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rayhil
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I've been reading this excellent site for some time now as I ponder the decision to step, jump or dive into computer audio. As I've read heavily here and elsewhere, it seems I should decide before I make this move whether I'll ultimately end up on a PC or a MAC. I make this statement because of one decision that I've reached based on my research - lossless is the way to go and for a PC that's wav and for a Mac it's AIFF. Chris's ultimate choice seems to be the MacPro with ITunes, while TAS and others seem to recommend a PC-based "silent music server" with Media Monkey (which Chris has also strongly supported).

Other threads here indicate that the tagging features in wav are relatively poorer than aiff and Media Monkey is terrible at managing aiff files with their tags.

 

I have a relatively higher end system for home theater and audio use (McIntosh mx119, mc207, mvp851 and Thiel speakers); and a much lower end system of NAD receiver and PSB monitors. Ultimately, I'd like to move all music to a computer and absolutely want the ability to acquire and play the high res files frequently discussed here on my main system. Initially, however, I want to begin ripping my collection of almost 1,000 cds into a system that will be compatible with both systems or any upgrades. For many reasons, I don't want to jump right in at the top with either high end system and I recognize that this might well mean major changes in the future. The ripping process is a huge personal time investment and I don't want to do it twice. Thus, I feel I should make a good choice now and stick with it.

 

This leads me to ask this group the following:

1. Am I missing any critical point in my decisional thinking?

2. What do you think are the + and - of the PC versus Mac choice? (I'm currently a PC user and have never touched a Mac, but have no real fears there; although I'm not a computer guy, just a user.)

3. And I saw this question posed in a thread here but not really answered, if I choose a laptop-based solution going directly into a DAC, how much quality am I losing by not employing the Lynx AES16 card?

4. I'd appreciate hearing thoughts on PC or Mac packages with DACs that you'd recommend.

 

Sorry for such a long post and so many variants on questions, but I'm hoping this wil start a valuable discussion for a new member.

 

MBP13-128gb ssd using VoiceOver to hear the screen, iTunes, Ayre QB-9, McIntosh mx119 & mc207, Thiel CS2.4

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Here's some perhaps unconventional advice:

 

Pick your DAC first, or at least the style of DAC you think you'll wind up with. Doing so will prevent you from possibly having to buy an expensive 'converter' later when you discover that there's no 'direct' connection possible between your chosen computer/OS and your preferred DAC.

 

As far as I'm concerned, converters are unnecessary except for those that have (or want to acquire) a legacy DAC. Ditto for expensive Lynx sound cards. For purposes of discussion, 'legacy' DACs are those that sound best with AES/EBU or Coax S/PDIF, being designed primarily (i.e., originally) to connect to transports, NOT computers.

 

There are no computers (that I know of) with a native AES/EBU or Coax S/PDIF connection. A Lynx card alone will cost almost the price of a decent DAC, never mind that you can't even install a Lynx card into any Mac other than a super expensive desktop.

 

Recent developments seem to be pointing to the superiority of Asynchronous protocols for best quality sound when connecting computers to DACs. These include Async USB, Firewire, and many(?) of the networked devices.

 

So, if you don't already have a legacy DAC, I would strongly suggest that you look at the various Async USB / Firewire DACs before making your decision. Good converters cost about half again as much as a comparable quality DAC, and if you're DAC and computer can't communicate directly over USB / Firewire / ethernet, then you'll need a converter or a sound card (such as Lynx).

 

One thing to watch out for, many legacy DACs have now been updated with a USB connection.

There's growing evidence that few if any of these USB add-on implementations sound as good as the primary/original interface. Indeed, many people seem to believe that USB is somehow inferior given the plethora of poorer performing USB implementations.

 

But, if you don't want to think about DACs before deciding on the OS, factor in the price of a Lynx soundcard, or a Bel Canto USB Link into your potential budget, just in case.

 

I wholeheartedly recommend an OS X machine connected via Firewire or Async USB to devices made by Apogee, Wavelength, Ayre, Metric Halo (my personal choice), or Weiss, and perhaps others I've forgotten.

 

enjoy,

clay

 

 

 

 

 

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I think that's pretty sound advice from Clay.

 

You asked, "3. And I saw this question posed in a thread here but not really answered, if I choose a laptop-based solution going directly into a DAC, how much quality am I losing by not employing the Lynx AES16 card?"

 

If you go for an async USB or a firewire DAC, this won't be an issue. I don't believe that a PCI interface in a desktop is better than a firewire/USB interface for a laptop. Mind you, if you go for firewire, you'll have to check that the firewire chipset in the laptop is OK (I don't think there is a difference in quality necessarily, but some just don't work with DACs like the Weiss).

 

Now, if you're using a 'legacy' DAC (with only AES/EBU or spdif inputs), you'll need an interface to your laptop. In terms of firewire, by far the best that I've used is the Weiss AFI1. An alternative would be to use a Magma Expressbox (connected to laptop via PCMCIA card) with something like the Lynx AES16 (although RME also do good PCI interfaces). But all of these options work out very expensive and are only worthwhile if you have a really great legacy DAC.

 

I can't speak for USB interfaces - I've never used one.

 

FWIW, if I were starting out from scratch, I would seriously look at the Weiss DACs (firewire) and Wavelength & Ayre DACs (async USB). Still expensive, but you'd be totally set.

 

Mani.

 

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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Quite agree with clay over his comments ... but I'll add some more to the PC vs. Mac decision. These are not absolutes, but are as I see it.

 

Cost: generally speaking, a Mac is going to cost you more than the equivalent specced PC, however when you look in more detail things are not so clear cut. If you're looking at "small boxes" (i.e. Mac Mini) there isn't a large difference in cost between a Mac Mini and the equivilent Dell Studio Hybrid - a 2.0GHz MacMini with 4GB Memory and 3 year Apple care is £745; a Dell Studio Hybrid with similar 2GHz, 4GB upgrade to Vista Ultimate and 3 year warranty is £770 - admittedly the Dell has 250GB HDD to the 120GB in the MacMini - but I think even 250GB is not enough so external storage is the way to go. Okay so you can get a higher spec'd desktop / tower for less, but if you want small, the Mac isn't over prices. Not sure if it still holds true, but I know that comparing the iMac to a Dell All-in-one, or a MacPro to the equivalent Dell Workstation also gave similar prices. There's just no cheep "generic box" Mac.

 

Operating systems: my experience of XP and Vista, compared with Leopard on Intel hardware and Tiger on G4 is that a Mac OS system tends to be more responsive - especially when you have a smaller amount of memory. I run Leopard on a machine with 1.5GB something you could never do with Vista. The functionality of both are similar.

 

System design: In my opinion, the internal design and layout of Apple hardware winds hands down over PC hardware - even from companies like Dell who do pay some consideration (especially in the higher ranges). The advantage of a cleaner internal design is that they tend to have less obstructions in the airflow meaning fans are needed less. Also (the Mac Pro) they tend to be more accessible for upgrades (obviously this only applies to MacPro).

 

FireWire: If you decide to go for a FireWire connected DAC, the Apple machines tend to have better FireWire support (though there was an issue on the first UniBody MacBook Pros). A small thing but could be important.

 

Software: This is where Windows rules on the availability of software. With MacOs, your choice is pretty much iTunes, iTunes with Amarra, Play or Songbird. With Windows you have the choice of Windows Media Player, iTunes, Media Monkey, FooBar 2000, Songbird, Winamp, J.River Media Centre, j.River Media Player, Cmp / Cplay and I'm sure many more I've missed. Does choice mean better though?

 

Sound Quality: Out of the box, a Mac is easier to get high quality "bit-perfect" audio out of - can be as easy as plug in DAC (via USB or TOSLink) and check a couple of settings. Sound quality from iTunes can be improved on using Amarra or Play (based on other people's opinions). Windows can provide equal (or even better) quality with most of the available software, but there is a lot more playing around - installing output modules for Wave Out / Kernal streaming / ASIO; ensuring you have the correct drivers; getting the output module to talk to the drivers; etc. For many combinations I'm sure it works like clockwork, but there are lots of posts of people asking questions because it doesn't work.

 

I think thats about it for my Mac vs. PC thoughts ... but you also ask a few questions which I can possibly answer.

 

1) Order of thinking ...

what DAC - what budget? what capabilities - just for computer or other inputs too? USB or FireWire or legacy (SPDIF/AES)? if legacy, how are you going to connect to computer - direct TOSLink / Co-ax or via USB or FireWire?

what computer - see my thoughts above.

what software - try a few of the free software and see which you like.

what ripping format - usually straightforward after deciding software.

what software am I going to rip with: iTunes does a good job so long as there are no problems; EAC, dbPowerAmp (both for PC), XLD and MAX (for Mac) all give better feedback.

how am I going to control playback - separate laptop using screen sharing / VNC; keyboard, mouse and monitor; iTouch or similar for remote.

 

3) Laptop direct to DAC vs Lynx AES16: there can be a lot of difference, or a little depending on which DAC you choose. An AES16 into a Bryston BDA-1 for example will improve significantly over the USB connection and improve a little over TOSLink from a MacBook. However AES16 into a Bryston will be different rather than better compared with USB into an Ayre. Another option for using a Laptop is to use a FireWire interface. This can be anything from a TC Konnect 8 or FocusRite Sapphire at around £300; through a RME FireFace 400 at around £900 up to a Weiss AFI1 at about £1300 (prices from memory). Some users have compared the AFI1 to the Lynx AES16 and found it as good or better so this could be another option for you.

 

Hope I've helped a little

Eloise

 

P.S. manisandher said... "An alternative would be to use a Magma Expressbox (connected to laptop via PCMCIA card) with something like the Lynx AES16 (although RME also do good PCI interfaces). But all of these options work out very expensive and are only worthwhile if you have a really great legacy DAC."

One thing to note is that a lot of laptops don't have any form of PC Card or Express Card expansion capability. Express cards have been removed from the latest MacBook Pros for example.

 

As I commented above, people have reported the AFI1 to be the equal of the AES16 (in studio environment) so thats probably a more cost effective and as good sound wise, option for Laptop to High End legacy DAC.

 

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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Thanks to those who have commented thus far.

As I'm starting from scratch, I don't have any of the legacy DAC issues discussed above and from these comments and other material I've read here, I'm leaning heavily toward an async USB or firewire DAC. I think I'd rather put my money into the DAC as opposed to an additional interface between the computer and the DAC. Sorry to the Lynx folks, but the extra money for that card might not be worth it in my case.

 

There's lots of appeal for simplicity and this leans toward the Mac solution. As I'm a bit of an audiophile and a relatively heavy computer user, but not one who knows lots or who has tons of time to spend on setting up the system, I appreciate the trade offs between the two and hence my slight leaning. I do like the much higher variety of software on Windows (and I'm used to that platform) but I'll certainly now sit with a Mac for some time and see how I feel.

 

Thanks again and hope folks will keep the opinions coming.

 

 

MBP13-128gb ssd using VoiceOver to hear the screen, iTunes, Ayre QB-9, McIntosh mx119 & mc207, Thiel CS2.4

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Rayhill,

 

Three more things to consider before you start ripping your entire music collection:

 

1. I did a lot of tests ripping CDs using iTunes on a Mac, iTunes on a PC and EAC on a PC, compared the files and found a disturbing outcome. The reason I even started that test was that Apple Lossless sounded worse than WAV or AIFF. That did not make sense because ALAC compression is supposed to be bit perfect. The end result of the testing was that I will never use iTunes and the internal Mac Mini drive to rip music. I use the PC-only EAC program, which receives resounding top marks wherever you look. I also leave the files uncompressed on the Mac server as iTunes seems to digest those better.

 

2. There is a website that has done iTunes playback testing and came to the conclusion that iTunes on a PC was not bit perfect, but on a Mac was.

 

3. I use the Mac Mini currently for the music server but I have been tempted (and still am) to go back to the PC. Certainly cost is a big factor there. Don't use the "Mac is more stable" as a reason to go Mac. I have had more trouble with my Mac Mini than any PC I have built or bought. In fact it was just repaired for a busted logic board. If you are more familiar with windows OS versus Mac OS, than that is another thing to keep in mind.

 

 

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2) The website you (probably) eluded to didn't quite make that statement. Kent Poon found that iTunes was "bit-perfect" under Mac OS, but with a PC was bit-perfect ONLY for CD resolution files. Not quite the same as you stated.

 

1) Some people do claim that EAC makes better quality rips than iTunes, but given good CDs there is no objective evidence of this, in fact the same Web Site eluded to in point (2) tested and found that iTunes gave identical results.

 

3) The "stability" people refer to on the Mac is to do with software NOT hardware. All hardware can become faulty.

 

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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Hi Eloise,

 

Yes, I forgot to mention that it was for higher bit-rates on the PC that there was an issue with playback.

 

Regarding my tests ripping with EAC versus iTunes, I used a brand spanking new CD fresh out of the box. I will dig through my old notes and post the details if that helps. Some tests I did multiple times as I did not believe the results myself initially. But if a CD is even a bit dirty, iTunes will skip over information for the sake of a speedy rip. EAC does not, and will tell you how accurate the rip was. Sometimes a quick clean of the disc solves this in EAC. In iTunes you would not even know that you now have a messed up rip.

 

The stability might be hardware related with the Mac Mini, but I have had the 10.5 OS freeze up, shut down, start up by itself plenty of times. More so than XP Pro. But, I might just have been unlucky with my Mac. I have not given up yet. In fact I am playing around with Amarra for the Mac now.

 

Cheers.

 

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As I say - the whole iTunes vs other ripping methods seams to be subjective with the only objective evidence being in support of there being no differences. If you hear differences then use EAC. A lot of people are very happy with iTunes ripping and feel there is no difference - but do make sure you turn error correction on.

 

If you had a faulty logic board this could well cause Mac OS X to crash, and randomly shutdown / restart. I'm a great fan of Mac OS after starting to use Tiger on a G4 a few years ago after many years of Windows use. I try to be objective but find Mac OS in most situations at least as stable and almost always easier to see where to configure things. I also find uninstalling apps easier without the huge Registry to worry about. Config files rarely affect other aspects ad applications.

 

As I say these are my personal findings and thoughts and I respect others findings. I'm actually considering trying FooBar as an alternative and willing to change if I find it better - I'm not wedded to Apple and the Mac.

 

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 recently completed a large (not as large as yours) ripping session for something like 300 cds and its a big time investment. I worked mornings and nights and it took many weeks. I started with eac, but be warned that software has a bunch of settings. I then redid (im silly that way) what I started with dbpoweramp. dbpoweramp has some setup, but it was straight forward. dbpoweramp looks at several sources for the meta data and coverart (pretty cool). If dbpoweramp for some reason does not find the artwork it has a handy feature that you cut and paste from a file or the desktop. It also, has a feature that allows your to mass rip cds. The results no matter what you do are worth it in the end! The aiff issue is not an issue if you stay away from it. The majority of the hi-res content in dvd-r or download is wav or flac and you would rip to wav. I have one aiff original from kent poon (autographed copy I might ad) and yes media monkey butchered it. I had to add the tag info and coverart, but it was also simple to do.

I dont know if your the do it your self type. I priced a small case (2" tall case) that looks like an expensive cd player with a 2.8ghz intel core 2 duo, 4gb ram, 1tb drive (you could go much smaller and s.s. as you have a nas), windows xp sp3, asus motherboard, sony cd/dvd drive, card reader, cables for around 750 bucks us +or- depend on some tweaks.

I dont know were you live and even in a large city (where I live) it may be hard to find equipment to sample, but your should hear these things first before desiding. I can't find a firewire setup with the Weiss! I hear its good, but I can only imagine how it sounds. I looked at apple and I decided on a pc, because at the end of the day it works for me.

 

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Well you are either someone who loves music and wants to listen to high quality sounds whenever the mood strikes or an upgrade manic fiddler who likes the tech. For the former Mac is the only realistic choice if you are fussy over the ergonomics and sound. For the latter PC will do and entertain you endlessly as you chase your tail trying to get the stuff to sound right.

 

A genuine opinion.

 

yours, Apple fanboy, tog

 

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What do I want ... I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this [smiles and waves his fingers at Morden]. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?

 

Either that or just a slightly enlarged Mac Mini that will tale a PCIe card.

 

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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Yes I was thinking of for a Lynx card. There are still a lot of DAC I think are very good that lack a decent "computer" interface and the Lynx still appears the ideal solution - especialy for 24/192. I'm not really expecting such a Mac and so I would consider Weiss AFI1 as an alternative.

 

To be honest my reply was more meant in jest than seriousness - hense the Babylon 5 quote. If anyone asks "What do you want" I always think of Morden and the Shadows. (And no he wasn't the replacement for Cliff)

 

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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Tog, we respect your opinion, but its not based on facts. I have my pc player (the one in my home) and no issues (period) The setup tooks less than a few minutes even with the lynx card installed (period) The only fussing is me trying things like different cases, power supplies and drives and stuff just because. I also have no antivirus as its only going to download from the trusted hi-res sites and I'm not worried. If the team cares, I will post how long it lasts in this stable state, but be prepared to wait for sure!

 

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Tog says:

 

"Well you are either someone who loves music and wants to listen to high quality sounds whenever the mood strikes or an upgrade manic fiddler who likes the tech. For the former Mac is the only realistic choice if you are fussy over the ergonomics and sound."

 

VortecJr says:

 

"Tog, we respect your opinion, but its not based on facts."

 

VJ, perhaps you've forgotten, just simply getting bit perfect out of Windows requires some fiddling. :)

 

As for 'ergonomics', well, if you don't see a difference between Mac and PC, then you should be quite happy wth your choice. Many others do see a difference between the two OSes.

 

I doubt even the most rabid supporter of Windows would claim plug-and-play capability with respect to digital audio playback.

 

Clay

 

 

 

 

 

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thanks, I thought it was for a Lynx.

 

I'd wish for a Mac mini with additional Ram support, personally. I'd buy one now, except for the 4Gb max (and the cramped quarters & onerous HD installation) for SSD / Ram Disk / DRAM experimentation and such.

 

Removal of the optical drive is a possibility (for the cramped space), but then you couldn't rip with the Mini.

 

clay

 

BTW, looks like VortecJr didn't recognize that your words were quoted (and in jest). :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Lets assume that the operating system is installed. Now, we build from stratch and have to install the os and its really not a big deal. It would be different if we formatted some pc and had to hunt for drivers all over the place. That could be a bad day becasue unlike apple ms does not make the computer. No dought that its does not play out of the box unless someone configs the system to play, but that is the same for apple and pc. Even installing and setting itunes on both machines takes some time...it's a process. I see no difference one to the other. I understand it has a fantastic gui. Really they are awesome, but my machine boots directly to mediamonkey and I hardly interact with the rest of the machine.

 

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Hi Eloise,

 

A Mac Mini with a PCIe slot would be tremendous, so we can use that Lynx. I actually asked the embarrasing question in an Apple store. That is one of the reasons for goin the PC route, as it is a huge jump for the "cheapest" Mac PCIe solution. And as Jesus R mentioned, using the PC route, a PCIe solution is much cheaper. Of course cost is only one reason to decide between the two. In the end we are trying to get the tastiest music coming out of our gear with the most amount of ease.

 

Cheers

 

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Setting up Mac... (for bit-perfect using iTunes)

 

unbox machine, connect power, keyboard, mouse, monitor

connect DAC to FireWire or USB

turn on

click to update software including latest iTunes

goto Audio Midi utility, select right sample rate

start iTunes and play music

 

 

Setting up PC... (for bit-perfect playback using Media Monkey)

 

unbox machine, connect power, keyboard, mouse, monitor

connect DAC to FireWire or USB

turn on

download and install Media Monkey

install ASIO or Wave Out plugin after working out which you need

cross fingers and hope the ASIO plug in works with your chosen DACs drivers

start Media Monkey

check the correct output device is selected

play music

 

 

Now maybe i'm beig unfair about the extra steps, but this is a I see it. A PC isn't difficult to setup, but for beginners it's difficult to know what extra bits you need to download for Media Monkey (or FooBar, etc.). The point of the Mac is that it just works straight out the box with minimal effort - add Amarra and you're as close to a turnkey solution as a Naim HDX or similar.

 

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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apparently, I was wrong.

 

Someone DOES think that Windows can match Apple with regards to plug-and-play capabilities for digital audio playback.

 

Let's see what it takes for a brand new user to set up 'bit-perfect' playback on a(ny) new Mac.

 

You take the Mac out of the box, connect the monitor, mouse and keyboard, unless you bought a laptop, in which case you can skip the connect and plug-it-in steps.

 

You plug it in and start it up.

 

You'll notice that Itunes is already there - and recent versions don't default to sound enhancement crap being on. So, just click on iTunes.

 

You can download a song from the internet, from say HDTracks, (after turning on Airport, which will automatically find any wireless networks in your vicinity) OR you can rip a CD with iTunes (just insert disk, and click on 'import'). If you're concerned about the sample rate, you simply select the type of encoding you prefer - AIFF or ALAC - in iTunes preferences.

 

Press play, and you've got music playing on your computer. You've done the hard part.

 

Now, let's move on to the audiophile specific portion of our plug-and-play scenario.

 

Next, you plug in ANY Toslink, USB OR Firewire DAC - directly to your computer - no special soundcard installation required. Firewire DACs will require a one-time driver installation.

 

Next, leave the music playing, and open Sound preferences panel OR Audio Midi Setup (yeah I know, it's confusing having to choose between the two, either one will do) and click on your DAC, which will be listed by name.

 

Now you have music playing on your audiophile system.

 

Enjoy.

 

 

Clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ripping test was based on using Foobar bit comparison program not subjective ears.

 

For those interested, I did a test comparing the results of ripping one song using 3 different programs on PC and Mac with surprising (to me, others might say, doh!) results.

 

Conclusion:

 

I will no longer use iTunes to rip anything for high end listening, but will use EAC instead.

 

Even iTunes rips from Mac and PC can differ for the same file format! iTunes ALAC and WAV files differ on my Mac but not on my PC. Probably optical drive related issues come into play now as well.

 

For those interested in the details please see below:

 

Testing Results of ripping using:

 

• iTunes on MacMini,

• iTunes on PC,

• Max on MacMini

• EAC on PC

 

Test media – 1 Song from an unscratched purchased CD

 

Aqualung – 01. Strange & Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)

 

Comparison Test Software

 

Foobar bit comparison to find differences in rip.

 

Test Results:

 

Test 1: EAC WAV file versus iTunes on PC AIFF file on auto settings

 

• differences found: 20327754 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9772644 at 129.1615193 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 2: EAC WAV file versus iTunes on PC WAV file on auto settings

 

• differences found: 20327754 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9772644 at 129.1615193 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 3: EAC WAV file versus iTunes on PC WAV file on custom settings 48Khz, 16bit, stereo

 

• Comparing failed (sample rate mismatch).

 

Test 4: EAC WAV file versus iTunes on PC AIFF file on custom settings 48Khz, 16bit, stereo

 

• Comparing failed (sample rate mismatch).

 

Test 5: EAC wav file versus iTunes on Mac WAV file on auto settings

 

• differences found: 20324423 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9230347 at 119.3403855 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 6: EAC wav file versus Max on Mac AIFF file on 32bit Core Audio setting

 

• differences found: 20324423 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9230347 at 119.3403855 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 7: iTunes on PC WAV file 48Khz versus iTunes on PC AIFF 48Khz file

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 8: iTunes on PC WAV file auto settings versus iTunes on PC AIFF auto settings

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 9: iTunes on PC WAV file auto settings versus iTunes on Mac WAV auto settings

 

• differences found: 20322886 sample(s), starting at 1.0023583 second(s), peak: 1.9734802 at 58.8010204 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 10: iTunes on PC ALAC file auto settings versus iTunes on Mac ALAC auto settings

 

• differences found: 20323701 sample(s), starting at 1.0023583 second(s), peak: 1.9734802 at 58.8010204 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 11: EAC on PC WAV versus iTunes on PC ALAC auto settings

 

• differences found: 20327754 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9772644 at 129.1615193 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 12: EAC on PC WAV file versus iTunes on Mac ALAC auto settings

 

• differences found: 20324874 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9230347 at 119.3403855 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 13: iTunes on PC WAV file auto settings versus iTunes on PC ALAC auto settings

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 14: iTunes on PC AIFF file auto settings versus iTunes on PC ALAC auto settings

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 15: iTunes on Mac AIFF file auto settings versus iTunes on Mac WAV auto settings

 

• differences found: 104100 sample(s), starting at 3.3365986 second(s), peak: 0.1472473 at 4.2235374 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 16: iTunes on Mac AIFF file auto settings versus iTunes on Mac ALAC auto settings

 

• differences found: 44225 sample(s), starting at 3.3365986 second(s), peak: 0.7921753 at 4.5601134 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 17: iTunes on Mac WAV file auto settings versus iTunes on Mac ALAC auto settings

 

differences found: 90334 sample(s), starting at 3.5097959 second(s), peak: 0.7921753 at 4.5601134 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 18: Max on Mac AIFF file 32bit using Core Audio versus Max on Mac AIFF file 16bit using Core Audio

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 19: Max on Mac AIFF file 32bit using Core Audio versus Max on Mac AIFF file 24bit using Core Audio

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 20: Max on Mac AIFF file 16bit using Core Audio versus Max on Mac AIFF file 24bit using Core Audio

 

• No differences in decoded data found.

 

Test 21: EAC wav file versus Max on Mac AIFF file on 16bit Core Audio setting

 

• differences found: 20324423 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9230347 at 119.3403855 second(s), 1ch

 

Test 22: EAC wav file versus Max on Mac AIFF file on 24bit Core Audio setting

 

• differences found: 20324423 sample(s), starting at 1.0012698 second(s), peak: 1.9230347 at 119.3403855 second(s), 1ch

 

 

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Her comment flew right over my head, but I did find it funny :)

 

I don't really like i-tunes. I see why people like it, but its not for me. I also don't like the microsoft player. I choose to install mediamonkey (gold if your curious and even pay for it). So its a quick download and easy to install. Some setting on the os and the player and I could play that off the mother board as well. I like Steve Jobs, but every car has a strearing wheel. Connecting a usb and firewire is no more or less steps on a pc than your mac. The silly thing is I know that you know this stuff.......:)

 

 

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"The silly thing is I know that you know this stuff.......:)"

 

The point is, and which wasn't obvious in the comparison Eloise and I did, is that a total newcomer to 'computer audiophile playback' doesn't know any of this, and on the Mac, they never need to. :)

 

I understand that iTunes on a PC does not sound as good as on a Mac, but for the vast majority of newcomers listening to music on computers via home setups, iTunes on a Mac is plenty good enough, and it requires almost NO special knowledge (i.e. which player to use, which settings to select).

 

The hardest parts are knowing that one needs to select the DAC in Audio Midi Setup or Sound (and the sample rate if other than RBCD), and selecting the encoding process (AIFF or ALAC) if CDs are being ripped.

 

That's about as close to intuitive (read 'plug-and-play' without even reading a manual or referring to CA) as it can be. I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure that the iTunes that was ALREADY installed on my new laptop recently was already set to AIFF or ALAC (rather than MP3). I know it wasn't MP-3.

 

That means, to get damn high quality sound, the only piece of information one might need is to know how to select the DAC in Audio Midi Setup, and if you're using 44.1kHz, even the sample rate is defaulted.

 

But, you're right, to someone who is comfortable with computer, the differences are NOT major, and certainly anyone currently comfortable with WIndows configurations (like yourself) would say that the differences are trivial.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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