Express with Digital Out to DAC... Very good or Pass?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by whyrichard, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002

    I am upgrading my stereo... very excited!

    Anthem Integrated 225 Amp... Paradigm Reference Studio 80's...

    Currently, when doing some attentive listening, I play off cd... however I am wondering about the digital out on my airport express.

    If I get a high quality Digital to Analog converter with an optical in, and hook it up to the airport express with a Toslink to Optical Adapter, and rip my cd's with Apple Lossless...

    how will it compare with playing straight from CD?


  2. macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    It will be identical to the CD.

    I read so much about digital-source jitter and other distortions. Jitter only matters when we're talking about parts of the signal with analog signals. You have to get at least 49.999% timing-error-rate in order to really affect the performance of most DACs...
  3. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    .... delicious...

    Lossless --> Express --> Toslink --> V-DAC --> Straightwire Encore --> Anthem Integrated 225 --> Paradigm Studio 80's... my eager ears...


  4. macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California

    I'm not 100% sure that the audio out from Airport Express is "CD quality". I think it might be compressed. But it's close. I have not found an easy way to test it. Take a look at the data rate of the network data. I don't think it is high enough to be full CD rate. I'd like to be proven wrong, so take a look yourself.

    "Jitter" is an absolute non-issue with digital audio from the "Express.
    SPDIF, the optical output has HUGE "jiter" built right in. The audio data is sent in "blocks" and then there is a long gap with no data and then "boom" another big block. All digital audio is this way. It does not even try to clock out the data at a fixed rate. That is the job of the device inside your D/A in the amp. The express can be far from perfect with zero effect on the sound (no just small effect but literally zero.)

    But I'm stil not sure the data over the air is not compressed
  5. macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    It's lossless - I can pass DTS audio out into a receiver, which would only work if the data was pass-through. It may be encoded in a sort of 'ALAC-y' fashion for transmission, but the 1s and 0s which come out the end are the same as the ones that go in, and all in the same order too :rolleyes:

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