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Apple G5 Powermac Music Server Question please enlightern me!!


Wayne C

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I have recently bought a late 2005 G5 Mac and wish to use this to play my music collection via my hifi

 

I have the following components

 

Apple G5

Toslink Cable

Beresford Caiman Digital Audio Converter

 

I notice the Mac has an optical output what software do I need to exploit this to its fullest and would anyone recommend installing a new soundcard completely

 

I hope to acheive the best possible sound reproduction via the G5 any help appreciated and software advice to

 

also as im new to macs and have read a few posts on the site can anyone advise about the best Soundcard this computer has PCI E sockets and is the following model

 

http://support.apple.com/kb/SP37

 

 

 

I use foobar on my Windows laptop and would like to get the same results or better via the mac

 

Wayne

 

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Hi Wayne,

 

I've posted a question about soundcards here because I'm not convinced by the need. The Powermac G5 was the industry standard for mastering commercial releases not so long ago so it has excellent credentials for music use.

 

I would say that iTunes is the best music library program for Mac OS X. Make sure that you have the latest version of OS X and it's critically important to run the Disk Utility to repair disk permissions, otherwise odd glitches can interfere.

 

I am experimenting with Pure Vinyl from Channel D sofware. Although it was designed for ripping vinyl at 192 kHz sample rate it also has a really neat music server that integrates with iTunes, with a built in upsampler and memory play.

 

I'd suggest you rip your red book CDs to Apple lossless and if you download high res files, go for the 24 bit/96 kHz FLAC option. I use XLD to convert FLAC to Apple lossless.

 

Ralph

 

 

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The optical output of the Mac G5 should work with no additional software - just select it as the output using the Mac OS X Audio Midi utility.

 

As for adding an additional sound card, there is probably no need and with your Mac being the G5 with PCIe card slots you have a very limited choice anyway. You'd be looking at Pro-level cards such as RME HDSPe AIO (provides Co-ax and TOSLink SPDIF and also AES connections).

 

Ralph commented that the Mac G5 was often used for audio Mastering, but remember in these situations extra hardware such as RME or Lynx card (at a minimum - see Chris' reference to $12,000 mastering systems on the front page) would have been used.

 

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 currently convert most of my music to Flac as I was using the great and free foobar software with the Asio option.

I note and appreciate your comments regarding the lossless format, was advised to convert my files to the AIFF format is that ok or should I stick to Apple Lossless?, I note that the file size with AIFF are tremendous even compared to lossless for example one 4 minute track equals around 80 or so MB of space are these files better than apple lossless I have the error protection switched on.

 

Please could you offer advice as I note you are using lossless and others suggest AIFF for conversion purposes

 

Any thoughts on the amarra mini?

 

Wayne

 

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Hi Wayne

 

As I understand from the research I've done, Apple Lossless is Apple's proprietary version of FLAC (which is open source). When I have converted from FLAC to Apple Lossless (using XLD) the files end up the same size (give or take 0.1 MB).

 

I decided that Apple lossless would be fine because there is no data compression - nothing is taken away or lost. It's the same sort of process as zipping a picture file to save disk space. When the hard drive accesses a track it is delivered to the machine's memory "full size" and plays just like the CD track from which it was ripped.

 

I haven't tried this, however I believe it's true that if you convert from WAV or AIFF to ALAC and then convert back to AIFF again, the file will be a bit for bit match with the original file.

 

I can understand why some would advocate AIFF as it's an exact copy of what's on the original CD. Most of the comments about sound quality differences between ALAC and AIFF come from highly subjective/flawed trials. If ALAC and AIFF deliver the same 0s and 1s to the play software in the same order, there is no reason why they should sound different.

 

I have no experience of Amarra. I'm curious about why some people have given it glowing reviews. Others have said that the difference in relation to iTunes is quite subtle.

 

As I wrote previously, I'm getting excellent results with Pure Vinyl's iTunes server. It sits above iTunes and uses iTune's file management and controls however the tracks play in Pure Vinyl which has memory play and upsamples to 192 kHz using 64 bit processing. There are some cool display features too.

 

Pure Vinyl's developer makes a point of saying that his application does not "ghost play" the track in iTunes (where the computer plays the track in two applications, with the iTunes volume muted by 30 dB). Ghost play would add distortion of 0.1% and could introduce other artifacts.

 

Ralph

 

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You need no additional software to use the optical output. Merely select it the Digital Out option from the Sounds panel in the System Preferences. You can also select the Digital Out (when the toslink cable is connected) by holding down the Option key and clicking on the Volume icon in the menu bar.

 

And you usually don't need a sound card with Macs. In fact, I run an Apogee Ensemble as my audio interface, and that connects to my computer via Firewire 400. Typically, you'll only need a sound card if you are doing high definition recording (as with the ProTools HD systems). That said, many people here seem to like running Lynx cards, but are using the DAC on the Lynx card to produce an analog signal.

 

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"Pure Vinyl's developer makes a point of saying that his application does not "ghost play" the track in iTunes (where the computer plays the track in two applications, with the iTunes volume muted by 30 dB). Ghost play would add distortion of 0.1% and could introduce other artifacts."

 

I don't see the point in the Pure Vinyl developer making such a comment.

 

I'll assume the statement is a fact, but for what purpose, other than to cast FUD (aka fear, uncertainty, doubt) on other competing products?

 

This is not an issue with Amarra.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

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Clay wrote: "I don't see the point in the Pure Vinyl developer making such a comment.

 

I'll assume the statement is a fact, but for what purpose, other than to cast FUD (aka fear, uncertainty, doubt) on other competing products?

 

This is not an issue with Amarra."

 

That's a negative outlook. Maybe the developer just has pride in having produced an elegant and superior piece of software.

 

You seem very certain about Amarra and your defense appears out of proportion for an user. Do you have a commercial interest in Amarra?

 

Ralph

 

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Barry, (the original poster, not Barry Diament)

 

I have a fair amount of experience doing digital audio with a G5, but before I can really comment, I should ask you to clarify one point.

 

When you say, "I hope to achieve the best possible sound reproduction via the G5," do you mean that you are really shooting for ultimate quality playback, or do you mean you hope to achieve the best possible within some definition of what's practical? If the latter, what is the range of practicality you are considering? Using the Toslink connection, for instance, would put it pretty far away from "ultimate sound quality."

 

Of course just about everybody has some limits to what they are willing to undertake--even people with a large budget have a budget. Many of the people on this site are looking for something in the "very practical and not too expensive" range. I often see them get into needless arguments with people on the "ultimate quality" quest, just because they are working within different sets of assumptions.

 

So where are you on the continuum?

 

Paul Stubblebine[br]Paul Stubblebine Mastering, San Francisco[br]The Tape Project, LLC[br]serious student of the audio arts

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Ralph,

 

The point you repeat from Pure Vinyl's developer on "ghost play" has been spread around this forum, and is clearly aimed at Amarra, although I notice an effort to maintain plausible deniability on that point.

 

I have tested Amarra thoroughly enough to be certain that there is no "ghost" making it to the digital outputs. The inference is totally bogus.

 

If you like Pure Vinyl, fine. I'm interested too, and appreciate the user comments from yourself and others.

 

However, repeating bogus slurs against another product does not serve the interests of this community well.

 

I have no commercial interest in Amarra, and no ownership interest in the company. I am a user of Sonic products since 1990, and a beta tester for Amarra, if that affects your view of my opinions.

 

As a secondary point, pay attention to Barry Diament's post about why and how decoding lossless files on the fly while playing them can possibly alter the sonic result, even if the data itself is identical.

 

Paul Stubblebine[br]Paul Stubblebine Mastering, San Francisco[br]The Tape Project, LLC[br]serious student of the audio arts

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Hi Ralph,

 

"I haven't tried this, however I believe it's true that if you convert from WAV or AIFF to ALAC and then convert back to AIFF again, the file will be a bit for bit match with the original file.

 

I can understand why some would advocate AIFF as it's an exact copy of what's on the original CD. Most of the comments about sound quality differences between ALAC and AIFF come from highly subjective/flawed trials. If ALAC and AIFF deliver the same 0s and 1s to the play software in the same order, there is no reason why they should sound different."

 

Conversion back to AIF or WAV can be a bit for bit match, this is true. However, this is true when the compressed file is expanded in an off-line process, i.e. NOT while listening. When expansion is performed in real-time, i.e. while listening, the bits are still the same but the timing is altered and an increase in jitter comes into play.

 

Alas, with the so-called lossless formats, we're one step removed from the clock. This may be the reason (or one of the reasons) why in my own blind comparisons, the "lossless" files always sound slightly harder and brighter than the uncompressed originals. To be sure, the difference is relatively subtle but it was easily audible within the first seconds of playback, to myself and to my listening partners.

 

As a result, for my own server, I've decided to stay with linear PCM, i.e. in my case, raw, uncompressed AIF. Hard disk space is getting cheaper by the day. Personally, I see no reason to use compressed formats, particularly if one is interested in maximum fidelity.

 

Just my perspective.

 

Best regards,

Barry

www.soundkeeperrecordings.com

www.barrydiamentaudio.com

 

 

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"That's a negative outlook. Maybe the developer just has pride in having produced an elegant and superior piece of software."

 

IMO, that's quite a disingenuous statement (you make) considering the comparison list on the PV site, that you posted a link to in a separate thread, which is clearly aimed squarely at Amarra.

 

"You seem very certain about Amarra and your defense appears out of proportion for an user. Do you have a commercial interest in Amarra?"

 

I should ask you the same, as you're quite defensive about Pure Vinyl, and in your short tenure here, you've posted (the first) references to Pure Vinyl in TWO threads already, including one about Amarra, which I guess would be called 'offensive'.

 

so, let's recap, you've participated in 6 threads thus far, in three of which your posts are about PV, and you even introduced the topic of PV into two of those three...one is left to wonder about your agenda here.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Barry, (the original poster, not Barry Diament)..."

 

I could be wrong but I thought his name is Wayne."

 

You're right, the confusion was on my end.

 

BTW I'm a fan of your work as well.

 

Paul Stubblebine[br]Paul Stubblebine Mastering, San Francisco[br]The Tape Project, LLC[br]serious student of the audio arts

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Thanks Paul,

Im new to the World of apple computers well three weeks total useage to be honest, ive been a Windows user all of the rest of the time, I basically bought the G5 in the hope of transferring all of my large cd collection to the G5 and using the Itunes software as a Music Server.

I currently have a Meridian High End cd player, Audiolab amplification and Acoustic Energy AE1 Speakers. and the computer, which is the bog standard as we say in UK and as it was when it left the factory, g5 2ghz ( late 2005), expanded RAM to 4gb and extra hard disc.

I have a Beresford Caiman DAC , Toslink and Leopard 10.5.8 I think and Itunes and my music what ive converted so far 50gb ( is in AIFF with error correction switched on ). I havent altered any of the audio parameters on the G5 as basically I dont know how to!! being so new to this.

 

Oh I can I kndly clarify my Name is Wayne and im the one who originally posted this question

 

I want to acheive as good a sound quality as I can really without going to the ridiculous expense of buying a £500 soundcard ( which is how much my computer cost!!) I have a very limited budget to be frank

 

I am considering the software mentioned by others here but once again they seem very expensive and I would need to be pretty sure they are worth getting.

 

I basically would wish to achieve a sound somewhere near to that of my 24 but Meridian player id be happy with that or even redbook standard.

 

Any advice appreciated, I have no commercial interest in any of the products others are debating such as the Amarra or the Pure Vinyl although Id love to hear them as I haver a very critical ear and demand the best I can achieve within my budget

 

my name is Wayne and im the original poster

 

In A nutshell id like to get improvenment if the Toslink isnt the best Method then id like to know in steps from cost effect to Mid price what the options are

 

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