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Apple TV and USB DACs


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Hallo,

 

I am a long time follower of this excellent side but only have just become a new forum member.

I am interested in the following topic:

Could I use a single USB DAC such as the Wavelength Proton, Tascam US-144, Lindemann USB-DDC etc. in combination with an Apple TV through the hacked ATVs enabled USB port without installing any driver software, a task which could become a bit more complicated in the case of a hacked ATV? I simply find the ATV more appealing to me and my living room than a MacMini or an iMac which I understand do handle the connection to those USB-DACs quite easily.

 

Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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Great idea, I had the same one. I have a Musical Fidelity V-Dac with optical, coax, and USB inputs. Apple TV works great with the DAC via optical, which you'd expect. When I connect the DAC via the USB cable, the status light on the front of the ATV blinks as though there's an error, but no music transfers from ATV to DAC. I have it hacked to enable USB, and have no issue with external USB storage. My assumption is that it's trying to load a driver, or can't get it to select the DAC as the default audio output? Not sure, but I know that I haven't gotten it to work. Would live to hear if anyone else has. I'm a PC guy with limited Mac knowledge, so can only relay my limited experience.

 

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I think the USB port on the ATV was originally intended for "maintenance" and perhaps future peripherals. If you want to use it at all you have to hack the ATV, which, depending on how you do it, is probably not for the inexperienced Mac bod. Even then it may well work for USB disks/EyeTV stuff, but I've not heard of anyone using it to output music, so maybe it cannot be done.

 

Why not just stick to the optical, given a decent DAC, like you one have, it should sound great?

 

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Raimund, IMHO I think the MacMini is a better option than the ATV. It is way more flexible, we run ours as an entertainment hub, with an external drive (for the huge GB's of Music and Video).

 

We have EyeTV for digital TV, some software to download HD from the BBC, digital radio and of course lots of music. All via optical to a DAC. We can of course share other systems files, including music and photos etc. It is an open extensible interface, unlike the unhacked ATV. We even have some software to take the analogue out of an old cable system and re-route it to the digital output... nice.

 

It is pretty flexible, we use a combination of the iPhone remote, FrontRow, Remote Buddy and VNC access to give absolute control. (OK we use the iPhone for music and FrontRow for the Video and the rest is for more intensive stuff - but you get he idea.) We can obviously remote in from any of our other Macs. It's on for months at a time and never fails. It only gets rebooted for software updates. The output (optical digital) on the Mac can get to 96/24, I believe the ATV is only 44.1/16? The USB works! It is a very, very quiet machine. Hope this helps?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

AudioBear,

 

I am pretty much aware of the MacMini's functionality.

I have spent quite a long time to decide which is the better mediacenter for me and came to the conclusion that Apple TV will suit me best. I like the HDMI interface and its even smaller footprint and dimensions compared to the MacMini. It is very quiet as well and - by the way - much cheaper than the Mini.

It comes with the - in my eyes - best performing GUI I have ever seen on a media hub even compared to FrontRow which you get on every other Mac. I simply love its convenient use, small size, dependability and less 'looking like a computer' design.

I know that its audio output is limited to 44.1 kHz/16 bit but I am absolutely happy with the sound in combination with my Benchmark DAC1 connected via optical cable. Initial high bit resolution source material sounds fantastic although downsampled by the ATV to Red Book format which is for me another proof that the quality of the source has much more influence on the quality of the sound than the simple bit/kHz rates.

 

Best Regards, Raimund

 

Living Room

Apple Mac mini Mid 2011 (MacOS Sierra 10.12.6, 64 GB OWC SSD, 16 GB OWC RAM, iTunes 12.9, Pure Music 3.09c) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> artistic fidelity External USB-Module -> 3 Fibre Optical Cables -> artistic fidelity afis / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity RJ45 cable -> artistic fidelity arfi-dac2 / arfi-psu -> artistic fidelity XLR-to-BNC cable -> Bakoon HPA-21 Headamp + Sennheiser HD 800

Home Office

Apple Mac mini End 2018 (MacOS Mojave 10.14.6, 128 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, Audirvana 3.5.19) -> artistic fidelity USB cable -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital / Pro-Ject Accu Box S2 USB PSU -> Abacus C-Box 2 Active Speakers

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