No, you are not stupid at all. The Apple TV rivals good CD transports when setup correctly. Make sure the setting are right on the ATV/iTunes, import using Apple Lossless or AIFF and use a good DAC. A nice polished glass toslink optical cable is also a good idea, like the VanDenHul, WireWorld or Siltec.
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I have just ordered mine (Apple TV) and I will place the order for a DIP Upsampler as well.
Apple TV over Siltec glass cable to Monarchy audio DIP upsampler combo.
Dip upsampler over Veloce Black Cat digital cable to Bel Canto DAC 3.5VB
Its a pity that the new ATV support only 16/44, but I think it is a software limitation and maybe in the future it can be bypassed (Jailbreak?).
We will see.
Sounds like you got a great deal. Since you're new and you listed certain items, I would suggest that you go down to your local university and talk to anyone at the EE department about whether the various wires you obtained can do anything special (I know what they'll say, and I agree with them).
The DAC matters. The Apple TV is OK, use the digital output and feed the DAC with it. I don't know the DAC you are looking at but it sounds like a good one. Welcome to our hobby!
Trebejo, if you ask those same electrical engineers if there is any difference at all between one CD player and another, one amp and another, etc ... they will almost always tell you the same thing as what you're implying about the cables...
Rickschell, if you take Trebejo's advice, make sure you ask those same engineers if they have ever heard a real hi fi system and ask them what it was composed of ...
In the end, it doesn't matter what someone else thinks Rick, just trust your own ears because no one can listen to your hi fi system for you.
Being new to the hobby and starting out with such a great system is incredible! Set-up will be one of the most important aspects to getting great sound. With my first system it took me about two months of daily shifting to get my chair and speakers in just the right spot so be patient and enjoy the journey.
Apple has cut the price of the Apple TV due to heavy competition and poor sales and reviews. It will be interesting to see how they have improved it and how well it will compare with Google TV.
As long as you are happy with iTunes and the 16/44 is really the only "limitation", (though not for me), Apple TV is an excellent device to connect to your stereo. However, remember you also need to connect either an HD TV so you can view what songs to play or use the free Remote app with an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to control playback.
Use a good DAC, (my budget allowed for a Cambridge DacMagic which mates very well, especially as it has a digital pass thru unlike any other DAC I found, so you can still get the 5.1 sound decoded if you wished), and a half-decent cable and you're set.
@Geared4me I haven't got the system in my house yet, but I do anticipate spending many hours setting up. As it is, I've been several hours every evening reading everything I can find on the different components, cables, music, etc. I am really excited about this new hobby. Now that the kids are gone to college, this is just the thing for our empty nest.
Trebejo, you crack me up:
Quote: "go down to your local university and talk to anyone at the EE department about whether the various wires you obtained can do anything special (I know what they'll say, and I agree with them)."
That advice makes a lot of sense if what you want to hear is a real voice in a real space... at the university. However, I want to hear music in my own home, and different wires make the music sound better or worse. Why not advise the newbie to try the wires in his system and enjoy them? If he can try others and likes them more, who is some EE to tell him he doesn't enjoy them?