To Wavelngth USB DAC users: Best ripping/playback?

I recently configured a computer music server using a Mac mini and a Wavelength Cosecant USB DAC. I use iTunes for ripping & playback. In iTunes I use Apple Lossless and select the error correction option.

I've read many posts on this site & Audioasylum about people jumping through hoops to use EAC to rip, then other software to compress and then playback with Foobar. I'm a bit skepitcal about these posts as most posters are using Windows and many of them are using the computer sound card instead of investing in a USB DAC.

So to all of you Wavelength users that have figured out that there are no shortcuts and you have to use a decent USB DAC for sound quality, has anyone done any A/B tests between Mac based iTunes (using Lossless & error correction) and a Windows based ripping/playback method?

I've read that we should expect a well configured computer music server to equal or better any CD transport/DAC combo. My results are very good, but my computer music server doesn't equal a world class CD transport such as the AMR CD-77 and I'm wondering if I need to consider my ripping/playback method.

Thanks in advance.

Gordon has a lot of information on his USB DAC page. I would go through the entire contents of his web page first. If you don't find what you need, follow his last instuction, "If you have more questions, give me a call or e-mail"...


Have you actually heard an AMR CD player to compare it to the Wavelength? I'm asking since that is a comparison that I am very interested in. Unfortunately, in Chicago, I can't hear either. The local Wavelength dealer is just now getting a Cosecant in as a demo, and the local AMR dealer won't have a demo unit for a few weeks. I'm particularly interested in the comparison of the 2 units as USB DAC's, as well as comparing the AMR as a player, compared to the Wavelength combo.


It's my impression that Gordon likes Apple because it's the path of least resistance.
The ripping procedure you use is not the problem. I have both a MAC and PC and listen to Apple Lossless and WMA Lossless. Both formats work very well with my Crimson.

I have not heard the AMR CD player, but if you are looking for something to be SOTA, look at Gordon's Crimson. The Cosecant is a wonderful DAC, but there is better.
i have made that comparison. as between Apple Lossless and FLAC (using EAC), i found a slight edge to FLAC (in terms of resolution) -- but only when using a PC. When usuing a Mac (as i now do), the winner is Apple Lossless hands down. Don't ask me why there is a difference; imho, there just is. of course, Itunes beats the hell out of most everything else, including foobar, in terms of ease of use/interface.
All I can tell you is that I am using Windows Media Player and use Exact Audio Copy to rip my CD's to the hard drive. I gave my son an Apple I Mac for his birthday a few weeks ago. He insatlled the I Mac on my system and called me to proclaim how great it sounded. He had ripped much of his music to the hard drive already. I don't use a Wavelength DAC however,the DAC is a Burwen using a software plug-in called the Bobcat.

I came home and listened to the CD player in the I Mac going into the DAC in my system. I was unimpressed. He then urged me to rip the selections onto the I Mac's hard drive because it sounded so much better. I came back a few days later and did just that. When I fired up the system, I had the left channel with no sound due to a bad connection on the speaker lugs. I could tell even with the left channel out that it was seemimgly more vivid. I can't tell you what his settings were in the Apple, but what I heard was more density to the music that made imaging more palpable once the left channel was restored. The highs were a smidge more pleasing to me using my Windows-based system but it also had a sound that was a little more thin than that of the I Mac. I also think the sound on my friend's system is pretty special and he uses a Mac Mini.

Based upon my observations using the same DAC with both OS, my nod goes to the Apple.
steve at empirical audio has a/b'd windows and mac. he's got some info on his site about it.
I personally could not hear the difference between FLAC and ALAC in my tests..But each is different.

One thing is for sure, there is no comparison between MAC and a windows machine for sound. MAC wins hands down. MAC drivers are written so well, and assert much better control over the hardware than any windows version could hope to. I didn't believe it till I heard it myself, side by side with a properly configured ASIO. MAC killed it. Quiet as a mouse, better software, better machine.