I vote for option 3.
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Try Audirvana Plus instead of Amarra or PureMusic.
And yes, option 3.
I think the Oppo sounded overly smooth which is pleasant at first but it does seem a little less detailed than some of the better DACs I've had.
Before you return the Oppo, if you have a Mac around, try the demo version of Audirvana and see if you like how it sounds vs the Oppo.
Kzhtoo - when you download music wirelessly (Airplay) from MacMini or Iphone/Ipad playback program becomes unimportant (unless it does additional processing like upsampling). MacMini side (playback program, memory, disk, power supply) is not important since you're sending chunks of data with no timing. Timing is recreated by AppleTV and might require reclocking if your DAC has limited jitter suppression.
Thanks for the reply.
I do not plan to add a Mac Mini if AppleTV can still be configured for high audio fidelity. I currently stream music from my iMac upstairs to AppleTV using iTunes Match.
The only reason I'm considering Mac Mini is because I thought AppleTV is the weak link and has to be replaced for better SQ. This is the reason I bought Oppo-95, but the interface is awful compared to AppleTV.
So, from your suggestion, this is maybe another option.
4) Return Oppo-95, keep AppleTV and ECD-1 DAC. Add a reclocker such as Synchro-Mesh in between. Still stream music from iMac upstairs to AppleTV.
Sounds like a good option.
Kzhtoo, I use AE with Benchmark DAC1 that has strong jitter suppression. Music is on external Firewire HD of MacMini that I also use for other tasks. I also use 5GHz 802.11n Linksys router with dual band adapter on the MAC side (has only 2.4GHz). That way I'm more immune to interference since 5GHz is not very common and doesn't penetrate walls very well. My computer, router and AE are in the same room.
Correction: Using iTunes Match, music is NOT streaming from iMac upstairs. It should be from my Airport Extreme router in the same room as AppleTV, wirelessly.
From what you said, Kijanki, it sounds to me like you'd prefer a DAC with jitter suppression (like Benchmark) over a reclocker. Before I bought Oppo-95, I thought long and hard about getting a Benchmark DACpre or HDR.
I believe my Electrocompaniet ECD-1 DAC doesn't not have jitter suppression. And it is an upsampler too.
Benchmark is pretty much a reclocker (asynchronous data rate converter). ECD-1 being upsampler might have similar ability but can only go as far as jitter of its internal clock allows. The best would be to borrow reclocker and just try if you can hear any difference.
Benchmark DAC1 is very clean but also neutral (not warm) and ruthlessly revealing. It is heaven with my warm sounding Hyperion HPS-938 speakers but it was very unpleasant with metal dome tweeters (Paradigm Studio/60v2).
I have Focal Electra (beryllium tweeter) and Pass amps. I have a feeling it might not be a good match with Benchmark. :(
Are you familiar with Esoteric D-07 dac? It has an internal master clock (same as asynchronous reclocker?). I couldn't find any info that how efficient D-07 internal reclocking reduce the jitter noise.
I'm considering this because Music Direct currently has this 50% on sale. Besides, it'll provide more flexibility in the future if I decide to add a dedicated cd player or mac mini.
Berylium tweeters are much better than aluminum dome ones. In addition the one in Paradigm Studios v2 was $20 Vifa, made by (or for) Paradigm. If I remember correctly Stereophile review of Electra 1037 it is very neutral sounding.
Benchmark still could be good for you but it is NOT warm (on purpose). Esoteric D-07 uses dual PLL (Phase Lock Loop) like many CDP. It would imply that it is oversampling and not upsampling DAC. Oversampling DAC can only create, by definition, even multiples of incoming rate. For instance 4x oversampling of 44.1kHz would result in 176.4kHz update rate. This update rate doesn't need to be even that high since D/A converter ICs have higher harmonic distortions at 192kHz than 100kHz. Benchmark settled for constant 110kHz update rate (that also aids filtering). Esoteric uses 32bit processing but data is only 24bit leaving 8bit for volume control. It would be even difficult to bring 32bit music since S/Pdif definition allows only 24bit maximum. What is interesting about Esoteric is option of selecting apodizing filter that might sound better to you since non-apodizing filters found in most CDPs and DACs screws-up step response making symmetrical echo (ringing after and before pulse). Other than that it has great reviews and won many awards. Benchmark also won many awards (including Stereophile component of the year) but I found fuller and more vivid sound after replacing inexpensive op-amps they used. They did great for $995 while Esoteric targets different clientele.
I like wireless connection since it nullifies all requirements normally associated with computer audio, like playback program, running applications, type of hard drive, power supply, amount of memory, speed of uP etc. leaving only jitter created by receiver itself. 258ps of jitter on the output of AE is pretty good but it would be nice to keep it below 50ps. It would be hard to do in small inexpensive device like AE. Perhaps other receiving devices are better but it is impossible to find out without review that includes measurements (like one Stereophile did on AE). I don't know much about stand alone reclockers. Steve Nugent (Empirical Audio) would be good person to ask.