Generation 1 Apple TV as a music server

I'm looking for a music server to add to my hi-fi system. Have previously considered the Mac mini(base model), but my budget cannot reach to that level.

As an alternative I'm considering the Apple TV gen 1, as I want to sync all my iTunes music files(AIFF) to its hard-drive, and use that as a hi-fi front end.

Any advice on this choice, or others would be appreciated.
I highly recommend the apple tv . It was in one of the mags recently as a great buy . They really liked the dac inside.I own one myself and find it very user friendly . the only downside is the need for a monitor.I actually take it with me when going to different audio stores to audition gear with . There are larger hard drives on ebay also that are plug and play .
I love my ATV generation 1. I actually bought a 2nd one as a backup in case one dies. It stores my full music collection in Apple lossless, and all our family pictures. Really cool to put it on shuffle play and watch slideshows.

I've read that an optical connection isn't the best, but it sounds quite good to me.
Its the best WiFi offering from Apple, but the Logitech Touch beats it hands down for SQ.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio

Are you talking about the Gen 1 ATV or the current one? If Gen 1, music streamed or stored?


I've had an ATV 1 for about 3 years now. Nothing but great things to say about it. If you have and iPod Touch, iPhone or or iPad, it makes a great remote. No need for a TV, and quite honestly it makes finding music a bit easier.

Toslink isn't usually the best connection, but it does have its advantages - it makes a ground loop and electrical noise impossible between the ATV and DAC. Get a glass cable, and it'll sound great. I use a $25 one from Amazon and it easily beat a $75 or so fiber cable.

There was a thread where a bunch of us shared what we were doing to maximize sound quality. Noting expensive or ridiculous.

I don't think the ATV will pass a high-res signal. I think it downsamples everything to redbook. About the only downfall I know. Then again, I don't have any high-res stuff, so no big deal to me.

It's a great self-contained server IMO. It just works. With my Rega DAC which is NOS and reclocks, my system gets out of the way and plays music. That's what it's all about in my book.

I hear the Mac Mini is better, especially with Pure Music. Can't afford that, and I don't regret it either.
Many thanks to all responses! Will take all advice, etc on board.
So the only output from the Apple TV is from the Toslink port, not the USB port? I was hoping the ATV would connect directly, using its USB port, to my audio DAC's usb input.
The Apple TV (version 1) has a USB port. The current Apple TV (version 2) does not.
Does the Apple TV gen 1 have the "normal" size Toslink output port, or is it the mini-toslink port? Cheers in advanced.
The ATV 1 has a normal sized toslink (non-mini) output. USB won't output anything. Won't input anything either, unless you hack it.

The ATV 1 has analog, toslink, and HMDI outputs.

I don't own the ATV 2, so no comments from me.
can i stream music WIRELESSLY from my ipad or iphone?

Will this setup work? [Streaming music from ipad via wifi --> ATV 1gen --> DAC --> AMP]?
Many thanks to all replies; my latest purchases: an Apple TV gen 1; DACMagic Plus DAC from Cambridge Audio. And just recently purchased the Supernova 5 glass optical cable from WireWorld, replacing the Audioquest Optilink 3 fibre Toslink cable: major improvement there.

Very pleased with the sound now. As mentioned above, the optical glass cable was a big improvement.

Found out that the USB in the ATV is just for "servicing" - connecting printers, etc.

But very happy using the Toslink connection from the ATV to the DAC.
Have now upgraded to the Wireworld Supernova 6 glass optical cable - even better than the Supernova 5.