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Hi Chris,

 

First of all, many, many thanks for this site. Hits the spot perfectly.

 

Here's my issue: I want to migrate to disk-based music. But while audio quality is vital, (thus I am looking away from all-in-one server systems) the look is also important to me. I don't want a macmini or a laptop sitting on top of my audio system. I don't want usb cables everywhere. I want to buy a bryston dac to fit in with my bryston preamp/amp setup, but how do i stream the signal to the dac without having the ugly components sitting there?

 

regards

 

billy

 

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sure... but not too elegant? :)

I'm thinking more along the lines of being able to stream the media to the dac. Reading further, it seems having an AE plugged into the dac might work? I've never used an AE so not sure about the specifics. Are there other solutions based around this kind of idea? What configuration would deliver best audio quality?

 

 

 

 

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Hi Billy - If sound quality is your number one thing I don't recommend any wireless transport like the AE, Squeezebox, or Transporter. This is just my opinion of course, but I don't think the sound is even close to a high quality wired DAC / computer based solution.

 

I do recommend giving the wireless options a listen at a local shop or at least trying one in your exact system in order to make up your mind. You never know :-)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Chris

I have to disagree with you about streaming digitally for hi fi use. As Stereophile showed in their review some time ago, it's bit perfect so a perfect 16 bit source, just as good as the computer the information came from. We use them for all our dems and I don't doubt that now the Touch can control iTunes, they will overtake Logitech and Sonos as the streamer of choice.

 

The big worry comes with higher bit and sample rate material and we've been making a series of comparisons here to see if there is audible difference.

 

It is possible to play up to 24/96 via the optical digital output of a Macbook Pro (or any Mac) and you can alter the Bit and sample rate as you listen. Go to Audio Midi in Utilities in Applications and you can see how to do it. We can hear a click as it changes but not a difference in sound quality with our DACs and ADM9.1s. In view of comments to the contrary from Audiophiles on various Forums, we contacted a number of users and experts and asked them to make the same comparison. No one who we know who has tried, is convinced that there is a difference and logic would dictate that is a reasonable conclusion. I realise this is contentious but if you think about it, maybe not.

 

Ash

 

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Hi Ashley - I certainly have to give you much respect for publicly disagreeing with me knowing full well that I will be reviewing your products very soon. I told you this previously when we spoke spoke via phone, but it bares repeating -> I sure like the cut of your jib.

 

Anyway, the subjectivity of our wonderful hobby is always standing in the background. In my work I always start with the facts such as bit perfect output. After that is proven I listen to a product and decide if I like it. In the case of the wireless products I have tested the bit perfection, but did not like the sound. Although these products are bit perfect the implementation is far from perfect. For the relatively cheap price of the units I don't expect anything better than what they produce.

 

As a side note: When you alter the bit/sample rate in Audio Midi Setup you have to close and reopen iTunes for it to take effect. iTunes locks in the rate that was set when the app was opened.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Chris

This is an area where I think cost and expectation plus hi fi angst are taking control. There's no reason why streaming noughts and ones could or should alter the sound, either it'll play, you'll get drop outs, or it won't. However optical digital is jitter prone and this may affect the performance of the DAC it's plugged into. ADM9.1s have sample rate conversion and no jitter. Not all DACs do and most are sold as having "high immunity", the implication being it isn't needed.

On the subject of varying the Bitrate, I was more careful having assumed the AE to be streaming more than 16 Bit. We measured it and an SB3 to verify what they actually did. Afterwards Martin and I did the Audio Midi alterations while a track was playing starting at 24/96. At each change they was a digital "crack" and the setting we'd entered didn't alter. We didn't measure but we did assume, now we'll measure and report afterwards.

Over the years I've watched reviewers succomb to the utterly false charms of some manufacturers and it's made my flesh creep! I like people I trust them implicitly til something happens to persuade me I shouldn't. I'm plain spoken, I often make mistakes and I'm often embarrassed when I'm corrected, but I'd rather be corrected and criticised than not and I think most of us are probably like that, certainly where no hurt or offence is intended. Please forgive me!

I'll finish if all DACs equal or exceed 24 Bit spec and none cost more than $4, why should an M-Audio 2496 from a World leader, necessarily be worse than a more expensive sound card?

My Touch didn't arrive today so I have something to look forward to tomorrow!

Ash

 

 

 

 

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I use an ATV in my relatively humble setup... I run it's optical out to a PS Audio Digital Link III DAC (Stage 3 modified by Cullen Circuits). All I can say, is wow!!! For almost $100USD less than the cost of a Slim Devices Transporter, I get audio quality that is truly terrific to my ears. I think ATV gets ignored. Concerns about jitter from its optical out are noted... However, IME, w/ the DAC I use, I sense zero sound degradation. Granted, some people prefer NOS DACs...that's another discussion (Re: upsampling & its impact on jitter)....

 

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Ash - that's new learning for me - thanks. Do you have to set iTunes, basis your experience to "higher" sample/bitrate and it auto adjusts down or will it auto adjust up from a lower base setting? I hate plug and play sometimes, but I love use and forget!

 

Thanks

George

 

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Hmm ... According to all my sources and Stereophile & Benchmark iTunes must be closed and reopened.

 

http://www.stereophile.com/headphones/108bench/index5.html

 

Manufacturer's Comment #2

 

"...After extensive testing and communicating directly with the engineering team at Apple, some of these initial observations have been explained ... If the user changes CoreAudio's sample-rate in AudioMIDI Setup to something different than what iTunes is locked to, CoreAudio will convert the sample rate of the audio that it is receiving from iTunes. In this case, the audio may be undergoing two levels of sample-rate conversion (once by iTunes and once by CoreAudio). (The SRC in iTunes is of very high quality (virtually inaudible), but the SRC in CoreAudio is horrible and will cause significant distortion.) If the user wants to change the sample rate of CoreAudio, iTunes should be restarted so that it can lock to the correct sample rate..."

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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The jitter levels in even very modest digital equipment are below the measurable threshold of human hearing. Which, of course, doesn't keep some people from hearing it. But I still contend that, for me anyway, jitter is timing errors measured in picoseconds, being thrown at a brain that responds in long, slow minutes. I'll not spend any time or money fretting over jitter.

 

Seriously, full dropouts of timing intervals as small as the average jitter measurements would not be audible, yet we will spend serious dollars to eradicate timing shifts as small? Run the optical from the AE to the DAC of choice and enjoy the music.

 

Tim

 

PS: I'm not at all surprised at Ashley's findings. Apple is not an audiophile component company by any definition. But they move zeros and ones around, and apply them to audio about as well as anyone on the planet.

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Tim you're probably right. An engineer friend of ours did a computer analysis that said the same, however in a complete redesign of the preamp and DAC section of the ADM9.1s, we thought it wise to silence the neurotics who were out for our blood on certain Fora, so we completely eliminated jitter and used the latest DAC and an improved filter. Martin's conclusion is that eliminating the jitter has measurably dropped the noise floor.

 

Most of the problems that DACs have caused amplifiers are, as I understand it, are out of band hash/RFI.

People seem to get different results from the DAC and this is a possible explanation.

 

Paul White of Sound On Sound tells us that the best music software you can buy is Apple and that a significant amount of the music and also movies we listen to and watch has been at least in part been Apple'd, so we reckon they are probably the best place to start if you want a digital Audiophile system.

 

Ashley

 

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It's hard to argue with Core Audio. And the overwhelming majority of production people don't try. I know there are some folks out there producing audio and video on PCs. But the few I've known personally did it for the original cost of entry or to adhere to corporate standards (IT didn't want any Macs in the building), and have come to regret it.

 

Regarding fear and loathing and the eradication of jitter....

 

 

 

"I hear jitter, people!"

 

Noise floor? Well below the level of the voices in my head.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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