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IntlManOfDanger
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iTunes 24/96 wireless to Apple TV2, then outboard DAC

I'm just dipping my toe in the computer audio waters. I have an iMac and wish to download 24/96 audio to be played through iTunes on my home theater/stereo system, which is in a separate room from my iMac. I do not wish to run Ethernet cable.

An Apple support engineer told me that the gen 2 Apple TV supports 24/96 audio, and that Airport Express does not downconvert 24/96 when the bits are passed wirelessly from the Mac to Apple TV. If this is true, it should then be possible to pass 24/96 audio from my iMac to Apple TV, and from Apple TV's Toslink to an outboard DAC.

Can someone please confirm if all of this is true, or if there are some gotchas that I have missed?

Kevin

dumbo
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....

Unless there has been a late breaking development in i-Tunes that I am not aware of i-Tunes doesn't do 24/96 music files without the use of additional 3rd party software. You may be able to insert a SACD into your PC and rip it to i-Tunes but it will down covert it to 16bit if using just i-tunes software.

The Apple hardware itself may be able to do what the support rep suggests on its own as long you don't use i-Tunes software on it own to maintain your music library.

In my opinion everyone would be doing themselves a favor by getting away from the i-tunes proprietary music formats while your still in the early stages of this hobby. Any company that forces you to use their software to play YOUR music and then at the same time having the balls to lock you down to x number of computers that it can be played on has a hidden agenda.

IntlManOfDanger
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iTunes isn't the problem, Airport wirelss is...

Of course, the "hidden agenda" is the same one as that shared by Bill Gates and nearly every other businessman: lock people into buying your stuff, not the other guys'. In my opinion, Apple offers enough reasons for people to buy its products without ensnaring them in a proprietary hi-res format, a silly strategy in any event, given the little world (ie. market) in which we audiophiles exist relative to Apple's overall business. I do not foresee a world in which countless Mac users stick reluctantly with Apple due to their personal investment in ripping hi-res, downloaded audio to Apple Lossless. But I agree, Apple Lossless seems an unnecessary irritation.

And yes, hi-res would have to be downloaded, because SACDs cannot be ripped to anything; only their CD layer - if they have one - can be ripped. This has nothing to do with iTunes, and everything to do with digital rights management on SACD.

In any event, as reported by Stereophile and many others, iTunes does indeed support 24/96, so that's not the issue. The question is whether or not Airport Express can wirelessly stream 24/96 without downconverting to 16/44. The Apple support rep I spoke with said yes, but increasingly I see posts in many forums that say no.

In fact, the latter now seems more likely and logical (though unfortunate), given the rising interest in the Squeezebox Touch for a listener whose computer is in a room separated from his stereo, and for whom Ethernet cable is anathema. For a pittance, it can wirelessly stream 24/96 iTunes files from Mac or Windows to the 'Box, thence to a favorite DAC, preamp, etc., via Toslink, coax, or USB. John Atkinson has confirmed that he plays Apple Lossless through the Squeezebox with no problem.

It may be that Apple will later revise the specs of its wi-fi networking to enable streaming of 24/96 without downconverting. Regardless, I'm now a daddy step or two closer to forging ahead with the Squeezebox and an outboard DAC as my wireless streaming solution of necessity, and preference. And iTunes will still be in the mix, also by preference.

Drtrey3
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I rip my cds

the same way I rip my vinyl, I use the computer like a casette recorder, play the file, and record from the analog outs.

Low tech, best sound I can get from the sacds given their drm. This way the family can just pull the music up on J River and push a button rather than find the disc. I usually go for the disc, but then I am the audiophile in the family.

Trey

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I'd be leary

of the newer Apple TVs and the use of an outboard DAC. I use an airport express (wireless G version) to feed my outboard DAC and it works great. On a lark I decided to try the wireless N version of the AE and I had lots of problems with the DAC losing sync.

Searching around it was a pretty well documented problem with many DAC manufactures claiming they told Apple about the problem and that Apple was unresponsive.

Hence my hesitation with the Apple TV. It might suffer from the same problem. If you decide to go that route I'd definitely buy it from a store nearby so that its easy to return.

IntlManOfDanger
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I've been told by a user that Apple TV 2 works...

...and he's a music producer. He also tells me he's streaming 24/96 to it from his computer via AE, but he didn't indicate which version of AE. However, he has not confirmed objectively (eg. through status display on his preamp) that he is indeed getting 24/96 OUT of ATV2. He just says it sounds good and is there's no loss of quality.

John Atkinson
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iTunes Sample Rates
dumbo wrote:
Unless there has been a late breaking development in i-Tunes that I am not aware of i-Tunes doesn't do 24/96 music files without the use of additional 3rd party software.

I am sorry but this is just plain wrong. iTunes will support files with sample rates up to 192kHz. However, whether it will playback those files without downsampling will depend on the hardware you are using. The Mac computer's internal soundcard is limited to 96kHz and won't play 88.2kHz files without resampling, for example.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

designmule
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ATV2 No go

I was reading up a bit on the subject of the original post and I don't think the Apple TV2 will pass on 24/96k audio.

http://www.psaudio.com/ps/newsletters/march-2008/

"Now, it still has a jittered output, it’s still limited to red book CD but the good news is the ATV is not limited by hardware to red book standards (as the iPods, Slim Devices and Sonos appear to be) and technically it may be possible to output higher bit and sample rates if Apple decides to allow it with a software upgrade."

The article is from 2008 and maybe the changes mentioned have been made but based on my experience (see previous post) I'm skeptical that Apple has done us any favors.

IntlManOfDanger
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ATV2 handles 24/96

Apple technical specs show that Apple TV 2 handles 24/96, and to restate my earlier comments and John Atkinson's, so does iTunes. The weak link in the chain appears to be Airport Express. Next stop: Squeezebox Touch.

JIMV
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Pure Magic Software
IntlManOfDanger wrote:

I'm just dipping my toe in the computer audio waters.

Kevin

I cannot say anything about wireless BUT, I can say Pure Music software from Channel D with iTunes is magic and far better than iTunes alone...and it does 24/96.

deckeda
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Got a link for us?
IntlManOfDanger wrote:

Apple technical specs show that Apple TV 2 handles 24/96, ...

The only thing I've ever seen on their specs page describes the types of files it can accept for playback, not what it can then output from its TosLink or HDMI ports.

ATV2 will indeed playback 24/96 files from iTunes wirelessly via a typical 802.11g home router (if on a Mac ensure the Audio Midi app is set for 24/96 first) but there's no guarantee I know of that it's not downsampling first prior to outputting; otherwise my Panasonic TV has a DAC in it that handles 24/96 I suppose.

I don't have a DAC connected to my ATV2's TosLink, but surely one of you out there at least has a fancy surround sound receiver connected to one via HDMI (or TosLink) that can report on the type of digital signal it's being sent from the ATV2?

catalogguy
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Can we back up for a sec, please?

Hi, I have been searching the Internet and the forums here to get a handle on importing my cd's. The intention is to move away from using the physical cd's and begin using my PC as the source. I already have an iPhone and all my cd's in itunes, but as crappy MP3's (I knew when I imported them all I would likely face this day when I had to perform rework). Well, now I want to understand the import process and bring the cd's in again, hopefully at such a high quality level that it will last me for the long term.

I have come to believe that a lossless format will sufficiently preserve the quality of the music. Also, I think that if I use the Apple lossless, that I can enjoy the convenient metadata of song name, album, artwork, etc., that is available in itunes. Further, itunes allows me to get going with some nifty gadgets like Airport Express.

Now, I changed my itunes settings to Lossless and error correction. I imported Sting Symphonicities. The system is not connected yet, so I don't really know what I am doing, but trying to get the process right. The songs show up as 44.1kHz and the kbps vary from 701-900.

People are posting about higher numbers such as 192, etc. Am I ok if I choose not to worry about it? What would I be missing? The song list does not display the encoder format, although I have looked through the check box options View/View Options menus. Are there other settings in itunes I have not discovered?

It seems any alternative means moving away from itunes, which may be fine in the future, but itunes is convenient for now. Any input you could share would be appreciated.

And thank you for this place. This is by far the most polite, on point, and informative online forum on this subject.

IntlManOfDanger
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For CDs, 192kHz is not an issue...

...because music CDs by definition and standard contain data sampled only at 44.1kHz. Therefore lossless ripping results only in 44.1kHz data.

Music files with higher sample rates such as 192kHz can be stored in iTunes - on your computer, but not on iOS devices like the iPod, iPad, or iPhone - but this is possible only when files with that higher resolution are downloaded directly from a hi-res music provider, for example from a website such as HDtracks.

Airport Express is indeed handy, but at present it appears that it cannot wirelessly stream hi-res music files from your computer without downconverting them to 44.1, or possibly worse. Apple is aggravatingly mum on this topic, but the consensus of opinion that I have read supports this view. However, should you have no interest in purchasing and listening to hi-res music, Airport Express will likely be perfectly serviceable.

Since hi-res IS important to me, I retain Airport Express for my "normal" wireless networking, but I have recently purchased Squeezebox Touch to handle wireless streaming of hi-res music (max of 96kHz) to my stereo. It can also directly access the iTunes library on one's computer, which is important to you and me.

As a coda, lest you grinningly grow giddy (sorry, it's late) thinking that SACD is your hi-res detour around downloading, Digital Rights Management makes it impossible to rip SACDs to your computer.

catalogguy
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oki doki - will rip anew

Thanks, IMoD, that is very helpful information. Since I am starting from CD's, 44.1kHz is as good as the source, so I will be able to import once (once more that is), and then likely not have to touch the physical media again. Downloading the hires will wait for a future system, etc.

The Airport Express may come today and be gone tomorrow (hopefully it will last longer than that), but distinguishable is the time I will be spending to reimport my CD's where I will be glad to have a set of permanent data files that can transition with me to future systems.

deckeda
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catalogguy wrote: ...The song
catalogguy wrote:

...The song list does not display the encoder format, although I have looked through the check box options View/View Options menus. Are there other settings in itunes I have not discovered? ...

FWIW, bit rate and sample rate can be shown from the song list in the View/View Options menu.

But for each song, doing a "Get Info" on it (in the File menu, and then click the Summary tab when the window comes up) will reveal such things as bit rate, and sample rate and sample size. The latter two will correspond with the commonly-seen Internet descriptors of 16/44, 24/88, 24/96, 24/192 etc.

The "Kind" field of course will reveal your song's format. Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV, MP3, AAC etc.

Keep in mind that the bitrate for Apple Lossless is variable because that's how the format works, like an MP3 that uses VBR (variable bit rate).

Bottom line: for ripping CDs, set iTunes to import as Apple Lossless. You'll retain whatever's on the CD at the original resolution but have smaller files than you'd have with AIFF or WAV.

You can always make copies later in other formats from Apple Lossles (ALAC), either within iTunes by changing its import prefs and "converting" (it makes a copy, actually), or by using 3rd-party software, much of which can easily deal with ALAC files.

ytsejam
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Hi all, I did a little test

Hi all,

I did a little test on this, and have look at here:

 

Possibility for Airplay/AirTunes to Airport Express with Hi-Res Audio

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