTunes. It is uncharacteristic of Mac to degrade like this. On the other hand, based on the results with 8..1.1 iTunes improving sound quality as well as ripping, it feels like Mac audio is a work in progress still.

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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I think is a bit unfair to Apple. As we all well know, Apple begrudgingly adopted the USB 2.0 format to its architecture. Apple was fine with USB 1.1 for keyboards and mice only. For more digitally demanding devices, like digital audio, there was firewire. Apple's baby. Firewire is a better specification than USB but not fully adopted perhaps because Apple made it, and maybe it was a bit more costly to implement as well.

 

iTunes is an Apple product and my experience in IT has shown me time and time again that software written by a company tends to work best on a particular OS. If Microsoft were to put more energy into Windows Media Player, you could say bye bye to foobar, media center, etc. In fact, once foobar et al start making a profit, watch Microsoft swoop down and release a killer media player, for free of course.

Oracle works great on Sun Solaris, but isn't much on Windows. Internet Explorer works great on Windows but wasn't that impressive on the Mac. The list goes on and on.

 

If I could afford it, I gather that iTunes on a Mac driving a Weiss Minerva DAC (Firewire and SPDIF DAC) would be totally bubblicious. Chris Connaker has actually done an extremely favorable review with the Minerva.

 

As it is now, Windows Media player plays audio quite well on the PC. Its the organization and GUI elements about the program that leave ALOT to be desired.

 

Remember Winamp way back in version 2? I guess music servers had not caught on around then but I noticed that Winamp 2 (v 2.07 and below if memory serves) sounded great on a WinXP machine, but Winamp 5 kindof lost it. delving into the software version history I found that Winamp 2 was using Microsoft's audio engine inside windows to drive the audio. MS told Winamp to stop doing that and WInamp 5 had to use its own audio driver, hence the change in quality.

 

Through the brilliant success of the Ipod and the great GUI of Itunes, iTunes has become a tour de force of computer music players. If we are to compare computer based music servers soley on USB format, I think that Apple/iTunes may be at a slight disadvantage.

 

Just my 200 cents:)

 

CD

 

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Peter - of course, and I agree with your comments hence my backing of Chris.

 

Lizard - I have used JRMC and consider it to be great software. Support for WASAPI like Foobar but an easier to use interface. Some may argue that it has a heavier footprint that Foobar or XX, you can decide whether that makes a difference or not through listening or testing.

I recall you posting or creating a thread here on CA regarding the audio test/presentation/gathering. There was a reply from somebody else in attendance stating that some of the old audiophiles were not impressed with either system.

Mac's are used through many many studios around the world and their use can not simply be due to the stability of the system/OS. (note, I'm a PC owner and used both for audio)

 

Mr Nugent - iTunes on XP can be bit perfect under certain conditions, with certain drivers, with certain audio cards. I'll attempt to involve the creator of such drivers in this discussion if you wish. He resides over at Hydrogen Audio and, thinking about it, somebody programming drivers could be very useful to have within these discussions.

"Even WiFi from iTunes on a PC is worse than Mac" - this would seem to conflict with tests by Stereophile and other users, stating that iTunes via the AE(wifi) is bit perfect. But let's not get back to how bit perfect can sound different - that's an entire thread in it's own right ... and I'll get told off for hijacking another thread. oops.

 

Peter - iTunes is indeed software for the masses. It was never created with audiophile intentions - or at least I don't think it was. Whilst I was very impressed with your graphs comparing XXHighEnd with it's GUI on and off, I'd love to see XXHighEnd vs Foobar with WASAPI. Could you possibly give that a run for us.?

 

ps: - chatting to Sonic Studio - they don't like the term 'bit perfect' ... I'll add some more once they're responded to my last e-mail. Interesting few e-mails back and forth with them.

 

Omahapianist - I'm curious. Your Realtek audio card, I'm assuming it's an onboard chip ?- well it might not be the best way of getting audio out of your computer. Some of those Realtek chips have poorly programmed drivers much like the C-Meda chips. You may find when playing back an audio file at 16bit 44khz, that your audio may be converted to 16bit 48khz. Worth noting ... but I'm sure if it's a modern chip you're fine.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Unfortunately, my Realtek is an integrated sound card built onto the main board and I'm only able to improve the sound via software upgrades. I haven't compared its specs to a dedicated SC but I'm sure going this route will certainly improve the sound although with the software upgrades I have (and tweeked to the fullest extent) I don't know if the difference will be overly dramatic but it certainly couldn't hurt to use an external card. There are a number of companies that offer these cards so more research will need to be conducted to determine what might be best.

 

For now, I just tweek and tweek.

 

Omahapianist aka Randall

 

 

Sources: iPad Air 3, iPhone 8+, Asus Chromebook C201-PA

DAC/AMP: Hidisz S8, Astell & Kern XB10 Bluetooth module

IEM's: Fiio FA1, Hidisz Seeds, Fiio FH1S, Shouer H27, BGVP KC2, KZ ZS10 Pro's, (and several lesser iem's and earbuds)

Accesories: Various MMCX and 2-pin cables.

-----------------------------------------

Professional pianist, composer - master improvisationist.

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I'm fairly new to all this and have had some relevant recent experience with sub-standard quality from iTunes.

 

See this thread: http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/MAC-iTunes-DACMagic

 

Basically I found that Songbird gave a far better audio representation although how good I'm not sure as I could only use the DACs in my AV amp... i.e., not through a dedicated DAC, which for me is the next step.

 

I am about to research and hopefully find older versions of iTunes in the hope that older versions have a better sound. I wonder if anyone else has experienced better sound quality in older versions of iTunes.

 

The current iTunes version is 8.1.1 which I am not at all happy with.

 

Songbird can be found here: http://getsongbird.com/

 

Hope this helps

 

Darren[br]____________________________________________________________________[br]Macbook OS-X; Beresford TC-7520 SE Caiman via Toslink; Marantz SR9600 AV Amp; Neat Motive 1 Speakers

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Steve,

 

Have a read here and let me know your thoughts.

Dogbert knows his stuff. He has a lot of respect over at HA.

Somewhere within these forum walls I honestly recall that somebody tested the bit perfect stream with the HDCD lightup test. I'll hunt it down (or maybe Chris can remember where it is?)

Basically the K-Mixer will not resample if those conditions are met. You obviously must make sure Quicktime is set to 16bit 44khz. There are limitations with the material that will be bit perfect..

 

http://code.google.com/p/cmediadrivers/wiki/Bitperfect

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/New-info-iTunes-bit-perfect-output-Windows

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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I'm pretty sure when I used itunes 7.something on Windows XP, the HDCD signal would be recognized on my Rotel processor. This was running via a USB capable DAC with optical output then into the Rotel (yes convoluted I know but it displayed bitrate, etc of the signal.

 

This was a couple of years ago so I'm not 100% sure my memory is correct. I seam to recall following instructions in the Benchmark Wiki. What makes me recall it this way was being surprised that HDCD lit up. Sorry no longer have the kit to be able tocheck my memory befre anyone asks.

 

Eloise.

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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on Windows XP, or Vista. I'm done A/B different players, iTunes wins with Sound Quality, library management and its price is very competitive!

 

Maybe this should be on another thread, but your comment about a clean install from Amarra... having software built on an OS that can and does change its methods can be problematic to software unaware of these changes. I would fear that Amarra would fall into this category, one day, with horrendous consequences.

 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Comparison between Amarra and iTunes? No, i haven't made the comparison between the two, I thought a purely software solution would have problems down the road when it came to changes in an OS when used on a daily workhorse computer. Sorry to lead you to that conclusion otherwise.

 

Ideally you would draw the line in the sand to optimise an OS, be determined not to make any changes or add new software, and run Amarra as is and that's it. This would be an appliance in the true fashion, just plug it in and go. If updates to the Amarra software would occur, it would only benefit the application as a standalone feature. This is based on experience with Windows OS and this would (and did) lead to fractured software once the OS was changed, wholesale. OSX is also not out of the woods either, our experience with Airport Express and Itunes 7/8 come very fresh to mind being an example of fractured.

 

Cheers then

 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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