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AppleTV as Music Server?

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Aside from the small HD, which can be upgraded, is there any serious downside to using an AppleTV as a music server?


I know they can hook into music streamed from elsewhere, but you can put music files directly on their local HD, too, right?



MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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Hi watchnerd - You can certainly do this but I think it's kind of awkward without hacking the Apple TV. You can't just copy music to it like a network disk, you have to sync it with one library or link to another library from the unit. Apple TV has resolution limitations as well.


Instead of storing your music on the ATV you can always use it like AirTunes and just pipe your music over to the ATV via another computer. Still have limitations but is another option.


Many people are using the ATV and they absolutely love it, so I say go for it!


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Syncing it is fine if it ultimately ends up with files being stored on the ATV itself, then played via a digital out of the ATV into my main home theatre system.


What I'm not real keen on is streaming audio real time during playback over wireless as I have a lot of interference that makes for spotty wifi at times.


Can you use 'regular' iTunes with the ATV, or is it limited to a Front Row like experience?


MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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Hi, I Currently use an Apple TV for my main system - and I find it works very well.

I Sync my iMac to the apple TV (only the albums I want/Need access to :D) and use the ATV as

a Stand alone Music Server - I Also Use my iPhone as a remote which is well worth doing

as apples remote constantly gets lost! :)

anyway heres a breakdown of my system if you've any questions - fire away! :)


22" Samsung Monitor (£199 PC World) with HDMI to DVI Lead

AppleTV (Fitted with a 250gig HD with Lossless albums, Latest 2.1 Firmware)

Marantz KI63 Mk2 (Ten Years young! )

Altmann DAC (With Paul Hynes PSU)

EAR 834T Amp (now upgraded to Border Patrol P20 :D )

ProAc D38 Speakers


Cables are:

Chord Sig Digital

Chord Sig Interconnects

Chord Sig Speaker Cables

Nordost White Light Glass Optical (Apple TV to DAC)


Rack is Sound Organization - spiked and Currently sitting

on two Large Slate Slabs I used to have my Speakers on - But I Didn't like what it did to the Sound so They're Parked under the Rack :)


The Sound Panels are Swedish Snow Crash 'Lunas' - They have really sorted the Bass Problem out that I was Having!


I listen to a Very Wide Selection of Music from 70'/80's/Pop/Rock/Jazz to Modern House/Electronic/Rock & Pop


Sound Quality is very nice - and the Altmann 'De-Jitter' Circuit seems to Work well, The Apple TV is a great solution as a jukebox

cheap too - £100ish ebay second hand and £58 for the new 250 HD! ;)










u72/Andy[br]Current Setup[br]iMac/Apple TV/Marantz KI 63mkII > Altmann Attraction DAC (Turbo\'d) > Border Patrol CU (Turbo\'d) > Border Patrol P20 > ProAc D38[br]

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Thanks much for the detailed reply.


When compared to using a Mac Mini or MacBook Pro, what are the relatives advantages and disadvantages of using AppleTV as a music server?


MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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Hi Watchnerd,


Advantages : -

Cost £100ish secondhand for 40GB version (Upgradable quite easily to a current max of 250GB HD)

Power Consumption is Very Low


Small and can be completely hidden if you use the wireless iPhone/iPod Touch option rather than apple Inferred Remote

If You use an iphone/ipodtouch you don't even need a monitor :)

Passes Bit Perfect Data to an external DAC via Optical (This is the Option I Use)

Keeps you Music collection nice and organized using iTunes (With artwork)

You can use it as a Divx player once hacked (With AC3 DD5.1 Passthough)

no keyboard/mouse required

no powerbrick (mains plugs straight in)


Disadvantages : -

No Inbuilt CD/DVD Drive

Not Quite as Flexable as a full blown MACmini/Macbook - but these cost quite a bit more.

no keyboard/mouse - you'll have to edit your music library on a PC/Mac


anyway, its late i'll add a few more tomorrow, heres a list of links to hack an ATV :)



u72/Andy[br]Current Setup[br]iMac/Apple TV/Marantz KI 63mkII > Altmann Attraction DAC (Turbo\'d) > Border Patrol CU (Turbo\'d) > Border Patrol P20 > ProAc D38[br]

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Like most mass-market devices for streaming audio, the problem with Apple TV is the jitter. The internal DAC's are junk just like in the AirPort Express and Squeezebox, Sonos etc., so dont even go there. The digital outputs on the Apple products have some of the worst jitter, although the ATV is a bit better than the AirPort Express.


The point is that all of these can be great, even better than the best transports if they are reclocked with a good reclocker. I would not consider any of them without it. This JISCO is a reasonable solution, although you can do a LOT better.


Steve N.

Empirical Audio


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Hi, the JISCO function on my DAC does do quite a good job with the ATV regarding Jitter

Can you Suggest a Good Reclocker?


i'm mulling over getting the Digital Lens Product PSAudio Detail here :




Looks like a great solution




u72/Andy[br]Current Setup[br]iMac/Apple TV/Marantz KI 63mkII > Altmann Attraction DAC (Turbo\'d) > Border Patrol CU (Turbo\'d) > Border Patrol P20 > ProAc D38[br]

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Okay .. that's a worrying comment re the digital outputs. Right now that doesn't affect me, since I'm outputting via USB to an external DAC.


But, given that I'm considering purchasing the AVI ADM9.1s, from which the USB input has been removed, am I not going to get jitter problems .. ?


Chris - could you make that part of your AVI AMD comparison - I understand the first models have USB inputs and the new ones don't.



HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Umm ...


A previous post mentioned that jitter from the macs digital output is pretty bad.

The original ADM9's have a USB input, so you're not using the Mac's digital output. The new ADM9.1s do not have a USB input, so I understand, so you'll have to use the Mac's digital output.

Whilst I'm sure the ADM9.1s are an improvement on the 9's, surely by losing the USB input you're not going to get the best signal from the Mac into the speaker ?


Does that make sense or am I confused ?





HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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The ADM9.1 DAC completely eliminates jitter and uses a far better DAC than the Burr Brown USB Audio codec than was in the original model.


As someone else has pointed out on this Forum, Jitter isn't really an issue and a hi fi enthusiasts wouldn't know if it was, all he'd know was the sound wasn't right, not why.


Optical digital is probably the International standard and therefore the most versatile, which is why it is all we are asked for. Very few bought the USB version and it did not dovetail with the very much more sophisticated 9.1s, so we dropped it.


I use an Apple TV, I sync it to my Laptop, I stream to it from the Laptop and a PC and I control it from either the little white remote it came with or my Touch, ether is excellent. I'd say that an ATV is like so many Apple products, you buy it wondering if you really need it and wondering how much use it will be and when you get it, you are blown away. As the front end, it's perfect and I love it. It's limited to 720 for HD and that's the same as my 36" Panasonic so it's not an issue for me.


Please remember that jitter is only an issue at either the A to D or D to A stage and that most modern DACs are sold has having a high immunity. Much more of a problem is digital hash. I did a Dem this morning to an Airport Express owner. He hated it and complained that it sounded much worse than his CD player. He had an expensive separates system yet when I played one through one of our V2 Amps to a pair of Neutron 5s, which cost £399 he reckoned it was the best sound he'd heard. It doesn't sound as good as the DAC in the ADM9.1's but it sounds all right into a power amp that can cope with a bit of unwanted crap on the signal leads. This was the reason certain manufacturers squealed that CD wasn't ready all those years ago. Some still haven't got their heads round it!




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Hey beemb - I get what you're saying. There isn't a black & white answer about optical v. usb. There are so many variables involved. There is the source (Mac) and the DAC (AVI) to consider and a host of other things. So, one could wind up liking optical better than usb by changing any part in the audio chain.


Anyway, I will certainly run the ADM9 & 9.1s through many configurations and I am open to suggestions if anyone wants to hear anything specific.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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The problem with USB DACs is that they tie people to computers when most prefer to stream and Apple is all Optical anyway.


The other more important issue is that the USB standard is 16 bit and to get 24 bit out of it, you need to install drivers. Our USB was plug and play and 16 bit only. The downside of a 16 bit DAC is much higher levels of digital Hash.


As I said before, nobody wants USB and most are buying Apple to go with ADM9.1s and Apple do seem to be replacing Hi Fi as the Home Media Centre of choice, as they say it's the GUI, all noughts and one being equal. Therefore we've designed the best DAC possible and eliminated jitter completely as a precaution.






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Wow, the BOLD get BOLDER :-)


Thanks for the opinion Ashley, but I think your talking about your market share and that doesn't necessarily equate to "nobody wants USB."


There are some very high-end USB DACs available and in fact some manufacturers have told me they would like to remove the optical input and go with USB and coax only. The fact that some very well respected companies are releasing USB DACs is a good sign that USB can be implemented very well and that people want to purchase USB DACs. Given the state of high-end sales in the US I am pretty sure these manufacturers would not create a product for "nobody."


I am on the Apple bandwagon much the same as you are, but there are places where better performing products win out. I certainly use the best product for the job whether it's an Apple product or something altogether different.


One more thing, a few manufacturers such as Benchmark, Wavelength, and Empirical Audio offer 24/96 USB DACs that don't require drivers :-)


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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You're absolutely right that it's our experience and not that of the hi end market. However, and I've just spent some time on the phone to an extremely highly qualified Digital and RF, Defence Avionics Engineer to make sure of my facts. These are as follows.


1. That there is no technical advantage in either system (USB or Opt/coax) of extracting the data. Both can be proven to be 100% accurate.


2. That USB2 spec means a maximum cable length of 2 Metres where opto can be more than 10 metres, which is useful.


2. That PCs only tend to have USB only out.


3. That Satellite receivers, DVD, players, CD players, Xbox, PS3, TVs, Apple Computers and practically everything else has optical digital out, hence there being more demand for it


4. That the 9.1 pre has two optical sockets, but one can be ordered as coaxial. The difference is the socket only, the data can still be proved to be 100% accurate.


This is provable scientific fact and has proved unpopular in hi fi circles, but it is verifiable or I'd not have mentioned it. Therefore I've gone to great lengths on our website to give explanations of why our ears can deceive us and cited Experiments done by various (American and UK) Universities that support them.


All sort of different approaches are tried by different manufacturers and they will have their reasons, all we're doing is providing simplest, most technically elegant and best sounding hi fi system that we can for a price anyone can afford. It doesn't have pretensions, it's wysiwyg through and through. To us there is a tendency amongst serious enthusiasts to look for more complex solutions than they need, maybe that is the appeal. Certainly in the Digital age it's been very difficult for some to come to terms with the fact that the noughts and ones from a PS3 are as good as those from a fearfully expensive "high end server".


With sincere apologies for the forthright stance, but much depends on this for us.





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As someone who bought the USB version I can say that I am extremely happy with them, but I will be upgrading to the 9.1s when they become available in the States. Not only for the chance to play 24-bit material, but because as Ashley says the optical input is just more universal. The USB is fine for my Mac Mini, but I am pretty much shut out with everything else. I am close to getting an Apple TV in the future, but I am holding out hope that they upgrade it with a simple version of Safari and or a tv tuner. Basically I could care less about the hookup, as long as it sounds good. Ashley, just out of curosity could Firewire have been implimented in the 9.1s?



ADM9.1s ,2.0 Ghz Mac Mini, Panasonic BD-35 blu-ray player.

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Radar I'm really pleased they've been a success and delighted you're prepared to upgrade after such a short period of ownership of the originals, which are pretty damn good in their own right. We'll be sending Tom at Overture Imports his consignment is about three weeks.


Firewire isn't practical in ADM9.1s and is less universal than USB.


I have to say that it really a pleasure to be on a site where people are so interested, friendly and tolerant of what looks dangerously like an AVI advertorial at present, I'm sure it will change soon, but on certain UK Forums the treatments metered out to ADM9 owners has been appalling. It's hard to believe that a piece of Hi Fi and one that saves money an improves performance, can be the cause of such viciousness and controversy.


It is extremely far sighted of Chris to have founded this site, it's exactly what's needed and it is the future of audio. AVI is extremely grateful to you. I really hope it's the success it deserves to be.




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Enough about ADM9s. We all know they're the best you can get ;)


I think I want an Apple TV but expect I'll have to hack it.


I want it to run standalone really, and I want it to get 1TB of video, photo and music off of either a NAS or USB or Firewire drive.


I want it to play my exisiting DivX vids without having to convert them all.


I know I can control it from my Touch, and slot it straight into my ADM9.1s.


I currently use a PS3 for video streaming as it plays DivX and works quite well, albeit noisy and ugly.


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You guys keeping making great products and I will continue be a happy customer. I had your pre-amp before the ADM9s, and was saving up for your power amp and a pair of Duos when the ADM9s were announced. The claims seemed a little too good to be true at first, but you guys have never led me astray, so here I am one year on and a very happy fellow. I do admit I will miss the analog to digital conversion ability of the USB version. How about a standalone ADC in an amp pak sized enclosure? You are right this a cool and very useful site. Probably the biggest reason I wanted to go the computer route was because I was looking for a way to consolidate all of my digital media and it seemed the best way. It also sounds good to boot.



I would think that the 160GB hard drive version would be enough to store a lot of your media. You can always stream other media to the device from a server. Talking to the guys at the Apple store, it sounds like it handles streaming pretty well except for larger files. I have thought about trying the hacking route, but I know when it first came out there was something in the ATV that would reset the software. I still do not know if this is the case.


ADM9.1s ,2.0 Ghz Mac Mini, Panasonic BD-35 blu-ray player.

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