Apple 24 Bit 96 KhZ

With a new iMac 2.8GHz 10.5.5 OS how best to get 24 bit 96 KhZ? I have formatted the Audio Midi Setup to 96KHz 2Ch-24 bit. Can you play 2496 source music from the iTunes either through USB or Toslink/digital optical cable from the mini jack into a state of the art DAC - which is best audiophile?
Yes you can. Most USB solutions do not support 96/24, but some do. Audio Midi will tell you when it recognizes the device. Toslink does support 96/24 if your DAC does.

The thing that's a bit frustrating is that you ideally want Audio Midi set to a lower sampling rate (24 bit is okay, however) when you playback redbook CD files. You don't have to, but I think the sound quality is better (not everyone agrees). Which means going back into Audio Midi to change that setting and then, if you are using iTunes, closing and reopening iTunes to make sure it adopts the new settings. I am hopeful that Apple or someone will make these steps unnecessary with a future software upgrade.
I can switch the sample rate of the Audio Midi on the fly with my Mac Mini using the latest iTunes software. I don't have to close iTunes and launch it again when the sample rate setting has been changed. The reason I know this is I am using an Apogee Mini DACand it has sample rate settings up to 192kHz. The DAC has indicators on the front panel that shows the incoming sample rate. Whenever I change the sample rate in Audio Midi, the Mac farts and scratches its' butt, the the music resumes with the DAC indicator now showing the selected sample rate.

I am using FireWire from the Mac Mini to the DAC. Maybe that has something to do with it?
Good to know, thanks.
Thank you very much for the great info. Do you think USB is better sound quality than via the Toslink? Thnx again,
Big Stew
It's not as simple as one interface being better than another. There is a lot going in with computer audio and there are good and bad solutions for both. If you already have a good DAC with Toslink input, my recommendation is to start there. Get a good Toslink cable, such as the Wireworld (you'll need an adapter for the mini Toslink jack on the Mac) or the van den Hul, which you can get with a mini Toslink on one end. If your DAC has a USB input, odds are it sucks. To get good USB, you need one of the specialty USB DACs or one of the speciality converters (converts USB to other interfaces), such as those from Bel Canto and Empirical Audio.

In my experience, there are no clearcut answers in computer audio (heck, in audio in general). I recommend experimenting, if that interests you.
Thanks Drubin - I have the Bel Canto DAC3. I have both a USB and Toslink cable going from my new iMac 24". It will take 24/96 from the toslink but NOT from the USB - it needs a new upgrade box which I am getting.

Do you know of a very inexpensive way to TEST the digital signal coming of the Apple to determine 16/44.1, 24/96, etc.? The Bel Canto has zero signal indications, etc.

Thx, Stew
Drubin, et al., I'm running the latest OS and iTunes revs from Apple and you no longer need shut down and restart iTunes as you suggest. Changes in Audio MIDI now update on-the-fly, if you will.

L.D. Moore
L.D. Moore - I noticed that too as my DAC has an external display which shows the locked signal sample rate. However, I asked around on various forums and it seems that the AudioMIDI sample rate changes when it's switched, but iTunes still locks on to the sample rate that was set upon the app's opening. So, AudioMIDI is up (or down) sampling from the iTunes locked in rate.
Does anyone know of an inexpensive DAC that shows the signal sample rate? I want to use that to check - the Bel Canto does NOT show the sample rate.


Has anyone tried MAX from Sbooth? A friend in Germany strongly recommends it over WAV, which for me has proven best.

Also does anyone know of a firewire input dac?

I have many Macs but am using a Windows XP music server, which you all know is so awkward to use that it drives you crazy.
Tbg - Max and WAV are two very different things altogether. WAV is the file format for uncompressed PCM audio (for PC), the Mac equivalent of which is AIFF. Max on the other hand is a Mac application, used for such tasks as secure ripping and transcoding.

You would thus be comparing Max (Mac) to EAC (Windows) in terms of apps; or AIFF to WAV in terms of formats.
Xenithon, so with Max you can rip WAV files? Does everyone using Macs use Itunes for play back?
Tbg - I believe you can, but don't hold me to it as I have not done that myself ;-) ...I usually rip with EAC to FLAC, tranfer files to the Mac and use Max to transcode to ALAC. That also provides an additional form of backup.

For ripping directly on a Mac, I would look into XLD which has recently been update to use the latest CDParanoia method and AccurateRip, and I believe is said to be superior to Max for ripping.

As for playback I stick to iTunes - simple, intuitive, quick, looks good too. Additional players include Cog, Play and Songbird.
One additional question, do you worry about the switching power supplies in computers reducing the quality of the playback from your hard drives?
One of the reasons I use a Macbook (battery powered) for playback :-)
Is the hard drive drawing on that battery also?
All Macs use solar powered HD...........?$&?
Great information - I am trying to get the best audio quality possible & this is great. Anyone know an inexpensive DAC which shows the audio signal so that I can tell if its 24/96, etc.?

Bel Canto DAC does NOT accept firewire & I do not know of one.
Swhitman, can you not tell just from the size of the file if nothing else? I do recall a conversation with Bel Canto about the dac. I think I recall that it can decode up to 2$/96 but no higher.
Thanks TBG - yes the file source is 24/96 but I want to confirm that Apple is indeed outputting it at 24/96 and not 16/44.1. Bel Canto is good up to 24/192 but it does not show the signal it is receiving. Thnx for your help.