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AppleTV as an audiophile client


agentsmith
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Currently a Squeezebox 2/Benchmark/Naim user and am getting sick of the slow and clumsy Squeeze interface and also the restriction to 24/48KHz output.

 

Like some others I just bought an iPod Touch and found the Remote interface to iTunes slick and much superior to the Squeeze in usability.

 

As a result I am thinking of changing the music player to iTunes based. The most seamless way seems to be an AppleTV Vs a Mac Mini since I can access the AppleTV much easier using Windows based laptops.

 

My main question is the suitability of the AppleTV connecting to a DAC:

 

- Is it capable of 24/96 or even 24/192 output to a DAC?

 

- I know it does not have SPDIF, can it output audio via USB?

 

- How does it compare sinically to the Mac Mini? The Mac Mini is the causing quite a stir over at the Naim forum connecting to a Lavry DAC, being compared to a $6K CDX2 and even a CD 555.

 

Macbook Pro/MacMini/dCS Debussy/Cambridge 650BD[br]Vitus Audio SS-010/Living Voice OBX-R2 Speakers/Ultrasone Edition 8 phones[br]Airport Express/Meridian AD88[br]

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From the spec sheet it looks as if the Apple TV has an optical audio out so it should connect to a Lavry DAC in the same way as the Naim guys are doing with the optical outs on their MacBook/ mac minis and it should sound the same.

 

I believe it will not output audio via USB. I see Ashley uses an Apple TV as a music server, so perhaps he'll read this and confirm.

 

hFX Classic fanless i7 SSD > Locus Nucleus / SW Diverter HR > RWA Isabella LFP-V Pro / New Sensor Genalex Gold Lion E88CC > ALO Sennheiser HD 800 balanced[br]

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A number of my customers are using both AirPort Express and AppleTV with a Pace-Car reclocker, which outputs either S/PDIF coax or AES/EBU to the DAC of your choice.

 

The Pace-Car was developed to reduce jitter for these types of music servers. Jitter is the biggest problem with them, besides the fact that most do not support 24-bit/96kHz sample rate. Here is a recent review of the Pace-Car used directly from Toslink from a Mac laptop:

 

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue39/ramblings_computer.htm

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

 

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"My main question is the suitability of the AppleTV connecting to a DAC:

 

- Is it capable of 24/96 or even 24/192 output to a DAC?

 

- I know it does not have SPDIF, can it output audio via USB?"

 

 

So far my Apply TV is downsampling everything to 44.1 kHz, but it is playing native 16/44.1 tracks bit perfect. The sound is another thing altogether. Apple TV is not my favorite compared to the Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC / Lynx combination :-)

 

As far as I know it can only output audio via Toslink, HDMI, and analog not USB.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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