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View Full Version : Trying to get the best sound quality from my AppleTV




cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 05:33 PM
So, I've had my AppleTV for close to a month now, and obviously like it. But I have some questions, as I would like to try and get the best results possible, but I am not familiar with the technical aspects of it.

I'll start off by stating that I am using an HDMI connection to my AVR which is a Denon 3808ci. My future plans is to invest in an external DAC with a dedicated 2 channel preamp using a firewire connection from the ATV to the DAC.

I don't want to stream the cd's that I rip to Itunes to my ATV, but rather store them directly onto the ATV's hard drive for the best SQ possible. Also, I assume that it is CD quality/16 but-44.1kbps?

Whenever I sample a track from my ATV, it seems like it has greater dynamic range than the purchased copy... am I hearing things?

If I make a purchase on my laptop from iTunes, is the only way to listen to is via streaming, or is the copy that is stored on the ATV's hard drive after syncing the same "CD" quality?

TIA!



DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 05:36 PM
hey there,

apparently the :apple:TV can play these...

AAC (16 to 320 Kbps); protected AAC (from iTunes Store); MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps); MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through

i thought that you could copy anything over to the :apple:TV? what format are you using? i would try apple lossless AIFF for the CD copies.

there should be no down-converting at all AFAIK, it just copies straight across.

nutmac
Sep 23, 2009, 05:45 PM
Best audio quality from CD rip would be Apple Lossless format, which occupies about half as much storage space as AIFF or WAV while sounding identical.

Best audio quality from DVD rip would be Dolby Digital AC-3 pass-through.

I'll start off by stating that I am using an HDMI connection to my AVR which is a Denon 3808ci. My future plans is to invest in an external DAC with a dedicated 2 channel preamp using a firewire connection from the ATV to the DAC.

Apple TV does not have FireWire connection, although I am not sure why you would want to use FireWire for audio. External DAC with preamp? Don't you need poweramp also? If you feed this signal back to 3808, you might be redigitizing, which could make the audio sound worse. I don't know what speakers you have, but the overall performance gain may be little even if 3808 has pure analog pass-through.

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 05:49 PM
Apple TV does not have FireWire connection, although I am not sure why you would want to use FireWire for audio. External DAC with preamp? Don't you need poweramp also? If you feed this signal back to 3808, you might be redigitizing, which could make the audio sound worse. I don't know what speakers you have, but the overall performance gain may be little even if 3808 has pure analog pass-through.

i was also confused by that statement, but assumed i was missing something lol so i ignored it. you couldnt possibly use something of that sort unless your DAC had RCA/optical inputs right?

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 07:45 PM
hey there,

apparently the :apple:TV can play these...



i thought that you could copy anything over to the :apple:TV? what format are you using? i would try apple lossless AIFF for the CD copies.

there should be no down-converting at all AFAIK, it just copies straight across.

I copy my CD rips using ALAC, but it is done to my laptop. I just wasn't sure exactly how it makes it to the ATV and what format ultimately gets stored there.

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 07:49 PM
I copy my CD rips using ALAC, but it is done to my laptop. I just wasn't sure exactly how it makes it to the ATV and what format ultimately gets stored there.

generally you connect to the :apple:TV via iTunes and then click'n'drag. :confused:

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 07:54 PM
Best audio quality from CD rip would be Apple Lossless format, which occupies about half as much storage space as AIFF or WAV while sounding identical.

Best audio quality from DVD rip would be Dolby Digital AC-3 pass-through.



Apple TV does not have FireWire connection, although I am not sure why you would want to use FireWire for audio. External DAC with preamp? Don't you need poweramp also? If you feed this signal back to 3808, you might be redigitizing, which could make the audio sound worse. I don't know what speakers you have, but the overall performance gain may be little even if 3808 has pure analog pass-through.

I have Audioquest EEE1394 4->6 pin connector. Dacs have a FW connection which I could go from USB->FW. The preamp (2channel) has a HT bypass function which will be utilized when watching movies to the pre-pro (surround sound processor).

The 3808 will be replaced as well (just a question of when).

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 07:56 PM
Best audio quality from CD rip would be Apple Lossless format, which occupies about half as much storage space as AIFF or WAV while sounding identical.

Best audio quality from DVD rip would be Dolby Digital AC-3 pass-through.



Apple TV does not have FireWire connection, although I am not sure why you would want to use FireWire for audio. External DAC with preamp? Don't you need poweramp also? If you feed this signal back to 3808, you might be redigitizing, which could make the audio sound worse. I don't know what speakers you have, but the overall performance gain may be little even if 3808 has pure analog pass-through.

I have Audioquest EEE1394 4->6 pin connector. Dacs have a FW connection which I could go from USB->FW. The preamp (2channel) has a HT bypass function which will be utilized when watching movies to the pre-pro (surround sound processor).

The 3808 will be replaced as well (just a question of when).

The main reason for firewire is the DAC does not have an HDMI connection, and I prefer using the FW over the optical or analogs from the ATV.

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 07:57 PM
The main reason for firewire is the DAC does not have an HDMI connection, and I prefer using the FW over the optical or analogs from the ATV.

ok thats clarified my confusing lol thanks

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 08:00 PM
generally you connect to the :apple:TV via iTunes and then click'n'drag. :confused:

That is what I do, and I do it in ALAC. Maybe I am explaing wrong? I am new to this whole ATV/media server stuff.:o... But I LOVE it!

EDIT***Let me clarify a little more (so that I understand your post a little better as well). I usually drag the file into one of my playlists on my laptop/iTunes, and when the I turn on the ATV, the iTunes on my laptop syncs with it, and the files are there. Is the quality of the file that now plays on my ATV the same as the copy that I dragged onto my playlist on desktops iTunes?

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 08:02 PM
That is what I do, and I do it in ALAC. Maybe I am explaing wrong? I am new to this whole ATV/media server stuff.:o... But I LOVE it!

there is a missing link in our communications somewhere lol.

it should copy it across to the :apple:TV but :confused: can you still play the songs if you disconnect the computer from the network?

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 08:06 PM
there is a missing link in our communications somewhere lol.

it should copy it across to the :apple:TV but :confused: can you still play the songs if you disconnect the computer from the network?

I can have my iTunes closed on my laptop, and can still play the files on my ATV.

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 08:07 PM
I can have my iTunes closed on my laptop, and can still play the files on my ATV.

if it still plays after a minute or two then that would indicate that the song is indeed on the :apple:TV (1 minute would allow for streaming to be fully sent if thats the case).

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 08:12 PM
if it still plays after a minute or two then that would indicate that the song is indeed on the :apple:TV (1 minute would allow for streaming to be fully sent if thats the case).

So my question is, isn't the streamed copy of lesser quality?

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 08:16 PM
So my question is, isn't the streamed copy of lesser quality?

no. the streamed copy is streaming (and therefore might suffer SLIGHT loss of quality due to lost packets from interference etcetc) but its still sending the full AIFF file to the :apple:TV.

when i have streamed music to my airtunes device i have measured the network activity and it has been identical to the bitrate of the actual music (the music was ALAC lol).

Sol
Sep 23, 2009, 09:06 PM
Whatever you are trying to do, it will have to be without FireWire because it is not on the TV. If you want audio to be processed by a DAC then you need to connect the two with an SPIDF cable, although audio through HDMI is also an option.

Like someone mentioned before, Apple Lossless is the recommended format for the best quality audio; the difference between lossless and uncompressed CD-quality is entirely negligible and I would go so far as to say that a high bitrate AAC sounds as good as either and is also much smaller in size.

Don't make the mistake of fussing over the technical details of your hi-fi system at the expense of your enjoyment of music; so-called audiophiles will always find shortcomings in any set-up but the truth is they are just as likely to be mislead by marketing and hype as any music fan with basic technical knowledge.

DoFoT9
Sep 23, 2009, 09:08 PM
Whatever you are trying to do, it will have to be without FireWire because it is not on the TV. If you want audio to be processed by a DAC then you need to connect the two with an SPIDF cable, although audio through HDMI is also an option.

read back a few posts, the OP says that he uses the optical out audio port from the :apple:TV to connect to his DAC. then i got lost with the onslaught of numbers and product names lol.

cjlee
Sep 23, 2009, 09:51 PM
Thank you ALL for the great support!

I will go ahead and use fiber optic since I already have an opti link from Audioquest that I am not even using.

I also see that you have the PS Audio. I am looking at the DI lll, just not sure if I want to spring for the modded version. Have you compared them?

cjlee
Sep 24, 2009, 08:23 AM
Thanks for the response. The PS has an iLink connection right on the back from what I saw.

cjlee
Sep 24, 2009, 12:18 PM
What are you using now as a music server?