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Newbie question. Questions before my first hires download


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Need advice before I try HDtracks and other sources.

I have a max'd out 2013 iMac, but no DAC, amp, headphones, desktop spkrs. Soon I expect to buy a DAC, headphone amp, headphones and active desktop spkrs - using the headphone for more critical listening.

 

Even before I get the DAC, I think I'm ready to start rip CDs to AIFF (using XLD) and Amarra for playback. Also plan to try HDtracks and other sources.

 

Question: Should I wait till I get a DAC/amp/phones before I try buying any hires files (e.g. 24/192, or other formats higher than 16/44) ? I assume my iMac won't play them without one - correct?

 

Thanks!

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No, you can buy the High Res music now. You may not find much benefit in it over an equivalent CD using the computer speakers or headphone plugged in directly, but it will still play fine.

 

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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Should I wait till I get a DAC/amp/phones before I try buying any hires files (e.g. 24/192, or other formats higher than 16/44) ? I assume my iMac won't play them without one - correct?

 

Thanks!

 

Hi Quaveda, yes you can try hires files before your DAC arrives. However, while using the internal DAC you will have to reset and reload iTunes each time you change the sample rate.

 

Core Audio is what changes the sample rate on Macs not iTunes. iTunes will tell you the sample rate of the file but Core Audio will resample that file to whatever it is set to. By default Core Audio is set to 24/44.1kHz PCM, so when using the internal DAC on a Mac high resolution will have no benefit unless you go into Core Audio and manually change the sample rate. You will find Core Audio under Applications > Utilities > Audio Midi Setup. Go into Audio Midi Setup and change the format to match the sample rate of the music file and then reopen iTunes. Before I had a DAC I changed Core Audio to 24/96 and let it resample all my music files to 24/96. Now that I have my Teac DAC and using Pure Music software I can play up to 32/384 and Core Audio changes the sample rate automatically.

 

iTunes will play any music file up to 32/384, if your new DAC will play that resolution. When using the internal DAC, iTunes will resample the music file to whatever Core Audio is set to, the max for the internal DAC on my Mac Mini is 24/96 which I assume is the same maximum for other Macs thus any 24/192 will be down sampled.

 

The lack of automatic sample rate switching is a failing of iTunes and also one reason I believe many people don't hear the difference between sample rates as they are unaware their Core Audio is set by default to 24/44.1kHz PCM and must be changed manually when playing high resolution music files using iTunes with the internal DAC.

 

Good luck with computer music.

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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thanks Teresa, very helpful. Until I get a DAC, I don't feel like messing with Core Audio.

I am assuming/expecting that I will end up with a DAC that allows me to play anything on my computer - from mp3's to ripped CDs to hires files , and that using s/w like Amarra or Pure Sound it will detect and switch to the most optimal format. I probably don't want the files to be upsampled since I've heard that doesn't always sound that good. I expect my DAC to handle 16/44 to 24/196 (or better) and most of the ones in between.

 

are these reasonable expectations?

-Qua

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thanks Teresa, very helpful. Until I get a DAC, I don't feel like messing with Core Audio.

I am assuming/expecting that I will end up with a DAC that allows me to play anything on my computer - from mp3's to ripped CDs to hires files , and that using s/w like Amarra or Pure Sound it will detect and switch to the most optimal format. I probably don't want the files to be upsampled since I've heard that doesn't always sound that good. I expect my DAC to handle 16/44 to 24/196 (or better) and most of the ones in between.

 

are these reasonable expectations?

-Qua

 

Your welcome.

 

Yes, most aftermarket players such as Amarra and Pure Music do the automatic sample rate switching. Until you get a DAC you can put Audio Midi Setup in your dock making it easier to access. Which DAC are you getting?

I have dementia. I save all my posts in a text file I call Forums.  I do a search in that file to find out what I said or did in the past.

 

I still love music.

 

Teresa

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When using the internal DAC, iTunes will resample the music file to whatever Core Audio is set to

 

The lack of automatic switching of the system audio output sample rate when using straight iTunes is not dependent on the Mac's internal DAC being used - the situation is the same when using an external DAC.

 

Also, note that iTunes will resample audio to whatever the system output rate was when the iTunes session began, which isn't necessarily what the system output rate is at the current moment, since that rate may have been changed by the user in Audio MIDI Setup during the iTunes session. Furthermore, if the output from iTunes, either resampled or not, does differ in sample rate from the current system output rate then the system performs its own resampling, therefore a sequence of two resamplings can be occurring before output.

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Hi goldsdad, that double sampling doesn't sound good .. Do I understand correctly that if I use an app like Amarra, it will handle these various sample rates and send the best output to the DAC (internal or external if one is plugged in via USB) - I sure hope so.

 

haven't decided on a DAC yet. Depends a lot on my budget which I'll know better in a month. But at the very least, I was thinking of Centrance HiFi 8 which I could find a portable use for even when upgrade to a better desktop DAC. I'm also leaning towards separate DAC and headphone amp since the DACs evolve faster than the amps, and I may upgrade through a few DACs before I would upgrade the amp. Ones I'm considering include Burson, Benchmark, higher end Schitt. Some have an amp built in, which might be a bonus. Seems like their are 'tiers' around $700, $1500-2000 and then $3500. I guess that make sense... each step up in audible difference doubles the price (yikes). Anyway, for now, I want to just get my feet wet by trying to rip some CDs via XLD, play via Amarra or itunes, and buy a hires files - just to get the juices flowing

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Hi goldsdad, that double sampling doesn't sound good .. Do I understand correctly that if I use an app like Amarra, it will handle these various sample rates and send the best output to the DAC (internal or external if one is plugged in via USB) - I sure hope so.

 

Yes, Amarra and the other "audiophile players" can be set to provide unresampled (often known as bit-perfect) output for the DAC so the user doesn't have to fiddle with controls to achieve that while listening to a mix of sample rates.

 

 

Resampling can be avoided when using iTunes alone. The second potential resample, the system one, is avoided by not changing the sample rate in Audio MIDI Setup (AMS) while iTunes is running. The first potential resample, the iTunes one, is avoided by ensuring the sample rate in AMS matches that of the next file to be played by iTunes, and if a change is required then it must be made while iTunes is closed.

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