AppleTV, a lot more to it.
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Agree on this completely. I looked into both of them, and not only is there more to the AppleTV, but the ergonmics and functioning of the unit will be much more consistent with the idea of a music server. Plug it in and it works. Sound quality is likely be a bit better from the Wadia. Haven't heard it. But if you plan to use the AppleTV as I do -- a second source for when you want to shuffle songs instead of listening more intensely to CDs/Albums, I think the AppleTV fits the bill much better.
Another Apple TV vote here. If you want audiophile quality playback, rip using Apple lossless, run the Apple TV into an external DAC and you're in business. Plus the added bonus of synching with your computer and iTunes makes it easier to manage playlists.
I also love the movie rental feature on the Apple TV... need pretty fast broadband though because it's streaming video. Youtube on your TV is also lotsa fun.
Although I have not used Either... The cheaper, more direct, and quality ergonomics solution for many reasons does point to the Apple TV being the way to go. I am setup for it, but gonna wait it out another year or 2 for better models with a little more space etc... And being movie downloading is starting to catch up it will be an all in one universal solution for me, but there is a few people that see the benefit having their IPOD for portability in the car and being able to just bring it in and drop into the Dock on your big system. For me this is low to no priority so I prefer the best way to actually have a music and movie server if I do it.
As i understand the Wadia does not show the menu on your TV so even though it comes with a remote.. you have to be able to see your ipods screen??? which defeats the purpose. The apple TV has a digital out so it is accomplishing the same thing as the wadia by bypassing the DAC in the ipod so in theory it should reproduce sound as well as the wadia.
I just wish Apple would make a really cool audiophile class component out of stainless steel or aluminum that had a huge terabyte size hard drive and coax and optical outs. The wadia sounds cool but the whole remote/display thing kills it for me. i even emailed them once asking about it with no response.
Assuming you will be using an external DAC and not the analogue outs, I would go with the Wadia. I did a fair amount of research on this and found some decent threads on Head-fi.org from people who had owned both. The general drift of the comparisons was that the sound quality of the Apple TV was not as good as the Wadia iTransport, falling short in terms of resolution. (It also has only an optical digital output, which is generally regarded as inferior to coaxial and seems to be losing favor among some DAC manufacturers.) Obviously, the Apple TV has greater functionality for home theater, but for two channel audio I decided to go with the Wadia and have been very happy with it. I don't find the lack of a menu on the Wadia to be a big hassle...just create a playlist on the iPod, plug the iPod into the Wadia, and select the playlist.
These are both intriguing products.The Apple TV has much a much better interface and saves the steps of creating play lists and transferring to ipod. I would think the Wadia would be the ultimate audio boutique machine,in that any customer that came in to listen to whatever gear they are demoing,could snap in their own ipod and bada bing they can hear their own music.I am sure the Wadia has fantastic sound and build quality.Apple products have always been well made and offer excellent support.
I agree it would be nice if Apple would offer a massive hard drive multi output (I2S?)model.
I'd have to agree with most folks here and vote for the Apple TV. It does everything the Wadia does, and then some.
Plus you can use your ipod touch as a remote instead of as a source. I believe that with a proper reclocker or suitable DAC, the differences in coax vs toslink would be null. Personally, I've used a Benchmark DAC1 with excellent results.
I use a MacMini with an external terrabyte drive. I go Lossless out the optical port. I also use it for DVDs, Netflix streaming, Pandora radio, my Time Machine back up of my laptop. It's easy to control iTunes from my laptop or using the Apple remote/TV. Lastly I have Elgato's EyeTV hooked up to an HD antenna (less compression than cable/satellite HD and cheap).
MacMinis were just announced to be in short supply, which could mean updates. Also AppleTV is long overdue for an overhaul into a real piece of equipment.
I also like that the mini holds its value pretty well.
Apple TV/iTouch via an upgraded Genesis Digital Lens into "suitable DAC" is a great little music server.
The new PSAudo Digital Lens should be much better.
IMO,the homogeneous Benchmark DAC1 is "the" most over rated DAC on the planet. See the October issue of TAS.
If you want to listen to your digital files in their native FS, you need to look for another product.
I just wish Apple would make a really cool audiophile class component out of stainless steel or aluminum that had a huge terabyte size hard drive and coax and optical outs.
I have been experimenting with wireless access from my mac mini to a LaCie 1 TB 2big NAS drive in RAID1 (mirrored data - i.e. it has two 1 TB drives) coupled to the latest CISCO Wireless Gigabit router. The audio is stored lossless and I send the audio wireless to an Airport Express with optical out to the Benchmark DAC1.
I needed this kind of storage because I went lossless and I need up to 3,000 CD storage capability with absolute insurance that is backed up.
FWIW this works. Depending on your other gear you may or may not like the DAC1 at all - it is a very flat and transparent device so it won't compensate for any room or other issues in the setup. I think it works better with silk dome tweeters as opposed to metal domes (as Macdad points out the clarity is such that it could be all too bright when coupled with a speaker/room that is leaning towards bright)
Shardone makes a great point about integration. I can't take anything that sounds bright with Maggies and a less than perfect room. I need things that add warmth, that's why I have a lot of Cary gear (SLP98, CAD 500 MB amps) and for some reason the Bryston sounds much warmer to me than any other DAC, including the Berkeley, that I tried.
If you have B & W's, Klipsch Heritage, Eggelstons, or other slightly warm speakers the Benchmark could be the be-all-end-all of components.
"Depending on your other gear you may or may not like the DAC1 at all - it is a very flat and transparent device so it won't compensate for any room or other issues in the setup."
The Benchmark DAC1 is not a "transparent device," it's homogeneous.
Regardless of the original sample rate of the data, converts it to a datastream sampled at 110kHz.
If you want to listen to any digital files in their native FS, you need to look for another product.
The Benchmark DAC1 is not a "transparent device,"
This seems to go against the majority of conclusions and test measurements, as well as my own observations. FWIW - upsampling is used in many D to A devices. It would be difficult to explain Time Series Analysis or Signal Processing here (it is usually a 3rd of 4th year engineering) but I can assure you that upsampling will not change the signal but it can help improve S/N and remove reconstruction artifacts in the D to A, in a good implementation of course.
I would offer that Apple TV makes for the better musical source. I did not like the Wadia at all. It has a signature that is a bit shrill (tilted-up with a plastic artificiality) when compared to the Apple Tv or the mac mini. I also tried the unit against a Cambrige DS500SE used as a transport into a Bidat (the Bidat was used for all of the above sources). I remember my comments were "it would be nice for a party setting", but now I say the apple tv would be better for a party as well because of the ease of using an ipod touch as a remote.
Hmm, I have listened to the Benchmark DAC1 on several occasions. On both occasions I could not wait for them to take it out of the system. It just sounds like cold sterile digital from the days when all digital sounded ... well ... bad. I don't get the love affair with this unit, I assume it is the approachable price. Clarity? maybe but musicality...no way (my ears, my opinion :) Even on clarity issues I wonder if it is the cold nature of the unit which can offer the appearance at first listen of more information being conveyed. Compare the unit to a Bidat or a Dynastation II or a late gen AMR77 unit and then evaluate the sound of the Dac1. Also 'Kana813' is correct, it SRC's EVERYTHING to 110khz...not thank you.
One thing, if you are using plastic Tos, do yourself a HUGE favor. GO GLASS!!! Tos-Link (Toshiba Link) itself is in no way inferior to the other formats...it is the plastic cable that kills the sound. I have experimented with both and my glass TOS out of my Cambridge DS500SE used as transport (I use it as a test device for experimentation, not a source) equals my very very expensive ref coax FIM digital cable.
Roccoriley, that's not correct. The AppleTV does not use an iPod at all. It takes the file directly off of the hard drive of the computer holding the iTunes account. So it absolutely can be processed then by an external DAC, or use the internal DAC of the AppleTV. Most AppleTV users, such as myself take the base digital music files and have them processed by an external DAC.
Even this is quite an old thread, the same question does pop up every now and then, so I would like to put in my $0.02 here:
The Apple TV apparently streams music from the computer using WiFi (Wireless N). Doesn't that mean you need to have your computer on all the time?
Secondly, Apple TV only supports Toslink Optical (not AT&T Glass) which tends to be inferior to digital coax, isn't it?
Other than price point and flexibility, I don't see Apple TV beats out Wadia 170 on paper. 170i's clock issue and cheap RCA outs do concern me somewhat.