My first guess is that the USB input is only good to 16/48k and the coax 12/192k.
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before buying amarra, check out pure music. i checked out both and went with pure music. i use max to rip my files into itunes then pure music reads them from itunes. also, when using an external drive for your music, be sure to get 2 drives so you can backup the 1st drive onto the 2nd drive using time machine. i use 2 firewire 2TB drives. i have pure music configured to read the song into memory before playing it. i just ordered the wyred 4 sound dac2 and it comes with a cd of drivers for the mac to get more hi rez outputs since the dac2 can accepts 24/192 input.
Their website doesn't address the issue so you probably need to contact them, but I'm pretty sure you can't do 24/192 on USB2 but you should be able to do 24/96 or 24/48. Are you sure you are looking at the PS audio settings and not the internal output?
I've tried Fluke also and it would not play FLAC files above 16/44.1
iTunes will not convert FLAC but there are a lot of free conversion programs, I've used both MAX and xAct with good success. I would try some and see which you like. I would also convert small batches at a time in case you lose power or the converter chokes on a file and locks up.
I second the vote for Pure Music, much cheaper and sounds great. Both will change Audio/Midi on the fly which is a huge plus if playing a mix of files.
MAXX software is freeware and is an excellent converter for Macs, and also a very good ripping software using "CD Paranoia" error correction. You can do batch conversions using MAXX targeting a specific HD to put the resulting conversions. You can also convert to several different formats at once.
If you use a different software to manage your library, like Squeezeserver, you can leave them in FLAC at various resolutions and let the software convert on the fly.
I tried Amarra and it just didn't do it for me personally on my systems. I thought I could hear a difference on some things, but not others. Certainly not enough to identify them in blind listening.
Amara sounds way better
Jordan, I would take that with a grain of salt. I've followed many discussions about these 2 packages and that's the first I've ever seen that makes that claim.
If you want to do the Amarra trial you should also download the Free PM trial and do it side by side. I'm a very satisfied Pure Music user and would like to try Amarra but I refuse to pay somebody for a trial and be forced to use a hardware dongle.
Thanks everyone for your responses.
Herman, et al, I did do a side by side between amarra and pure music. And to me, and my system it was not close. Now, someone may feel that they are close. I have Conrad johnson amps and pre-amp and amarra supported that "live" and more in the room sound that I that drew me to the CJ stuff in the first place. That is why I would rather go with amarra.
I am still at a loss on my my Imac won't offer 24bit for the PS audio dac. I thought it was 24bit even for USB. Perhpas that is incorrect. Looks like I need a new DAC.
Here's another vote for Amarra. I tried both the Pure Music and Amarra demos and Amarra sounds significantly better with my rig.
PS Audio Power Plant Premier > Mac Mini 2.53GHz/4GB > Amarra Mini 2.0 > Halide Bridge> Cambridge Audio 840C > Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II > Arcam AVR350 > Acoustic Zen Shotgun Double Barrel > Vandersteen 2Ce speakers (combination of LessLoss and VH Audio power cables w/dedicated circuits)
another option is to get a newer dac with 24/192 asynchronous usb connection. i use a wyred 4 sound dac2 with their device driver to support. you can also use the toslink from the mac but you are limited to 24/96 using this connection. (maybe the new macs can support 24/192 toslink, not sure, but all of my macs don't).