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Mac Mini setting for improved sound quality


Troy Gonzalez

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Hello, sorry if this is a repeat thread, but if it is, please help direct me to the thread.

 

I recently purchased my very first HiFi set:

  • PSB Image T6 speakers,
  • Marantz SR5008 A/V receiver.
  • Mac Mini (current model... late 2012?) connected to Marantz using HDMI,
  • iTunes,
  • external optical drive for importing CD's using iTunes (AIFF).

 

All settings (Mac) are default. Do you have special settings, or software to enhance music? I tried using Amarra HiFi, but I couldnt understand it. It plays my HD music (24/192) from HDtracks.com on a slow tempo, while 16/44.1 music plays quite the same as iTunes. I've been reading that using Amarra HiFi improves sound quality, I just don't hear any difference vs using iTunes.

 

Do I need to change some settings in my iTunes or Audio MIDI setup? sound is through HDMI at 44kHz sampling (default).

 

 

 

Also, I have a 24/192 CD. I am importing it to my iTunes library in AIFF format, but I can see that it is being ripped as 16/44.1. How do I rip a 24/192 CD that retains its 24/192?

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The CD standard is 16/44.1. There is no such thing as a 24/192 CD.

 

 

so you mean to say this is not true? I bought this through an actual record store.

Dionne Warwick Walk On By | Dyna Music Entertainment Corporation

ap_222_890-2_edited.jpg

 

 

 

 

*EDIT*

ok so I found just now about "24/192 CD".... But I would also like to know what settings do you have for a better sound quality other than the default iTunes + default Audio MIDI settings? :)

 

http://jimmyauw.com/2008/01/17/theres-no-such-24-bit-192-khz-cd-audio-in-the-world/

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so you mean to say this is not true? I bought this through an actual record store.

Dionne Warwick Walk On By | Dyna Music Entertainment Corporation

ap_222_890-2_edited.jpg

 

 

 

 

*EDIT*

ok so I found just now about "24/192 CD".... But I would also like to know what settings do you have for a better sound quality other than the default iTunes + default Audio MIDI settings? :)

 

Jimmy’s Junkyard » Blog Archive » There’s No Such 24 bit 192 kHz CD Audio in The World!

 

If you can play the disc in a regular CD player, then the CD is 44.1/16. If it doesn't, open computer to examine the files, they might be FLAC or WAV somethings.

The little print in the top left hand corner says 24bit "recording", the original recording or a transfer.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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he audio jack is a combination stereo line out and optical port. One option is to connect the Mini using a fiber cable to an AV receiver.

 

You can also buy a good studio quality USB audio interface for about $150 or more.

 

But first you have to decide on the kind of sound you are after. Most of the equipment you see sound to musicians and recording engineers and video editor is designed to be "accurate". On the other hand many consumers are looking for a hugely exaggerated bass for video games and movie sound track playback. Decide on the sound you want.

 

Next, no matter what you listen to speakers matter more than any other component. But they need to be matched to their intended use. That is the size of the room, the music and so on. there is no "best" only a best fit to your needs.

 

budget? Good stuff is not cheap but there are ways to reduce the cost. Used gear or maybe repurposing used home HiFi gear

 

Least but not least. Buy a good pair of headphones. I think Sweetwater still has the AKG K240 Studio headphones for $99. That is by far the best deal in headphones you'll find. ANything else comparable is twice that price.

hi

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Hi Troy,

 

There are quite literally hundreds of threads on this site addressing your question and a comparable number of things to do to Mac mini to improve its sound, from tweaking the OS, to purchasing specialized software such as Audirvana or Pure Music or Amarra to modifying the hardware, for instance, to improve the power supply. Probably a lot to wade through, so you may want to turn first to various computer audio set up guides published here and by publications such as stereophile and absolute sound. I don't have links, but they should be pretty easy to locate through a basic search. My sense, though, is that none of that will matter much in your case because your Marantz AVR may not be a revealing enough of a DAc to warrant the effort. So, unless and until you decide to upgrade your DAC, you may want to skip the hi-Rez purchases and stick w iTunes. YMMv, of course.

2012 Mac Mini Quad Core i7 (2.3 GHz, 0SX 10.9; 60gb SSD; 16gb RAM, Battery Power, Battery Buss) > Audirvana Plus > Uptone Audio Regen > Monoprice USB cable> PS Audio DirectStream > W4S ST 1000 > Shunyata Talos > B&W 804S

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so you mean to say this is not true? I bought this through an actual record store.

Dionne Warwick Walk On By | Dyna Music Entertainment Corporation

ap_222_890-2_edited.jpg

 

 

 

 

*EDIT*

ok so I found just now about "24/192 CD".... But I would also like to know what settings do you have for a better sound quality other than the default iTunes + default Audio MIDI settings? :)

 

Jimmy’s Junkyard » Blog Archive » There’s No Such 24 bit 192 kHz CD Audio in The World!

 

It may have been mastered at 24/192 but for it to be a CD it is 16/44.1. Years ago they use to market 20bit SBM masterings but they were still 16/44.1. As far as the mastering it can be true as far as the manufacture of a CD it is not. Its marketing.

"If you fly a flag of hate you are no kin to me"

Ry Cooder

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i agree with many of the comments above, but you ask what Mac Mini changes to make. I don't think you should (or need) to spend much on the Mac at this stage, so I would simply recommend using ITunes but with something like BitPerfect (App Store) - a very cheap way to improve the basic Mac setup. Keep ripping your music CDs to AIFF so it's at the best resolution for the future.

 

After that I'd focus my time & money on a reasonable DAC without going over the top (plenty of value/quality at less than 1000), making sure to keep it as future-proof as possible by reading this site over-and-over again..... at some point later you'll then come back to your amp I suspect.

 

good luck in your journey !

mike

Aurender X100L > Audiophilleo USB/SPDIF > Devialet 200 > Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation

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Hi Troy,

 

There are quite literally hundreds of threads on this site addressing your question and a comparable number of things to do to Mac mini to improve its sound, from tweaking the OS, to purchasing specialized software such as Audirvana or Pure Music or Amarra to modifying the hardware, for instance, to improve the power supply. Probably a lot to wade through, so you may want to turn first to various computer audio set up guides published here and by publications such as stereophile and absolute sound. I don't have links, but they should be pretty easy to locate through a basic search. My sense, though, is that none of that will matter much in your case because your Marantz AVR may not be a revealing enough of a DAc to warrant the effort. So, unless and until you decide to upgrade your DAC, you may want to skip the hi-Rez purchases and stick w iTunes. YMMv, of course.

 

hi dmgbat,

 

thank you. due to my initial budget, i had to go for marantz avr. it was good enough for me, although i really wanted NAD. I was thinking maybe i can enhance the sound through tweaks in software (free). I'll invest on a better AVR soon after i completed my speakers for HT. :)

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It may have been mastered at 24/192 but for it to be a CD it is 16/44.1. Years ago they use to market 20bit SBM masterings but they were still 16/44.1. As far as the mastering it can be true as far as the manufacture of a CD it is not. Its marketing.

 

 

aww. :(

well. thanks for the heads up. :)

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i agree with many of the comments above, but you ask what Mac Mini changes to make. I don't think you should (or need) to spend much on the Mac at this stage, so I would simply recommend using ITunes but with something like BitPerfect (App Store) - a very cheap way to improve the basic Mac setup. Keep ripping your music CDs to AIFF so it's at the best resolution for the future.

 

After that I'd focus my time & money on a reasonable DAC without going over the top (plenty of value/quality at less than 1000), making sure to keep it as future-proof as possible by reading this site over-and-over again..... at some point later you'll then come back to your amp I suspect.

 

good luck in your journey !

mike

 

Yes, I just spent an X amount of money for the initial investment, and don't have a budget to buy additional hardware, that's why i was looking for mac tweaks, like settings and all.

 

I just tried the demo of Amarra. I don't hear any difference, and it played my 24/192 music (from HDtracks) in slow-mo. I really don't understand. Maybe there is a special setting required, or additional software to use. But anyway, so far, I'm happy with my music! :) i was just looking for changes to further improve on the sound. :)

 

And yes, I use iTunes to rip CD's to AIFF (some in Apple Lossless).

 

Thanks! :)

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I was wondering why you bought an AV receiver? Do you use it in a home theater setup? If you were trying to setup a stereo for listening to music an integrated amp would be the more usual choice for a simple setup.

 

Yes, i will be also using this as movie/audio setup. but so far, I only have 2 speakers. buying the speakers one at a time.

Maybe after some time, after completing my home theatre setup, i may have to purchase a really dedicated music stereo setup

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I think your speakers could be used for a dedicated music system. If you were to add a modest dac and separate integrated amp or a preamp/amp ( my bias for separate components ) and use the Mac Mini as the source I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how nice it sounds.

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Yes, i will be also using this as movie/audio setup. but so far, I only have 2 speakers. buying the speakers one at a time.

Maybe after some time, after completing my home theatre setup, i may have to purchase a really dedicated music stereo setup

 

Have a look at roomieremote ( iPhone and iPad Universal Remote Control for Home Theaters – Roomie Remote ) if you have an iOS device in the house, especially if your TV has IP control. It gets a bit pricey if you need an ethernet or wifi -> iR adapter, but it is a great way to control a stereo/home theatre setup.

 

I use it with a Mac Mini and have a iTach Flex wifi -> iR adapter to control the TV and the preamp. I have "activities" setup for listening (with Pure Music), watching iTunes content, watching VLC and watching TV. The activities launch and quit apps on the Mac Mini, change inputs on the preamp and turn the TV on or off as required.

 

For ripping it's worth giving XLD a go. http://tmkk.undo.jp/xld/index_e.html

It requires a bit of tweaking to set it up but once you have it configured you can insert a CD and XLD will rip and add to you iTunes library.

 

cheers

Paul

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