Digital output - 16/44.1 vs 24/96 - any difference?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by jdavtz, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2005
    Hi - my first post on this forum (though I've just read a few threads)...

    I'm setting up my iMac G5 as my music storage/playing device. Have optical digital link to external DAC (Cambridge Audio 840c) which upsamples to 24bit/384kHz (lots of reviews think this is a Good Thing) and outputs to an amp.

    The best quality music I have stored is Apple Lossless CD rips at 16bit/44.1kHz.

    Would I be better-off setting up the iMac's built-in digital output in Audio MIDI Setup as 16 bit at 44.1kHz (same as best source music) or is there an advantage (or disadvantage) to outputting at 24 bit and 96kHz?

    Thanks for any advice,
  2. Audiofile macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2007
    In general I suggest matching your music selection and the audio midi settings. However, I would contact the manufacturer of your DAC to ask them what they suggest. They are the ones who built it and they hopefully have a suggestion.

    I am using a Benchmark DAC1 USB. Benchmark has done tremendous research in this area. They suggest for absolute sound quality matching audio midi settings with the music. Fortunately they also said the sonic differences of just setting it at 24/96 versus the actual song bit depth are negligible.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Any time you convert, you risk degradation. Since you have 16/44.1 source material, you would be best to output 16/44.1 and let your highest quality device handle the upconversion, one time. (Hint - your DAC is better than Apple's... :))
  4. sartorjason macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2009
    how's your 840c??

    I too have the 840c and am just getting ready to connect a laptop to utilize my 840's digital ins, etc etc. Also, in that I am getting ready to purchase a new laptop (either a macbook pro or some unknown pc laptop), are you finding your setup with your mac and 840c to be a good set up? I'm trying to find a decent laptop with either an optical out, coax (don't think it exists), or some other arrangement.

    Thanks in advance with any assistance.

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