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Apple TV and Cambridge Dacmagic

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I'm not sure if this group can help me with my problem, but any advice would be welcomed.


I've been using an Apple TV for music, photos and videos in my living room while doing serious listening in another room using a Mac Mini, McIntosh Receiver, PS Audio Digital Link, and B&W 685's. Recently, I decided to upgrade the sound in my living room by adding a Cambridge DacMagic. Before adding the Cambridge unit, I previously connected the optical output of the Apple TV to an optical input on my Onkyo receiver. After adding the DacMagic, I connected the optical output of the Apple TV directly into the DAC and then connected the analog outputs of the Cambridge unit to my receiver.


With this set-up, there was a significant improvement in my audio. (I should also note that I use Apple Lossless music files). The problem , however, is that I developed difficulty with the audio portion of my videos that are on the Apple TV. The videos include both digital copies of videos I purchased at local stores, as well as videos purchased directly from Apple iTunes. The weird thing is that the audio tracks on some of the videos was fine, but on others there was no sound at all.


I then changed my connectors and ran analog from the output of the Apple TV to the analog inputs in my receiver. The sound on all the videos returned. Can anyone tell me why some of the audio from my videos would not work when connected to the DacMagic while others did?


At this point, I have to use different connections, depending on whether I'm listening to music or watching videos on the Apple TV. For music, I have the optical out from the Apple TV to the DacMagic and then analog to the receiver. For the audio portion of the videos, it is connected from the Apple TV analog output to analog input of the receiver. Any ideas?


Equipment: Mac Pro/ Wavelength Proton Asynchronous DAC/ McIntosh MA6200 Integrated Amp/ Bowers & Wilkins 685 Speakers/ Amarra MINI/ Pure Music/ Decibel

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  • 3 weeks later...

The AppleTV has the capability to output multiple formats over the optical connection - many of which the DacMagic cannot process. It automatically downconverts those to two channel to go out over the analogue connections - that's why they always work.


In the settings menu there is an option to enable Dolby Digital output over optical, ensure that is turned off. I think one of the software updates turned this on by default - probably when Apple started renting HD movies with Dolby Digital soundtracks.




Corey[br]Apple TV[br]Peachtree Audio nova[br]PS Audio Trio A100[br]B&W 602 s2

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  • 2 weeks later...

IIRC the Cambridge Audio DACMagic also has a SPDIF passthrough... If you wanted to get surround sound from the files which contain it via the Apple TV, you could connect the passthrough output of the DACMagic into an input of your Onkyo reciever and this should work.


Or if you are happy with 2channel for everything from the Apple TV, as suggested just disable Dolby Digital on the Apple TV






...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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