Seeking advice on high res computer music: 4 Qs

After scanning the recent threads and posts, I do not see much discussion around playing high resolution music via computer. I enjoy the convenience of itunes, and I am intrigued by ads for high res downloads and mailable DVDs.

Is there a convenient way to continue to use itunes and also start collecting high res music? If not, what software have people liked?

Is there a preferred connection method? The last TAS indicated that USB out will disappoint, so maybe I need to purchase a computer with digital out, or a high end sound card?

Sorry if this is redundant to another thread that I may have missed.

iTunes will play 24/96 high resolution files.

USB is a digital out, and mine certainly does not disappoint.

check this out... for more info on that subject:

Loads of media players too. J River, Monkeys, FUBAR, Winamp, etc.

The thing with iTunes is it doesn't natively import at other than 16/44 or 48.

some websites now provide the higher res files for sale as downloads. some put them onto disc too, I think. I beleive I saw a few threads here on this subject lately, and a number of those sites were listed in it. have a look... or Google for them.

An ADC set to those higher res numbers is needed to import your own home grown high res files onto HDD.
1. Yes, you can keep using ITunes. I use Foobar2000. Blindjim mentions some other very good programs.

2. I disagree with TAS. There is no functional or qualitative difference between using a USB out to a good jitter-rejecting DAC, or USB to Optical converter (Behringer UCA-202), or having the computer deal with audio data internally and output via optical soundcard. In every case, a good DAC should simply reject jitter as that's what it is intended to do.

If you must buy an expensive sound card, which, in most situations is redundant, in my opinion, look up a pro unit like Mark of the Unicorn (if you have a Mac), or RME Fireface, if you have a PC. Those have state-of-the-art wordclocks for to deal with jitter if that's what you're worried about.

Otherwise, just stick with a $40 UCA-202 out to your DAC or preamp. Or go the wireless solution and get a Squeezebox or Sonos. Your call.

As to the Q of interfaces… it hinges on the DAC IMO.

I use J river MC 12 & iTunes a little. J River’s GUI allows a lot of flexibility. As much as anyone might need, and far more than most ever will. Thru it I can select any sound card on the pc or connected to it. I can up sample std 16/44 – 48 files to 24/96 – 192, PROVIDED a card/DAC is connected somehow which supports those numbers too. There’s a considerable bit more versatility in other areas but for here, that’s good.

My BC DAC3 only does 24/96 via std inputs. 16/44 via USB. Das eet. Does a fine job in each area, sans up or over sampling, and does not use the Asuync path for USB which enables the DAC possessing that tech to make the personal confuser respond as slave to it rather than the adaptive USB avenue eg., BC DAC3.

So I tried a lot of combinations. Yep… even an RME hammer Fall. … limited results precluded me from going forwad with the RME pci card.

I ran various media players with innumerable file formats & bit rates, variable and constant. Lossy and Lossless. Bought the DE ASIO driver which runs specifically via USB, and does sound much improved over what Windows or itunes, or others drivers allow for… For a USB nly into an adaptive dac, that $70 FIX MAY WELL SUIT SUFFICIENTLY. It is quite good.

I had an old SB Live USB card about and hooked it in… USB > SBL 24/96 > XV2 IC to BC D3…. Betterment was heard.

Well if a $50 SBL card + the DE ASIO driver were that beneficial, try another, I thought.

I almost went all in on a Lynx… but felt I should try to keep the investment for now, modest. I bought an Audiophile 192 M Audio card. It allows you to use the 192’s clock or an external one. I set to the ext card/DAC.

I optimized the xp home unit I use for playback thereafter.

I’ve now little more than the occasional curiosity bug fueling my designs on upgrading, or to further replace things in my system. I’m certain I’m into the dominion of diminishing returns and the expense for sincerely noteable gains is going to be a mite costly. From this point going forward. Without such investment, it would likely become more a sideways move.

Truth be told, I’m not missing much, if at all… and am pretty dog gone pleased

So I’d reckon you ought to investigate ALL the imputs and interfaces available to you in whatever DAC you choose, aside from those dedicated USB DACs where you have no choice.
PS.. there is something to the notes on lengths of digital cables too… USB & to a lesser degree, coax. Stay under 10ft on USB if possible. The audible difs are noteable, but reside along side each other marginally. Shorter’s better though… just not always feasible.