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Airplay through Apple TV attached to receiver or airplay to receiver for best sound?


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I use Airplay a lot and love it compared to bluetooth. I have the new Apple TV connected via HDMI to my Yamaha A850 receiver. I have always assumed that because the Apple TV is connected to the receiver by HDMI it would use the receivers DAC. However when I airplay straight to the receiver it sounds richer and fuller and just better. So does the Apple TV use its own DAC even though it's connected to the receiver via HDMI?

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I use Airplay a lot and love it compared to bluetooth. I have the new Apple TV connected via HDMI to my Yamaha A850 receiver. I have always assumed that because the Apple TV is connected to the receiver by HDMI it would use the receivers DAC. However when I airplay straight to the receiver it sounds richer and fuller and just better. So does the Apple TV use its own DAC even though it's connected to the receiver via HDMI?

 

Not in that case, but it does resample everything to a 48khz sample rate- so the sound is very likely to be different.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Not in that case, but it does resample everything to a 48khz sample rate- so the sound is very likely to be different.

 

I should have mentioned the file format I play through Apple TV. I'm playing iTunes music which is 44.1khz and Paid Pandora which I think is the same so I'm not sure how that applies. I stream FLAC directly to my receiver to a Plex server because I know the Apple TV down samples.

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I should have mentioned the file format I play through Apple TV. I'm playing iTunes music which is 44.1khz and Paid Pandora which I think is the same so I'm not sure how that applies. I stream FLAC directly to my receiver to a Plex server because I know the Apple TV down samples.

 

Yes, you are sending 44.1khz but the ATV is resampling to 48khz. I know, I know, it seems weird.

 

-paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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AirPlay is set to always stream using ALAC at a 44.1kHz. The issue is peculiar to the Apple TV itself, which as Paul has said reasmples everything to 48kHz, so including the music received via AirPlay. Contrast this to the Airport Express, which plays music received via AirPlay at its native rate of 44.1kHz and presumably so does your Yamaha receiver.

 

Apart from the resampling, another thing to bear in mind is the conventional wisdom that a device's DAC (such as your Yamaha's) is usually best used internally by its own network streaming mechanism, rather than when used attached to an external streamer (such as the ATV).

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AirPlay is set to always stream using ALAC at a 44.1kHz. The issue is peculiar to the Apple TV itself, which as Paul has said reasmples everything to 48kHz, so including the music received via AirPlay. Contrast this to the Airport Express, which plays music received via AirPlay at its native rate of 44.1kHz and presumably so does your Yamaha receiver.

 

Apart from the resampling, another thing to bear in mind is the conventional wisdom that a device's DAC (such as your Yamaha's) is usually best used internally by its own network streaming mechanism, rather than when used attached to an external streamer (such as the ATV).

 

Interestingly I could not use an Airport Express for streaming to my Vanatoo speakers in the bedroom (Transparent One - Black | Vanatoo)

because I kept getting signal loss and reconnects. This is due to jitter issues with the airport express.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=airport+express+jitter+problem

I bought the last model Apple TV to connect to the speakers with an optical cable only to do airplay and it eliminated the jitter.

Anyway I only wanted to airplay via the apple tv to get the album art on my tv but the receiver does a good enough job of that. I've just been curious for awhile why the quality didn't seem as good and if all hdmi connected devices yes their own dac or the receivers.

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It might be the HDMI connection rather than the ATV per se. I too have had one hooked up to my Vanatoos, and I think it sounded great. (I now have it hooked up to a Peachtree Nova). In both cases it is via optical toslink. (The quality of the cable in this case can make a difference, although any decent one should do.)

 

With a username like that, you need an avatar:

 

Homepage of Hexley the DarwinOS mascot

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It might be the HDMI connection rather than the ATV per se. I too have had one hooked up to my Vanatoos, and I think it sounded great. (I now have it hooked up to a Peachtree Nova). In both cases it is via optical toslink. (The quality of the cable in this case can make a difference, although any decent one should do.)

 

With a username like that, you need an avatar:

 

Homepage of Hexley the DarwinOS mascot

 

Someone who knows what Darwin is..:-)

I'm using a high quality HDMI cable. I also have the Samsung UHD blu-ray player and the receiver is connected to a Samsung JS9000 TV. Loving UHD/HDR blu-rays. :-)

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