Shame on the guy who ripped you off. As for the streaming of music, whatever works. You may wish to have recorded music at the best quality, but your ears will let you know if it really makes a difference. The main thing is to enjoy the music.
I use a mac mini as music server. But yet enjoy my turntable and even cassette tapes. High def or not it is all about the tunes.
I use the Apple TV and find it very convenient but the sound quality to me is 'good not great.' I believe the reason is that the apple TV reduces the bit rate for higher res music. If most of your music is not high res, it may not make a big difference.
If you chose to use the apple tv, the sound is enhanced if you use the optical out to a DAC which accepts optical inputs. This will get you to 80-90 percent of the sound potential in my opinion.
On the other hand, the apple tv streaming does not allow you to use higher res music players like audirvanna, etc. To me, that is a big drawback because these players significantly enhance the sound quality in my system.
I have switched between using my apple tv optical out to dac vs. my macbook optical out to dac, and here's what i found:
- low res apple store downloads are very similar
- higher res files usually sound better on my macbook
- streaming internet radio is better using my macbook (itunes) vs. apple tv
- apple radio is the same
In planning to head down this road, I can't say that I won't listen to my downloaded lower res music anymore, especially with it being at myfingertips, but the real goal is to rip all of my cd's to the external HDD in lossless format, then yes playback through toslink from Apple TV to theta Casa nova, or I have also toyed with the idea of a Mac mini. It sounds to me that as far as full resolution fidelity goes, the Mac Mini would be the way to go. Or I may dedicate my MacBook instead and buy a new MacBook Pro. This black MacBook is going dated, won't run mavericks. More playback software options it seems from a Mac vs Apple TV. Decisions...
Has anyone tried their Apple TV hard wired via cat6 to their router? Any quality improvement?
I started with the Apple TV in wireless mode streaming from my itunes
library on my imac, then switched to wired and the dropouts reduced
significantly. Upgrading the power cord on the apple TV improved quality
considerably and also using a DH Labs optical cable improved quality a lot
I then replaced the Aplle TV with my Imac and installed Aurdirvana in order
to bypass the crappy Apple core routines that mess with the file. I use a DH
Labs USB cable from the iMac to my Schiit Bifrost DAC and control
everything from my droid tablet using Retune to remotely control iTunes,
which integrates with Audirvana for extremely high quality reproduction.
I have a NAS drive in the basement with dual Raid-1 (mirrored) hard drives
that contain all the music files for safety - lost the entire library after the
hard drive on the imac crashed - never again!
All of this is connected by LAN cable for speed - no wireless - except the
tablet of course.
One of the easiest setups I have ever installed
Everything from internet radio to 24/192
Audirvana has the ability to play flac files and will play them via itunes by
using proxy files - with the caveat that you have to configure Audirvana to
store the proxy files on the computer and not on the NAS drive and import
the files using Audirvana as opposed to itunes
One caveat - the imac (new last year) can only stream 24/96 via the optical
output, but the USB does 24/192
Everything is now sounding very detailed and spacious
Hope this helps :-)
Apple TV outputs 48kHz while CD rate is 44.1kHz. Translation between two affects the sound. I use AirPort Express at 5GHz - no dropouts. 5GHz is much better for wireless because is not as common as 2.4GHz(Bluetooth, Computer, Microwave, Cordless phone etc), has a lot of channels (23 vs. 3 non-overlaping channels) and penetrates walls poorly - not important when router is in the same room but greatly helps to reduce outside interference.
Airport Express has decent jitter (258ps p-p). I use it with jitter suppressing Benchmark DAC1. Even better solution would be to get reclocker between receiver and the DAC. AirPort Express is limited to 44.1kHz but pretty much all my music is 16/44.1 Higher bit rate or more resolution might be better but only if music came from original master tapes and is not upsampled 16/44.1kHz (often the case) that my DAC is doing internally anyway.
Beauty of wireless connection is that nothing before receiver makes any difference. Playback program, computer speed, amount of memory etc. are not important since music is sent as data without timing. Timing is recreated on the other side of the bridge. As for Raid - I prefer just simple backup (have two). Simple backup, unpowered, won't fail, can be stored at different location (fire, theft etc). I keep one copy at work. Mirroring Raid is nice if you change data often but in case of virus or controller failure you might loose both copies. Another option is to use, if you got MAC, Time Machine for backup (but it will give you only one copy). I would keep HD off - it will automatically create new backup when powered.
I forgot one compelling reason - direct from the Apple support persons
When I explained I was getting dropouts when using the Apple TV...
Oh, you're using WAV files - it doesn't work great with
WAV files - convert all your WAV's to mp3 then you won't get dropouts
Wonder if he was an Apple Genius :-)
Because ATV resamples to 24/48 and ATV and AirPort Express use WiFi and convert to Apple Lossless, the audio quality is compromised. Even reclocking these to reduce jitter is not that great. I have extensive experience with Apple products.
Sonos on the other hand does not compress or resample the music stream. If you put a Synchro-Mesh reclocker (preferably powered by Dynamo power supply) between the Sonos and your DAC, you will get world-class audio quality. Sonos playback software is easy to use and basically bullet-proof and no drop-outs. It is used world-wide.
I'm not sure what compression to ALAC has to do with AirPort Express sound quality. Airport doesn't convert to ALAC - it is done in Itunes. Airport receives ALAC data in packets and using its own clock outputs S/Pdif stream. At this point the only think that counts is the jitter and it is function of clock stability on the Airport Express - it has nothing to do with formats or conversion.
258ps p-p is a little excessive since pretty much everything above 50ps p-p is audible but in spite of other claims Benchmark does incredible job suppressing jitter. Jitter is basically noise in time domain. I don't hear any evidence of noise. If anything sound is too clean. Situation is different on AE analog outputs where effect of jitter are very audible (jitter measured by Stereophile 2000ps p-p)
Kijanki - I don't agree. Its more than just the jitter. The decoding of ALAC on the AE board is the problem I think. I have reclocked, modded and even tried to market a product made from the AE. Its beyond help IMO. I know this thing inside and out.
I have also modded Benchmark DACs for many years, so I know them and their jitter suppression capability.
Steve, I don't question your expertise but perhaps something else was wrong. According to test conducted by Stereophile AE is bit perfect.
"Some audiophiles have dissed the AirPort Express on the grounds that its digital output is not bit-accurate. However, I found that this was not the case, that the data appearing on the AE's digital output were identical in the original file. To check this, I compared a WAV file with a duplicate that I had captured on my PC from the AirPort Express's S/PDIF output. I used iTunes on my PowerBook playing a version of the file encoded with Apple Lossless Compression to feed data to the AE. The files were bit-for-bit identical, proving that the AirPort Express is transparent to the music data (as is ALC, for that matter). "
Perhaps firmware had problems previously.
K - I only know what I hear. I actually abandoned a product that I had invested a lot of money in based on the board from the AE. Maybe it screwed-up the offset or something else. This would not show up in a bit-perfect test. It may also be a real-time problem with decoding ALAC, not showing up in a bit test.
Comparisons that I have made with AIFF and ALAC show that both sound inferior to .wav on a Mac.
well it seems that i have opened quite the large can of worms here, not my intent, but none the less I am learning much more from this back and forth than i ever would have with a simple... Yes or No answer to using ATV. I believe it is my short term answer as i already own it. But i will continue to decode all of the technojargin above and happily seek out a better alternative combination. Lots of google has helped me through this thread haha. It has also opened my eyes to a lot more combinations and possabilities. Can anyone point me to a "introductary" thread on the file streaming topic where I can try to get my training wheels off?