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iTunes Playing Various Sample Rates Natively On-The-Fly


Van G

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Is it a function of iTunes or Mac OS that prevents iTunes from being able to adjust (on-the-fly) the output to match the native resolution of the track presented? If iTunes, do you see a change being made now that Apple is moving towards higher rez tracks for sale?

 

I know that pure music overcomes this challenge but I'm interested in using AirPlay & Remote App to feed a Denon 3311ci AVR across giganet, and would like to get bit perfect to the AVR DAC's while using an iOS device as the control.

 

Same question when the iTunes library is on a NAS or USB drive connected to router?

 

Goal is to get the best midfi I can get to multiple zones in our house while having rich library interaction (scroll album art).

 

Van G

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It's iTunes that is the problem I believe. iTunes does SRC based on the sample rate set in Audio MIDI Setup. The API's exist in OS X to do this, else Audirvana, Decibel, etc wouldn't work.

 

Not sure why Apple hasn't caught up on this particular front. Of course this all assumes that the difference between native playback and SRC is even audible given the equipment you are playing it back on.

 

I have a Denon 3311 myself driving older B&W DM60x speakers in my HT rig. The last thing I'm worrying about is whether I can hear the SRC when I play back music thru the Denon or via the ATV 2.

 

You might want to take a high res track and play it back with Audio MIDI set to the native rate, and then let iTunes SRC it and see if you hear the difference on the Denon.

 

Rig 1: CM9s2, CM8s2, CMC, VTF-15H, Emotiva XMC-1, XPA-5, Aries Deluxe via S/PDIF

Rig 2: Sennheiser HD650, Woo WA-2, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Sony HAP-Z1ES

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Good Advice, I'll simply start with basics and build from there.

 

So, if I have an iPad and the Denon: What is the best way to get my music library to the Denon using the Apple Remote App?

 

Music library can be stored on my PC, PC based NAS, or USB drive connected to router on network?

 

I would consider using DNLA from PC to Denon but the remote app for the Denon is faily basic. Would like to be able to browse library (scrolling through album art, playlists, DJ).

 

 

 

Van G

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With a $50 firmware upgrade.

 

Essentially this means, you install the firmware upgrade, plug it into your LAN, and within a very few seconds, it will appear in iTunes (and in REMOTE) as a new speaker. Just select that "speaker" and you are playing music.

 

That's all there is to it mate.

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Okay, so here's my AirPlay question:

 

If I'm using the iPad (wifi connected) and using the music library a NAS or USB drive, which path does the file take?:

 

- does it go wireless to the iPad and then get sent to the router and across ethernet to the Denon?

-> if this is the path should I not be concerned with the iPad mucking the file?

 

- does the iPad simply act as a controller and direct the file from the storage, across ethernet, to the Denon?

 

One issue I have with AirPlay & Denon, if it's playing in extended zones you have to play it in main zone, but that's not really an issue to discuss here.

 

Van G

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You have several choices there, and some of them get a little confusing, and in part, depend upon the Denon's implementation of Airplay.

 

Take the simple example first:

 

[iTunes Library] -> [iTunes Server] - - - - - - [Denon] - - - [iPad]

 

In the setup above, you have one iTunes Library, controlled by one iTunes Server.

 

From the iTunes Server, you can select the Denon as the output, and music will play there from the iTunes server.

 

From the iPad, you can connect to the iTunes Library, and see what is playing on the Denon, stop, start, change the track, play another song etc. You can also turn on and off additional "speakers" as you choose, including the Denon.

 

In other words, in the most simple setup, the music is playing on the server, and the server is doing all the work.

 

That's the basic setup, you have a lot of other options.

 

I started to write some of the other options down, but found myself 6 paragraphs down barely scratching the surface. I'll write it up with spell checking and take the time to make it readable. -Paul

 

Suffice it to say, the iPad can act as:

    A controller for the main library (remote)
    As a standalone library (iPod application) with files stored on the iPad, with access to remote speakers (the Denon)
    A standalone library with the files shared from your main iTunes library (iPod application), again able to play to any remote speaker.
    a combination of the above

 

It gets complex. An AppleTV in the mix can do basically the same thing, and like the iPad, also gives you the equivalent of wireless zones and zone controllers.

 

More, the iPad can control the Apple TV too, even when it is acting like a remote zone.

 

But don't let all that confuse you, the basic answer is just a simple, whatever path you want it to take at the moment. :)

 

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Two options:

1) Run iTunes on a remote Computer and use the iPad to control it via the Remote app.

2) Use iTunes on your iPad and send the audio to your Denon

 

In either case the music media can either be local via a USB drive on the computer or stored on the iPad, or accessed across the network from a NAS.

 

The files only go directly from a NAS to the Denon if you use DLNA. If you use Airplay (and want the nice iTunes interface), the files are streamed from iTunes (disk->iTunes->Denon).

 

Another option is to consider a Squeezebox Touch.

 

Actually, what I really recommend as a low cost, midfi alternative is get an Apple TV 2 for $99. The audio will be resampled to 48k, but it is a very elegant solution with the benefit of all the video features as well. It can either be controlled via the TV or via the iPad Remote app. The Airplay firmware is $50 for the Denon.

 

Unless you have a high-end home theater rig with audiophile amps and speakers (some folks do, certainly), I think convenience is more important than ultimate fidelity.

 

Rig 1: CM9s2, CM8s2, CMC, VTF-15H, Emotiva XMC-1, XPA-5, Aries Deluxe via S/PDIF

Rig 2: Sennheiser HD650, Woo WA-2, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Sony HAP-Z1ES

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Thanks Paul, I'm interested in discussing this more.

 

Are all paths created equal when working with Apple products? ie: will the SQ be the same with all paths? 44.1/16 or 96/24

 

If the library is on a NAS or USB Drive, what are my options to use as a server connected to the ethernet? Apple TV would be the cheapest but is it good SQ? I have a PC but Apple Remote won't play nice with it and the remote operation on the iPad is important.

 

Ideally I would like to hold off spending the money on MacMini and DAC until I've proven the 'lesser' solution inadequate. At the end of the day it seems that the only way to get real zone flexibility from the AVR is to supply analog source. In which case I would not be using AirPlay.

 

 

 

Van G

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All paths created equal?

Pretty much, though it is arguable. I do not think I hear any difference in the same music streamed from my iPad as from the server. I know that a poor recording streamed either way shows all it flaws, and a great recording still sounds great.

 

Server options

Either a Mac or a Window machine works great with a NAS device. However, there are some issues with sharing one copy of the library and music files among multiple servers. That's a whole conversation by itself. :)

 

Do you mean the IR Apple Remote, or the REMOTE application running on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch? If REMOTE, it will work perfectly with a PC.

 

Zone Flexibilty

Well, I am thinking that wired zones are kind of a thing of the past. I much prefer the flexibility of unwired zones, and no drilling holes and fishing cables all over the place. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The ATV is connected via HDMI - does that not work on Zones?

 

The ATV 2 has a fixed 48k output I think, so everything will be SRC'd. But I don't think mine sounds bad for casual listening at all. If you are looking for audiophile quality serious listening, that's kinda blown with the Denon to start with.

 

You should be able to use a NAS such as the QNAP, which has an iTunes server mode, to serve up the media to the iPad, which then uses Airplay to play the content on the Denon. Of course the files are making two trips on the network - once to get to the iPad and again to be streamed to the Denon. The outbound path to the Denon will be over your wireless LAN of course. If the NAS is on ethernet with the Denon you should be ok.

 

I have not actually tried this myself - standard disclaimers apply.

 

http://www.qnap.com/pro_features_iTunes.asp

 

Rig 1: CM9s2, CM8s2, CMC, VTF-15H, Emotiva XMC-1, XPA-5, Aries Deluxe via S/PDIF

Rig 2: Sennheiser HD650, Woo WA-2, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, Sony HAP-Z1ES

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HDMI is fairly locked down as part of it's protection. Some of the AVR's are able to play 'all zones' with HDMI input (Yamaha Party Mode) but it won't let you pick & play zones.

 

 

My original setup was going to be MacMini -USB- rDAC -analog- Yamaha RX-A2000 -unbalanced- Emotiva UPA-7 knowing that the analog input from the rDAC would bypass the Yamaha processing.

 

It was then suggested in another thread that I give the uPNP (Yamaha) or DNLA (Denon) to see how I like the sound. I'm was all for this until it came to the control interface (rich GUI of Apple REMOTE vs. Interface of either Denon or Yamaha Appz).

 

Van G

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I was referring to the REMOTE App (Apple) that runs on iOS devices to control iTunes. I thought I needed the iTunes library to be on an OSX system?

 

So is this a good starting point since I have everything on hand except the iPad:

 

Win 7 64 bit box with giganet connection

iTunes with 'Home Sharing' enabled on PC

iPad on WiFi controlling the PC library

 

In this case, is AirPlay still being used?

 

The PC scenario is ideal since I have the equipment and could try JRiver as well.

 

 

 

 

Van G

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REMOTE the app works 100% with iTunes on Windows, just as on Macs. Indeed, I am using a Windows machine as my primary iTunes server right now.

 

If you connect the Win 7 box directly to the Denon, say with a coaxial cable, or through a DAC, then the music streams to the Denon are not transmitted by Airplay.

 

Using the REMOTE app, to play to the Denon, you would then choose "My Computer."

 

You gain some added flexibilty - as well as complexity! - by adding AirPlay to the Denon, but I would start first with just a direct connection. Once you are comfortable with all you can do that way, try adding Airplay to the Denon, and there are a few more things you can do too. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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This is a great starting point. If at all possible I would love to use either the dig coax or optical coax to connect directly to the Denon.

 

Denon digital inputs (S/PDIF) are very flexible in terms of which zone plays what: 3 separate sources in 3 zones.

 

The board is an Asus A8N-E which uses the Realtek ALC850. If I'm not using a USB DAC like the rDAC and starting with just a straight connection to the Denon, am I facing quality issues or am I able to get the file through "bit perfect?"

 

Actually, with this old system I already have a decent vid card with HDMI, 8 Gig RAM, Small SSD drive for system. I just need to add storage drives (internal SATA) and decide how to configure them (some flavour of RAID or JBOD).

 

Van G

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khollister, just took a look at the outputs of ATV2 and noticed the TosLink connection which makes this a good solution for my garage where the my old Yamaha RX-V1600 is going to power the Man Cave Theatre and two outdoor stereo zones.

 

Since it's an older receiver I'll have to use 'old school remote' for receiver control (sources, volume) but it's a great way to get things outside.

 

Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)

Micro-USB (for service and support): just read this can be hacked to allow USB HDD connection

 

Van G

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You can certainly get bit perfect results connecting up the digital output of your card, and I am finding that the sound is pretty darn good indeed.

 

I think this is certainly a great way to go, as you can avoid spending large sums and get a really good result.

 

IRT: Apple TV2 - you can connect the audio through the TosLink, and you will not have to have an active hdmi connection. If you run Audio through the HDMI, it will have to be active (i.e. The TV will have to be displaying the picture) for it to work.

 

You can of course, use both, one for video or when you want to gaze at album covers, and one for when you are outside. :)

 

-Paul

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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into the DACS onboard a NAD T747. Also tried several other DACS, including a DacMagic and a Benchmark. All sweet, but I really like the clean warn sound directly from the T747, as blasphemous as that sounds. :)

 

I was using the motherboard digital out and got really excellent results. I originally hooked up the V-Link to an old PowerPC Mac, but that turned into a train wreck pretty quickly.

 

I hooked that V-Link up to the PC while trouble shooting, and noticed that the music sounded different from the Motherboard Digital connection, better even. Not a lot better, but *I* think the imaging and bass are a little better.

 

It may be real, or it may be because I am braking a pair of little Maggies, and their sound keeps changing a little bit each day. Guess I will just have to listen some more! (If this is torture- chain me to the wall! :)

 

 

-Paul

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Great. I'll give it a go through coaxial off the board. Noticed 16GB iPad wifi's going for 275 so seems like a good entry point. Hoping Android will pull thorugh with a decent controller app in the near future so I can have a tablet that isn't closed system but we'll see.

 

Thanks Paul

 

Van G

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That is a very good deal indeed on an iPad, I would snap it up in a split second. :)

 

An iPad doesn't seem closed at all to me, but I can see where you are coming from. I'm not sure that an Android device is any more open to the average user though.

 

In any event, give it a go and have some fun! It's going to sound great!

 

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Did you go through any Win 7 mods/tweaks for your setup when running it direct to AVR? I've read an article here and on J River site.

 

I'm sure I'll like the iPad (ordered) but wish it would support flash so the web... was the web! Plan on using the tablet to read news while eating breakfast and most news/sports sites use flash for media delivery.

 

There are a number of iTunes remote appz for Android but they are buggy and not as good an interface. I'll wait until the Xoom price hits $300 and Honeycomb gets the wrinkles before I jump in.

 

Anyway, looking forward to it. Thanks again and enjoy those Maggies.

 

Van G

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I followed most of Chris' recommendations on setting up JRMC, though on 16 some of the menus have changed.

 

Windows is a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64bit - not from the restore partition on the HP disk - and has no extra software loaded other than iTunes/Quicktime/Safari, and a VNC server. Everything else is just "stock."

 

I didn't do the JRMC tweaks, none of them seemed of great benefit to me. Other than having to authorize network services the first time they fire up, I haven't had any issues.

 

-Paul

 

 

 

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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would like to get bit perfect to the AVR DAC's

 

If you have any cross overs (for a sub) or room corrections in use, most AVRs resample internally to 48 kHz or 96 kHz. And many do it in any case. Thus I would rather feed the AVR at it's internal native rate instead of sending it "bit perfect" data. Most likely any resampling on a PC is better than the cheap hardware resampler in AVR.

 

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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